Home For A Cowboy by Amy Aislin Release Blast, Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Hi guys! We have Amy Aislin stopping in today with her new release Home For A Cowboy, we have a great excerpt and a fantastic giveaway, so check out the post and enter the giveaway! ❤️ ~Pixie~

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Home For A Cowboy

(Windsor, Wyoming 01)
by

Amy Aislin

Las doesn’t date seasonal workers. Marco’s on a three-month contract.

Lassiter Windsor-March has been planning for his future for as long as he can remember and he knows exactly where that future lies: at his family’s ranch in Wyoming. What doesn’t lie in his future is a summer fling with one of the seasonal workers—they never stick around.

Even if one of those workers is the college crush he’s invited to work a summer job at the ranch.

Marco Terlizzese is as laissez-faire as Las isn’t. He might not know where he’ll be once his contract with Windsor Ranch is up, but he knows three months is plenty of time to get his long-time crush to agree to go out with him.

Amid a starry summer sky, their chemistry ignites as feelings deepen, forcing Las and Marco to decide where they truly belong.

A note from Amy Aislin:

Home for a Cowboy is about giving love a chance and discovering where you belong.

.•.•.**❣️ Amazon US | Amazon UK | iBooks | B&N | Kobo ❣️**.•.•.

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Flowers of Flesh and Blood by Amy Tasukada Blog Tour, Interview, Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Hi guys! We have Amy Tasukada popping in today with her new release Flowers of Flesh and Blood , we have a brilliant giveaway so check out the post and enter the giveaway! ❤️ ~Pixie~

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Flowers of Flesh and Blood

(The Yakuza Path 05)
by

Amy Tasukada

A killer. A traitor. A deadly war that could take their love and their lives…

Ruling the Kyoto yakuza makes Nao Murata a perpetual target, especially with the Koreans encroaching into their territory. An attempt on his life at his mafia headquarters crosses a line. Setting up his beloved ally Aki as the would-be assassin crosses another. Nao knows the only way to save his friend’s life is to sever their growing bond and force Aki to fake his own death…

But Aki Hisona refuses to stay dead. Determined to expose Nao’s would-be killer and save the man he loves, Aki goes deep undercover in the Korean underworld. But when he’s asked to prove his loyalty, he risks becoming caught in a web of his own lies…

With Aki gone and the Kyoto mafia in grave danger, Nao fears his trust in others could be fatal.

Will Nao and Aki find the assassin in time, or will Nao’s rule end in bloody chaos?

Flowers of Flesh and Blood is the powerful fifth installment of The Yakuza Path thriller series. If you like gritty Japanese crime, richly nuanced characters, and slow-burning gay romance, then you’ll love Amy Tasukada’s high-octane novel.

Buy Flowers of Flesh and Blood to slice into the Japanese underworld today!

.•.•.**❣️ Amazon US | Amazon UK | B&N | Kobo | iBooks | Books2Read ❣️**.•.•.

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The Loyal Whispers by Kathryn Sommerlot Release Blast, Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Hi guys! We have Kathryn Sommerlot stopping by today with her new release The Loyal Whispers, we have a great excerpt and a brilliant $10 NineStar GC giveaway so check out the post and enter the giveaway! ❤️ ~Pixie~

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The Loyal Whispers

The Life Siphon 03
by

Kathryn Sommerlot

Ravee: a pious Rad-em merchant’s daughter sailing with her family’s goods

Mairi: the Runonian king’s advisor seeing the outside world for the first time

Alesh: an alchemist’s apprentice in Joesar with a past rapidly catching up to her

Three women find themselves caught in the threads of change as the world threatens to fall apart around them. From across the Oldal Sea, the southern kingdom of Dusset has declared war, and if anyone is going to survive it, the alliance between Runon, Chayd, Rad-em, and Joesar must be solidified.

But there are forces at work that could undermine all the progress King Yudai and Tatsu have made. Peace treaty negotiations between the four realms could crumble at any time beneath the building tension.

As the women’s paths converge, they must navigate the true meaning of loyalty to themselves, their countries, and their families, while at the center of it all, a shattered king, hellbent on revenge, threatens the world balance.

Warning: incidents of violence and gore, misogyny

.•.•.**❣️ NineStar | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Smashwords | Kobo ❣️**.•.•.

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Lighting The Lamp by K.R. Collins Release Blast, Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Hi peeps, we have K.R. Collins stopping by today with her new release Lighting The Lamp, we have a great excerpt and a brilliant $10 NineStar GC giveaway, so check out the post and enter the giveaway! ❤️ ~Pixie~

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Lighting The Lamp

(Sophie Fournier 03)
by

K.R. Collins

Entering her third season, Sophie Fournier has almost everything she wants. She’s the captain of the Concord Condors, she’s roommates and linemates with Elsa Nyberg, the elite Swedish winger she’s wanted to play alongside since the Zurich U-Tourney.

There are two major things she’s missing, though. She doesn’t have her next contract lined up, and she still hasn’t won the Maple Cup, hockey’s most coveted prize. If she wins the Cup, she’ll have leverage going into her contract negotiations. And, in case she needed more motivation, this is Benoit Delacroix’s final season as a Concord Condor, and she’s determined he won’t retire without lifting the Cup.

.•.•.**❣️ NineStar | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Smashwords | Kobo ❣️**.•.•.

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Never Say Never by Felice Stevens Blog Tour, Teasers & Giveaway!

Title: Never Say Never
Series: Lost in New York
Author: Felice Stevens
Genre: M/M Romance
Release Date: May 21, 2020

 

One taste leaves them wanting more…
INGREDIENTS:
Francisco “Frisco” Martinelli. Hot and spicy. Beautiful on the outside, dark and damaged on the inside. Handle with extreme caution.
Salvatore “Torre” Rossi. Sweet with a kick of spice. Gentle at first, can become swiftly and irrevocably addictive to the heart.
A RECIPE FOR ROMANCE
One snobby food critic who doesn’t believe in love
One down-to-earth food blogger who does
Add a touch of suspicious brother
A heaping serving of best friend who’s been waiting for this to happen
Blend with secret identities, past hurts, and judgments.
Stir in equal portions of desperate longing, desire, fear, and snarky humor.
Set over open flame, step back, and wait for sparks to fly.
Serve as is for an explosive love story that will leave you with a full heart and a ridiculously happy smile at the end.
Felice Stevens has always been a romantic at heart. She believes that while life is tough, there is always a happy ending just around the corner. Her characters have to work for it, however. Like life in NYC, nothing comes easy, and that includes love.
 
She lives in New York City and has way too much black in her wardrobe yet can’t stop buying “just one more pair” of black pants. Felice is a happily addicted Bravo and Say Yes to the Dress addict and proud of it. And let’s not get started on House Hunters. Her dream day starts out with iced coffee and ends with Prosecco, because…why shouldn’t it? You can find her procrastinating on FB in her reader group, Felice’s Breakfast Club.
 
 
You can find all my books, grouped by series in proper reading order on my website located here:
 
Follow me on social media to keep up with all my news of releases, sales and exclusive content!
 
 
Discover my character inspirations for all my books on my Pinterest Boards here:


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Ge-Mi Part Two by Mell Eight Release Blast, Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Hi guys! We have Mell Eight stopping by today with her new release Ge-Mi: Part Two, we have a great excerpt and a brilliant $10 NineStar GC giveaway so check out the post and enter the giveaway! ❤️ ~Pixie~

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Ge-Mi: Part Two

(Ge-Mi Part Two)
by

Mell Eight

Taylor Reyes was born to privilege, but despite that has always been considered an abomination. He was the child that should never have been born and has spent his life trying to prove his worth to the world to no avail. As a red wolf Ge-Mi, humans look at his furry ears before his accomplishments, and no matter how hard he continues to work Taylor knows that will never change. Still, he has a grandfather that loves him and a pack of his own to lead. The life he created for himself is not a bad one, until one day a pair of adorable cat ears derails everything.

The thought of finding a mate had never crossed Taylor’s mind, but suddenly he can’t stop thinking about Nevada. There’s no time for the distraction, though, as people are moving to unseat his grandfather from the city’s throne. The fight has just begun, but ending it might mean Taylor will lose Nevada forever.

Warning: graphic violence

.•.•.**❣️ NineStar | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Smashwords | Kobo ❣️**.•.•.

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Big Love by Rick R. Reed Release Blast, Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Hi guys, we have Rick R. Reed popping in today with his new re-release Big Love, we have a great excerpt and a brilliant $10 NineStar GC giveaway so check out the post and enter the giveaway! ❤️ ~Pixie~

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Big Love

(Big Love 01)
by

Rick R. Reed

Teacher Dane Bernard is a gentle giant, loved by all at Summitville High School. He has a beautiful wife, two kids, and an easy rapport with staff and students alike. But Dane has a secret, one he expects to keep hidden for the rest of his life—he’s gay. But when he loses his wife, Dane finally confronts his attraction to men.

A new teacher, Seth Wolcott, immediately catches his eye. Seth is also starting over, licking his wounds from a breakup, and the last thing Seth wants is another relationship—but when he spies Dane on his first day at Summitville High, his attraction is immediate and electric.

As the two men enter into a dance of discovery and new love, they’re called upon to come to the aid of bullied gay student Truman Reid. Truman is out and proud, which not everyone at his small-town high school approves of. As the two men work to help Truman ignore the bullies and love himself without reservation, they all learn life-changing lessons about coming out, coming to terms, acceptance, heartbreak, and falling in love.

Warning: Attempted suicide

.•.•.**❣️ NineStar | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Smashwords | Kobo ❣️**.•.•.

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Forbidden Love by Lee Colgin Release Blast, Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Hi guys! We have Lee Colgin stopping by today with her new release Forbidden Love, we have a great excerpt and a brilliant $10 NineStar GC giveaway so check out the post and enter the giveaway! ❤️ ~Pixie~

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Forbidden Love

(They Bite 02)
by

Lee Colgin

When an esteemed vampire doctor treats an injured young werewolf, desire sparks between them.

Dr. Benjamin Arleth has devoted his life to finding a medical cure for his species’ most devastating weakness—sunlight. Finally, one of his pharmaceuticals shows promise, but sabotage looms large in the lab.

Wolf shifter Nathan Cramer is ready to finish grad school and begin his career when a trip to Center City’s Peace Conference goes awry. Weak and bleeding, Nathan knows his wounds could prove fatal. Dr. Arleth is his only hope.

Can love flourish between enemy species despite a society in turmoil? Could vampires walk in the daylight or will darkness reign? It’s a race to find answers, and Ben will have to put his trust in Nathan if they’re going to make it out alive.

Forbidden Love is a MM urban fantasy/paranormal romance and the second book in the series They Bite but can be enjoyed as a standalone.

Warning: violence

.•.•.**❣️ NineStar | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Smashwords | B&N | Kobo ❣️**.•.•.

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Bullied No More by Rain Carrington Release Blast, Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Hi guys! We have Rain Carrington Popping in today with her new release Bullied No More, We have a great excerpt and a brilliant giveaway so check out the post and enter the giveaway! ❤️ ~Pixie~

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Bullied No More

(A Legacy Novel 04)
by

Rain Carrington

Finding peace at last, Javier Duran thought he’d hung up his guns and camo from his life as a mercenary to live in a town surrounded by beautiful mountains. Taking jobs that required him to be out of town periodically was perfect for him, except this time, when someone broke into his sanctuary.

Daniel Norman didn’t have an easy life. Abused by his brother and ignored by his father, he only existed. Learning how to get around security systems was the only skill he had that his family gave him credit for, so he did it well.

The house on the edge of town, the mysterious man who owned it, they were different for Daniel. Intrigued, he did his job and got their crew into the house but regretted it, as each room he entered told him a little more about the man who lived there.

When Javier returned home during the break in, everything changed for them both. Attempting to save Javier, Daniel commits murder, and Javier is determined to save him. To a cabin he’d bought the same time he’d bought his beloved house, he whisked Daniel, getting to know the quiet young man and finding more than he bargained for.

The age difference was Javi’s main concern, knowing his feelings for Daniel could only grow. Discarding him like others had, however, could break him. Can Javi chance his own heart to save the heart of the young man, or will his old life creep back in and destroy them both?

.•.•.**❣️ Amazon US | Amazon UK ❣️**.•.•.

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Karma’s a Bit*h by Este Holland May Release Blast, Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Hi guys! We have Este Holland popping in today with her new release Karma’s a Bit*h we have a great excerpt and a brilliant giveaway so check out the post and enter the giveaway!❤️ ~Pixie~

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Karma’s a Bit*h

by

Este Holland

Jake Michelson plays it safe. All he wants to do is keep a roof over his head and graduate from NYU in a few months. He can count on three things in life: his job at Dinkin’s Donuts, his best friend Marri, and school.

Archer Ferraro plays by his own rules. The one thing he can’t stand is when bad people get away with doing bad things. He’s dedicated his life to righting the wrongs the police can’t or won’t handle.

When Archer accidentally upsets Jake’s life, he vows to make it right and hires him.
Together, Jake and Archer must work on a new case involving stolen jewelry and a womanizer, deal with a lawyer brother and a jailbird father, and stay out of the cops’ way.

Should be easy…right?

.•.•.**❣️ Amazon US | Amazon UK ❣️**.•.•.

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Marc Jillson & The Gazebo by Anyta Sunday Release Blast, Excerpt & Giveaway!

Anyta Sunday - Marc Jillson & The Gazebo Promo 4

Marc Jillson & The Gazebo

by Anyta Sunday

Series: Love Inscribed #2

Book 1: Liam Davis & The Raven

Publisher: Anyta Sunday (self-published)

Release Date (Print & Ebook): May 14th, 2020

Length (Print & Ebook): ca. 50,000 words / 200 pages

Subgenre: Marc Jillson & The Gazebo is a sweet, sexy M/M romance with humor and a definite HEA. This New Adult, college, redemption story can be read as a standalone.

Warnings: mentions of past violence against one of the MCs (not on page)

Start reading now: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B087WP31LG

Book synopsis:

Want true, heart-throbbing romance? Put down the Cheetos, and stop being a jackass.
The question is, can I do it?
I’ve been an epic dick to my friends, my uncle. Him.
Travis Hunter. Photographer, econ-student, paraplegic. Can I redeem myself? Apologize? Make a fresh start?
Hunter seems to think so. Even roped me into saving his favorite gazebo from the bulldozers.
The confidence of this man amazes me. He’s no bullshit where I’m all bullshit. I throw up walls where he knocks them down.
He’s beautiful, too. Strong arms inked with hummingbirds, a wide teasing mouth, and blue eyes that read me like an open book.
He looks at me, and I look away.
These shivery feelings I have for Hunter? They can’t happen. I don’t deserve him.
Where did I put those Cheetos?
~ ~ ~
Marc Jillson & The Gazebo is a sweet, sexy M/M romance with humor and a definite HEA. This New Adult, college, redemption story is book two in the “Love Inscribed” series.
The books in the Love Inscribed series are standalone romances, and can be read in any order.
LIAM DAVIS & THE RAVEN: Liam & Quinn’s story
MARC JILLSON & THE GAZEBO: Marc & Hunter’s story

What author Anyta Sunday says about this release:

I want readers to enjoy a good, steamy romance with a sex-positive, strong MC (Hunter) who helps the other MC (Marc) come to terms with his past, and accept himself as worthy of love.

Anyta Sunday - Marc Jillson & The Gazebo Promo 3

Release Blitz Teaser:

Marc.
Hunter’s soft utterance of my name followed me the rest of the evening. It felt promising. Like maybe I could start with a clean slate.
I stared at my computer. Did I dare go back on Demon-Slayage?
I groaned as I clicked into the game. I wanted to be on here badly.
Nervous butterflies hit my stomach seeing Hunter already online.

DaMage: You’re back!
Me: I’m not sure this is a good idea.
DaMage: In light of us knowing each other?
Me: It was more fun when you didn’t know the real me.
DaMage: Are you worried I’m judging you?
Me: Aren’t you?

Anyta Sunday - Marc Jillson & The Gazebo Promo 2

About the Author:

A bit about me: I’m a big, BIG fan of slow-burn romances. I love to read and write stories with characters who slowly fall in love. Some of my favorite tropes to read and write are: Enemies to Lovers, Friends to Lovers, Clueless Guys, Bisexual, Pansexual, Demisexual, Oblivious MCs, Everyone (Else) Can See It, Slow Burn, Love Has No Boundaries. I write a variety of stories, Contemporary MM Romances with a good dollop of angst, Contemporary lighthearted MM Romances, and even a splash of fantasy. My books have been translated into German, Italian, French, and Thai.

Get in touch with Anyta Sunday:

Contact: http://www.anytasunday.com/about-anyta/

Sign up for Anyta’s newsletter and receive a free e-book: http://www.anytasunday.com/newsletter-free-e-book/

Join Anyta’s Facebook group to chat all things Slow Burn Romance:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/SlowBurnSundays/

You can also find Anyta here:

www.anytasunday.com

For information about new releases and freebies, follow her on BookBub:

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/anyta-sunday

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Giveaway:

To celebrate the release of Marc Jillson and the Gazebo, Anyta Sunday will be giving away 3 e-bundles of the “Love Inscribed” books, “Liam Davis” & “Marc Jillson”! Must be 18 to enter and win; open internationally.

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The King and Jai by Isla Olsen Release Blast & Excerpt!

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The King and Jai

Royal & Reckless 01

Romantically Ever After Box Set

Isla Olsen

M/M Romance

Release Date: 05.12.20

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Blurb

One young American tutor + one dangerously sexy widowed king = conflict, chaos, misadventure and lots and lots of sexytimes

Jai

For the record, sleeping with my boss was not part of the plan when I started this new job. A job I desperately need to get my parents off my back about my chosen career path.

But the second I catch sight of Lukas Romansky in the flesh, I know I’m in trouble. The guy is pure sex wrapped in a three-piece suit, and not even his stuffy attitude or the way he seems to despise me on sight is enough to stifle my attraction.

But I’m here to work, not to hook up. It doesn’t matter how sexy Lukas is, or how sweet he is with his children—sleeping with the boss is never a good idea.

Oh, and did I mention my boss also happens to be the king?

Yes, King Lukas III of Korova, the man voted World’s Sexiest Head of State three years in a row. Hooking up with him wouldn’t just be a bad idea, it would be an international scandal.

So believe me when I say I didn’t come to Korova with the intention of seducing the king. But sometimes things just happen. And is it my fault I’m impossible to resist?

*The King and Jai spins off from Virtually Screwed (Love & Luck #2) and is the first book in the Royal & Reckless series.

**The King and Jai is part of a multi author box set titled Romantically Ever After.

Universal Link: https://books2read.com/1romanticallyeverafter

Isla 6Isla 4

Excerpt

“May I present King Lukas III of Korova,” she says with her usual introductory gesture. To me, she says, “Your Majesty, this is Mr. Jai Winters.”

The man standing in front of me is young. No older than his mid-twenties, I’d wager. I find it difficult to believe someone of his age could boast the kind of qualifications Veronika seemed so impressed with earlier, but I trust her judgment implicitly so I suppose I’ll take her word for it despite my reservations. He’s also incredibly handsome, a thought that I push from my mind due to its complete irrelevance. I instead focus on his attire—jeans and a hooded sweatshirt. My mouth turns down at the casual way he’s dressed, but it’s possible he was given very little warning ahead of this meeting so I suppose I could give him the benefit of the doubt this once.

“Mr. Winters. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

He gapes at me for a long moment, his gray eyes running up the length of my body, then back down again in a way that makes me decidedly uncomfortable. When he finally remembers he’s supposed to bow in front of the king of Korova, he bends at the waist, dipping low and almost toppling over. “Thank you, Your Majesty. I’m happy to pleasure you.” His back straightens, eyes wide. “I mean, I care about your pleasure. Ahh, I mean…shit. Fuck…”

The corner of my mouth tilts upward. “Well, I can see my children are in excellent hands.”

There’s color blooming on his cheeks as he offers a self-deprecating smile. I bite down on my jaw as that pang of discomfort hits me again. Yes, definitely discomfort. Not anything else.

“Yes, very good hands.”

His words prompt my gaze to drop to the hands clasped together in front of him. Long fingers, neatly clipped nails, golden tan skin. Strong hands. Capable hands. My own fists clench at my sides as I force my brain not to go there. The place I’ve been fighting against for over twenty years.

I glance up to find the American eyeing me curiously. A stray dark curl has fallen over his forehead and I decide to extricate myself from the situation before I do something ridiculous, like reach out to brush it back. With a curt nod, I turn on my heel and stride from the room, making a beeline for my private study where I take a seat at my large mahogany desk and start sifting through the pile of papers that have been left for me.

IMG_5632 3

Isla Olsen is the romance-writing alter-ego of a YA Fantasy author. She first discovered her love of romantic comedies when, after spending all her work time lost in epic fantasy worlds, she decided she needed something light and fluffy to read in her downtime. She quickly became addicted to authors like Lauren Blakely, Tara Sivec and Rachel Van Dyken, and then one day she discovered MM…and there was no going back after that! After all, two hot guys are better than one, right?

Isla lives in Melbourne, Australia with her giant bed-hogging Rhodesian Ridgeback; she’s a major sports fan (yes, rugby is way better than American Football!), a chocoholic, loves Chinese food, and is a firm believer that the best music was created way before she was born.

Isla 7

Website: www.islaolsen.com

BookBub: www.bookbub.com/authors/isla-olsen

FB – www.facebook.com/islaolsenbooks

IG: www.instagram.com/islaolsenromance

Newsletter: https://bit.ly/2WiAKcF

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Awakening by Connal Braginsky and Sean Ian O’Meidhir Release Blast, Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Hi guys! We have Sean Ian O’Meidhir and Connal Braginsky popping in today with their new release Awakening, we have a great excerpt and a brilliant $10 NineStar GC giveaway, so check out the post and enter the giveaway! ❤️ ~Pixie~

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Awakening

(Darklight 01)
by

Sean Ian O’Meidhir and Connal Braginsky

Nathen was recently diagnosed with autism, and he’s a newly created vampire. His maker, a multinational corporation with its finger on the pulse of the technology industry, has recruited him to stop a terrorist plot. In the process, he meets Cameron, a telepath and psychologist, who has a troubled past he keeps locked up in the shadows of his psyche.

Nathen is confused by social cues and Cameron can barely block out the thoughts of others.

Together, they find common ground, and with the help of their friend Syn, they work out the secrets of the terrorist group and learn that the plot is far greater than they could have imagined.

Warning: rape, racist language/imagery/slurs, murder

.•.•.**❣️ NineStar | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Smashwords | B&N | Kobo ❣️**.•.•.

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Finding Fisher by M.J. James Release Blast, Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Hi guys! We have M.J. James stopping by today with his release Finding Fisher, we have a great excerpt and a brilliant $10 NineStar GC giveaway so check out the post and enter the giveaway! ❤️ ~Pixie~

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Finding Fisher

by

M.J. James

When Ian Fisher walked away from his life a year ago, he had no plans to ever return to where he grew up. However, after a run-in with the cops, he’s forced to move in with his sister Rachel—in his dead parents’ house.

Back home, Ian can’t stop thinking about his ex, Sam. He still loves him and knows Sam loves him too, and he will stop at nothing to convince Sam to face his true feelings. But Sam has moved on. He has a fiancé, and he rejects Ian’s repeated attempts to fix their relationship. Ian deals with those rejections by getting lost in the bottom of a bottle, refusing to face how messed up his life truly is.

After weeks in the hospital—the victim of a viscous hate crime—and learning of Sam’s upcoming wedding, Ian has no choice but to fix his life to show Sam that he can be the man he needs. But rehab changes Ian, and he just might be ready to say goodbye to Sam forever.

Through addiction, violence, and self-preservation, Ian must learn to accept himself if he hopes to win back the man he loves.

Warning: alcoholism, deceased family members, depression, Drug/alcohol use/addiction, grief, Suicidal ideation, hate crime, depiction of hate crime attack

.•.•.**❣️ NineStar | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Smashwords | B&N | Kobo ❣️**.•.•.

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Out In Spring by Lane Hayes Release Blast, Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Hi guys, we have Lane Hayes stopping by today with her new release Out in Spring, we have a great excerpt and a brilliant $25 Amazon GC giveaway so check out the post and enter the giveaway! ❤️ ~Pixie~

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Out In Spring

(Out In College 06)
by

Lane Hayes

The jock, the nerd, and a little spring fever…

Ned-

I don’t understand hockey at all. Or any sport. Attending a team party with my best friend might be a mistake. As an out and proud geek, I admit that hanging out with a bunch of jocks and their admirers isn’t my idea of fun, but getting kidnapped by a sexy hockey player who claims to have a crush on me is definitely a highlight. And finding out that Logan St. James is bisexual makes everything more interesting.

Logan-

Keeping my big bi secret hasn’t been easy. I have a couple of months of college left and one more game to play. I’m determined to make the most of it and spend as much time as possible with the sexy guy I’ve had a crush on since freshman year. I don’t want this to be over. There must be a way to come out in spring.

Out in Spring is a low-angst MM, bisexual awakening staring a hunky hockey player, a sweet-natured geek, and a little college fun. This story is part of the Out in College series, but each book can be read as a stand-alone.

.•.•.**❣️ Amazon US | Amazon UK ❣️**.•.•.

Continue reading “Out In Spring by Lane Hayes Release Blast, Excerpt & Giveaway!”

The Cupid Crawl by Hank Edwards Release Blast, Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Hi guys! We have Hank Edwards popping in today with his new release The Cupid Crawl, we have a great excerpt and a brilliant giveaway so check out the post and enter the giveaway! ❤️ ~Pixie~

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The Cupid Crawl

(A Williamsville Inn Story 04)
by

Hank Edwards

What happens when a confirmed hook up app user falls for a man who is his polar opposite?

Carter Walsh will be alone on Valentine’s Day, and his plans include a candy sampler of hook ups.

But after learning about the Cupid Crawl—a bar crawl covering a half dozen bars, gay and straight—he changes his plans.

During the crawl, he runs into:

An ex-co-worker nemesis who resurrects—loudly—an unfortunate nickname she bestowed upon him years before.

Several hot men eager for a quick hook up.

And one man absolutely not Carter’s type, but who manages to pique his interest and, possibly, steal his heart.

The Cupid Crawl is a funny, sweet, and steamy opposites attract, slight age gap story that takes place in the Williamsville Inn series world, and features characters from the Christmas stories “Snowflakes and Song Lyrics” by Hank Edwards and “Snowstorms and Second Chances” by Brigham Vaughn.

.•.•.**❣️ Amazon US | Amazon UK ❣️**.•.•.

Continue reading “The Cupid Crawl by Hank Edwards Release Blast, Excerpt & Giveaway!”

Hungry for Love by Rick R. Reed Release Blast, Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Hi guys, we have Rick R. Reed popping in today with his new re-release Hungry for Love, we have a great excerpt and a brilliant $10 NineStar GC giveaway so check out the post and enter the giveaway! ❤️ ~Pixie~

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Hungry For Love

by

Rick R. Reed

Nate Tippie and Brandon Wilde are gay, single, and hoping to meet that special man, even though fate has not yet delivered him to their doorstep.

Nate’s sister, Hannah, and her kooky BFF, Marilyn, are poised to help fate with that task by creating a profile on the gay dating site, OpenHeartOpenMind. They are only exploring, but when a face and body are needed for the created persona, they use Nate as the model.

When Brandon comes across the false profile, he falls for the guy he sees online. Keeping up the charade, Hannah begins corresponding with him, posing as Nate.

However, real complications begin when Brandon wants to meet Nate, who doesn’t know he’s being used in the online dating ruse. Hannah and Marilyn concoct another story and send Nate out to let the guy down gently. But when Nate and Brandon meet, they feel an instant and powerful pull toward each other. Cupid seems to have shot his bow, but how do Nate and Brandon climb out from under a mountain of deceit without letting go of their chance at love?

.•.•.**❣️ NineStar | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Smashwords | B&N | Kobo ❣️**.•.•.

Continue reading “Hungry for Love by Rick R. Reed Release Blast, Excerpt & Giveaway!”

Far Away by Bryan T. Clark Blog Tour, Interview, Excerpt & Giveaway!

Bryan T. Clark - Far Away BANNER1Far Away

Bryan T. Clark has a new contemporary MM romance out:

Far Away

And there’s a giveaway!

First love can save you … and ruin you …

Eighteen-year-old Noah Rothenberg spent the prefect summer with his first love, the charming and seductive Spiro. He fell head over heels in love from what started as a clumsy crush.

But that was twelve years ago. His relationships since have been spectacular failures because of how things ended with Spiro. If he has any hope of moving forward, he needs to find Spiro and get some closure … even if he has to fly halfway around the world to do it. Too bad he instead finds himself falling—again—for the man who ruined him for all other men.

Love isn’t an emotion Spiro Papadopoulos entirely trusts anymore. He’s far too pragmatic for that. His focus these days has to be on his art and caring for his ailing mother. Being with Noah again is easy and feels so right … but is it love? Spiro isn’t sure. Besides, with his entire life being tied to Greece and Noah’s to New York, love might just be a luxury neither of them can afford.

Can Spiro and Noah overcome the oceans and years between them—or will their second chance at love end as badly as their first?

Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | QueeRomance Ink


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Giveaway

Bryan is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card with this tour 

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Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d47119/?


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Interview 3!

Did you Know?

Hi guys! We have Bryan T. Clark popping in today with his upcoming release, Far Away. Bryan’s a multi-published Rainbow Award-winning author and a Lambda Literary (Lammy) and International Book Award Finalist. His gay romance novels are compelling, engaging and complex and leave his readers fully and completely satisfied.

Can you describe what your latest novel is about in one or two sentences.

Far Away as about a love that blooms in childhood and spans over decades. It’s the story of two boys, one summer, and a love so grand that, in their adulthood, neither can forget the day they met. An imprint on their hearts that, even with all that life threw at them, kept their love alive. The main characters, Noah and Spiro are these two guys that life hasn’t been that kind to, and they make it!

Would you say that Noah and Spiro were soulmates?

I don’t really believe in soulmates, but I do believe there is someone for everyone. The difference is that I think of soulmates as you will always be together. Well, that’s not reality, shit happens and relationships end. Sometimes, relationships are hard. You have to work at it, paying attention to the other person’s needs, and when those needs change for whatever reason, you have to be willing to adapt.

In an age where it’s hard to come up with new ideas, something fresh, some say that you’re doing just that. What makes your writing stand out from the crowd?

I don’t know if I do stand out. There are some amazing writers in this genre. I just write and within my writing are bits and pieces of me, who I am, my life. How I became the person I am today comes through in my writing. None of it is 100% fictional, there’s a little truth about me in every book.

In Far Away, Noah, has IBS/Irritable bowel syndrome. Why IBS?

Growing up, I had a close friend who suffered from IBS. As a gay young male in his prime, we partied a lot within the gay culture/community. When the rest of us were drinking and having copious amounts of cheap sex, he was often battling and managing his disease. For him, IBS was the dictator and eliminator of all that we enjoyed as promiscuous gay men. IBS really fucked with his self-esteem. In each of my books, I always want to give you, the reader, something that makes you say, hmmm, I’ve never thought about that…. IBS was that in Far Away. It’s a horrible disease to live with and affects all aspects of a person’s life.

What advice would you have for other writers?

First and foremost, writing a book is hard work, and if done right, takes a long time. But if you’re seriously bent on writing that story deep within you, then just write the story, DON’T try to write a book. People think there are all these rules on how to write, and they just don’t know where to start, so they never do anything. Get your story on paper and then develop it into the next great novel.  If you’ve never written a book, join a writer’s group online, read books on character development and how to strengthen your plot, take a writer’s course, do something to understand the industry and what goes into developing a great story. It’s rarely the story itself, it’s how it’s told.

Tell us something unexpected about yourself that will surprise people!

I was an investigator for twenty-seven years prior to releasing my first book, Ancient House of Cards back in 2014. Although I dabbled a little with writing fiction in high school, I never had any aspirations of being a published author. I just wrote for fun.

Well, thank you for sharing a little about you and your latest book, Far Away. Where can we buy it?

You can find all my books, as well as lots of extras, on my website, www.btclark.com. Or you can just go straight (no pun intended) to the Amazon or B&N website and order it in paperback, or for your reader.

Bryan is currently on his book tour promoting his latest novel, Far Away.

For more information visit www.BTClark.com


Excerpt

Far Away meme

“Good morning, Mr. Rothenberg.” Eros put a hand on his knee to steady himself as he stood. Aloof in the shadows, Spiro held his gaze on him. Noah couldn’t look away as Spiro’s eyes washed over him from head to toe. Were they brown or green? Afraid he’d stared too long, he broke eye contact, his eyes sweeping past the visitor’s long dark sideburns that cupped his ears.

“Sorry to disturb you.” Noah’s voice cracked. He cleared his throat and tried to put on a cool and collected face, not wanting to seem like the dork that he was. “I was hoping you could help this morning with the rowboat.” His thumb pointed to the boathouse, but his eyes remained on Spiro. Face-to-face, Eros’s nephew was… beautiful. A statue of beauty.

Noah tried to look away but couldn’t. Yes, Spiro was a hair taller than he. His square jawline, straight nose, and jade eyes rimmed in gold were mesmerizing. Noah’s heart sped as he broke eye contact. Excitement swirled in his gut at the proximity of this Adonis.

“Sure.” Eros tossed his hammer into his box of tools. Noah’s eyes followed Eros as Eros turned and spoke to his nephew.

Noah’s eyes drifted to Spiro’s bow-shaped lips before moving up to his eyes. Their eyes met, causing Noah’s heart to skip a beat. Noah had no idea what he saw in those cat eyes that were staring intensely back at him and caused his heart to flutter. It wasn’t disdain, dominance, or dismissal, the usual looks his peers gave him upon meeting him for the first time. It was… he’s really looking at me.

Everything about Spiro enthralled him. No longer wishing away the next two months before he could escape to Harvard, he was cautiously excited about the summer.

“Hi, I’m Noah.” He felt the heat of a blush on his cheeks as he extended his hand. Spiro looked directly at him; his deep stare instantly pinned Noah. His dark locks of hair, jet black, ran the length of his neck and curled at the nape of his neck. Noah tried to release a breath quietly. Adrenaline pumped through his veins like the multiple streams that fed into Lake Winnipesaukee. He’d never acted this boldly when it came to meeting someone. The way Spiro looked at him gave him the boost of confidence that he could actually stand here and talk to him. This was a first, and it surprised him.

Spiro shook Noah’s hand. “Um, my English is not so good. My name is Spiro.” A deep voice cast from his full lips. Spiro saying his own name sounded more exotic than when Noah’s grandmother said it.

Geeze Louise, his teeth are perfect, too. They’re so freaking white. Noah stumbled over his own words as he searched for something to say. Spiro’s gaze kept Noah from looking for more than a second before lowering his head.


Author Bio

Bryan T. Clark

Bryan T. Clark is a multi-published award-winning author of gay romance, and contemporary books.

In his early in life, Bryan learned that he was different from everyone else in his world. As a young African American boy, he was the second to the youngest of seven children. Long before hormones kicked in and the realization of same sex attraction, it was his light skin and blond hair that made him different from those around him. Teased within his own race for being lighter than everyone else, the kids on the playground called him “Cornbread”.

As a writer, Bryan has taken back the power once given up to those schoolyard bullies. He is committed to bringing his readers stories of real life, with multicultural characters, riveting plots, and where the underdog always wins. He is the founder of Cornbread Publishing: the name empowers him and is a constant reminder that life can have a Happily-Ever-After.

Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Bryan and his husband of thirty-six years has made their home and life in the Central Valley of California.

Author Website: https://www.btclark.com

Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/btclarkauthor

Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/BryanTClarkx2

Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/romanceauthor/

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7875459.Bryan_T_Clark

Author QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/bryan-t-clark/

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Bryan-Clark/e/B00INKEVWM

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The Artist’s Masquerade by Antonia Aquilante Release Blast, Excerpt & Giveaway!

The Artist’s Masquerade

Series: Chronicles of Tournai, Book Two

Author: Antonia Aquilante

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: May 4, 2020

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 109700

Genre: Fantasy, LGBTQIA+, Fantasy, romance, gay, bi, cat shifters, royalty, court intrigue, arranged marriage, artist, spy

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Synopsis

As the first-born son of a royal duke and cousin to the prince, Cathal has always put his duty to family and country first, even when it conflicts with his own wishes. When Cathal’s father arranges a marriage between him and Velia, cousin to the emperor of Ardunn, without consulting him, he sees no alternative but to go along with his plans for the good of Tournai. But it’s Velia’s companion, Flavia, who fascinates Cathal from the moment he first sets eyes on her. Cathal doesn’t know Flavia is really Flavian, an artist masquerading as a woman to escape Ardunn, a restrictive and repressive place where Flavian’s preference for men is forbidden.

Even when Cathal discovers Flavian’s identity, even as he struggles with his obligations and duty, he cannot fight his attraction to the sharp-tongued artist. Flavian is intrigued by him as well, but Cathal is still betrothed to Velia, and Flavian worries he is more taken with the feminine illusion Flavian presents than the man beneath it. He came to Tournai to start a new life—a safe one—as an artist, and an inconvenient attraction to his friend’s betrothed, a man who happens to be a member of the royal family, is not a part of his plans. While both men battle their longings for each other, spies from Ardunn infiltrate the capital, attempting to uncover Tournai’s weaknesses and secrets. They are also searching for Flavian, who possesses a magical Talent giving him the ability to see the truth of a person just by painting their portrait—something that would be invaluable to Ardunn’s emperor.

Excerpt

The Artist’s Masquerade
Antonia Aquilante © 2020
All Rights Reserved

“It’s time you took a wife.”

Cathal managed to keep his surprise hidden with some difficulty. That blunt statement was not what he’d expected when he received the summons to his father’s office. A discussion of family business, perhaps, or questions about happenings at the palace, even a diatribe about one of his cousin’s choices—since Father seemed to hate every one of them since the prince’s marriage to Amory—was what usually precipitated a call to Father’s presence.

He’d never imagined Father would bring up marriage. Cathal had seen no indication Father was even thinking in such a direction. Father had said plenty as he’d pushed the prince to marry, and plenty more when Philip had married a man of his choosing instead of the woman Father would have chosen, but he’d never said a word about his own sons’ need to marry.

Cathal probably shouldn’t have been so surprised. He was twenty-five years old and his father’s heir, and Father was a royal duke and dynastically minded. Producing an heir for the dukedom was Cathal’s duty, despite the existence of his younger brothers. He’d always known it, and he would never think of shirking that duty.

“Yes, Father.” He wasn’t interested in anyone in particular, but there were plenty of women who would make him a suitable wife in Father’s eyes. He was certain he could find someone who wouldn’t make the duty a chore. “I will begin looking for a wife immediately.”

“No need. It’s all arranged.” Father returned his attention to the papers on his desk, as if what he’d just said was of no particular consequence. As if he hadn’t just told Cathal his entire life was about to change and taken Cathal’s last bit of choice away at the same time.

Cathal snapped his mouth shut when he realized it was hanging open. “It is?”

“Of course.”

Of course it was. Cathal should have expected that as well. Father would never leave such an important choice—a family alliance, a mother for future dukes—up to Cathal. He should have done so, or at least he should have asked for Cathal’s opinion. Cathal was of age and had proven himself trustworthy time and again, or he thought he had. It left a sour taste in his mouth to think Father respected him so little.

“May I ask whom I will be marrying?” He immediately regretted his tone as Father arched a single brow.

When Cathal didn’t jump to apologize quickly enough, Father let out a huff that expressed his disappointment more eloquently than a hundred words would have, but he answered anyway. “She’s a cousin of the emperor of Ardunn. Velia is her name. Beautiful, by all accounts, and accomplished, but the connections are the important part.”

Cathal hardly heard anything after Ardunn. Cousin to the emperor of Ardunn? What was Father thinking? And how had he even managed it?

Father looked up again, and this time his huff held more than a little annoyance. “Why are you staring at me that way?”

Cathal didn’t know how he was looking at his father. Usually he had more control, but incredulity seemed to have obliterated it. “Ardunn, Father? I don’t understand. Why—?”

“Don’t be stupid. If your cousin isn’t going to do his duty and marry for the good of this country, then it falls to you to take up where Prince Philip failed.”

And that statement made even less sense. “But, Father, you negotiated a marriage contract with the emperor of Ardunn. Does Philip know?”

His cousin couldn’t know. Cathal had damaged their relationship and weakened the trust Philip had in him—he knew and regretted it—but Philip wasn’t vindictive enough to keep something so big from Cathal, especially considering the prince’s hatred of arranged marriages. Though how a prince came by such a view, Cathal would never know. Nevertheless, Philip would have said something, which meant Father had been negotiating with someone in Ardunn without Philip’s knowledge or consent.

Father scoffed. “He’ll know soon enough.”

“But, Father, negotiating with Ardunn…what did you—?”

“Are you questioning my ability to negotiate a marriage for my son?” Father snapped.

“No, sir.” Just the prudence of doing so with a powerful foreign emperor without the knowledge of their own ruler. “But—”

“This is the marriage your cousin should have negotiated for himself, but since he wouldn’t do his duty, we have to do it for him. For the good of Tournai and this family.”

“But, Father—”

“No more.” Father slapped a hand down on the wooden surface of the desk. “It’s done, and when she arrives next month, you will marry this woman. We’re finished discussing it.”

Cathal gritted his teeth against further protests and gave a sharp nod.

A few moments later, dismissed by his father, Cathal dragged in a lungful of crisp air. Spring was taking hold, but the mornings were still cool. At the moment, he was thankful for the gulp of bracing air.

That had been unexpected.

He shook his head and strode down the steps into the garden. The home where Cathal had grown up was probably the largest in the city. Constructed generations ago of pale-gray stone, the house had three stories surrounding the inner courtyard and the garden it contained. He’d played in the garden as a child with his brothers and cousin, chasing each other, hiding among the statuary and bushes. As he grew older, he’d come here when he needed a moment of peace. These days, he spent most of his time at the palace, and the garden was the domain of his mother and younger sisters, who often sat on the benches near the central fountain to do their needlework.

He didn’t linger, couldn’t have if he wanted to. Cathal couldn’t even go up to the palace and inform Philip of the betrothal, because he was due at the port to inspect improvements to the harbor defenses. Taking the most direct route from Father’s office to the front of the house, he strode through the garden and ducked inside again and then made for the entrance hall without slowing.

His sister’s melodic laugh and the quiet murmur of his mother’s voice floated back to him. Smiling, he stepped from the corridor into the grand room. His mother and sister stood at the polished table in the center of the large room. At his first step onto the red marble floor, both women looked up from where they were arranging early spring flowers in a large vase. Identical smiles of welcome lit their faces. His youngest sister looked remarkably like Mother, though Meriall was just fourteen. She was the only one of them to inherit Mother’s golden-brown hair and not Father’s much darker locks.

Each time he saw Meriall, he was surprised at how grown up she was becoming. It seemed just yesterday she was trailing after their brother Etan and getting into scrapes and jumping on her brothers whenever she saw them. Now she was a young lady. The oldest of his three younger sisters was married, and his second sister was nearly seventeen. Cathal might have expected, if he’d thought of the subject at all, Father to be negotiating a marriage for Ottilie, not for himself.

Meriall and Mother were still smiling at him, and they left off fussing with the flowers and greenery as he approached. When she was younger, Meriall would have flung herself at him. She’d learned more appropriate behavior since then, but a part of him missed her enthusiasm. Then again, she would probably still throw herself at Etan. They’d always been closer.

“Cathal.” Mother held out her hands to him and tilted her head for his kiss to her cheek. “I didn’t know you were here.”

He brushed a kiss over Meriall’s cheek as well. “Father wanted to meet with me.”

Because he was watching, he saw the flash of concern in Mother’s warm-brown eyes. Did she know her husband’s plans for Cathal? “Is everything all right?”

No, he didn’t think she knew. He doubted Father would have consulted her anyway. He flicked his glance at his sister, wondering if he should speak in front of her, but everyone would know soon enough. “Father wants me to marry.”

Mother blinked, once, twice, the only sign of surprise in a serene face. “I didn’t realize, but you are getting to be of an age to. There are many lovely girls you could meet and consider. Perhaps we can have a party and invite some of them.”

“Actually, Father has it all arranged already.”

“Oh. Well.” Mother fussed with the flowers before dropping her hands to smooth her skirt. “I didn’t realize you and your father had chosen someone. I wish you’d told me.” The statement wasn’t much of a rebuke, not the way she said it, but from his gentle mother, it was still censure.

“I wish he’d told me.” He bit back impatience. His ignorance of Father’s actions wasn’t Mother’s doing. “I only just found out myself, Mother. She arrives in a month. I assume we’ll all meet her then.”

“Arrives? From where? Who is she?”

He didn’t blame Mother for her bewilderment. “Father says her name is Velia. I only know she’s a cousin to the emperor of Ardunn.”

“The emperor? Does His Highness know?” Mother had been the wife of a royal duke for nearly thirty years. She could see the implications as well as he could.

“It doesn’t appear so.” He glanced from Mother, who was admirably controlling her surprise and concern, to Meriall and her avid, undisguised curiosity. Well, he shouldn’t be talking about Philip’s lack of knowledge of Father’s actions anyway. “You’ll have to ask Father for more information. I don’t know anything else.”

Mother frowned. “Will you tell your cousin?”

“I can’t now. I’m due at the port, and I may be tied up there for most of the day.” And he didn’t want to put this information in a note. Still, someone needed to tell Philip, and Cathal wasn’t sure when Father would. “I’ll tell him when I return to the palace later.”

She nodded. “I’ll speak with your father. We’ll see you soon?”

“Of course.” He took his leave of his mother and sister and strode out through the large front doors into the morning sunlight again. A servant appeared immediately with his horse. He mounted up and guided the horse out through the imposing gate, open in anticipation of his departure. He needed to hurry if he was going to be on time for his appointment, and he refused to be late. He would sort out the rest afterward, including informing the prince.

Philip was not going to be pleased.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Meet the Author

Antonia Aquilante has been making up stories for as long as she can remember, and at the age of twelve, decided she would be a writer when she grew up. After many years and a few career detours, she has returned to that original plan. Her stories have changed over the years, but one thing has remained consistent—they all end in happily ever after.

She has a fondness for travel (and a long list of places she wants to visit and revisit), taking photos, family history, fabulous shoes, baking treats (which she shares with friends and family), and of course, reading. She usually has at least two books started at once and never goes anywhere without her Kindle. Though she is a convert to e-books, she still loves paper books the best, and there are a couple thousand of them residing in her home with her.

Born and raised in New Jersey, Antonia is living there again after years in Washington, DC and North Carolina for school and work. She enjoys being back in the Garden State but admits to being tempted every so often to run away from home and live in Italy.

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The Island by M. Rose Flores Release Blast, Excerpt & Giveaway!

The Island

Series: Abnormal/Variant, Book Two

Author: M. Rose Flores

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: May 4, 2020

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 86300

Genre: Horror/Thriller, LGBTQIA+, YA, PNR, bisexual, dark, horror, zombies/undead, postapocalyptic, family drama, found family, San Francisco, Alcatraz

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Synopsis

Two years after the end of the world, Cate and Marco have finally found a place for their people to start over. Sustainable and safe from zombies, the island is everything they hoped it would be. It seems the worst may finally be over; they can stop surviving and begin to live again. But the arrival of two new people sets in motion a chain of events that throw the island into unrest, and Cate must fight for her love, her people, and her sense of self. Can the inhabitants of Alcatraz Island find a way to come together when everything around them is falling apart?

Almost two years before their arrival on the island, just after the event that ripped their family apart, Marco began an aimless journey. With his foster family gone—some dead, some vanished—once again, Marco was on his own and sure it was for the best; other people only slowed you down, ended up as liabilities, or worse. Alone was good. It was what he was used to. But on his journey south, he collected other wanderers and began to consider the idea of a cooperative group or, maybe, a found family. There was, after all, safety in numbers.

Finally, together on the island, everyone assumes they are safe. But assumptions in a world run by zombies can be dangerous. Deadly. There is something going on in the city, terrifying and unnatural. Something that will change everything they think they know about zombies. And it’s coming to the island.

The Island is not a stand-alone. It’s advised that book one, The End, be read first.

Excerpt

The Island
M. Rose Flores © 2020
All Rights Reserved

Cate

Those are not people. The way they move, the fact that when we wave, they don’t wave back, and the way they are all shambling toward us down the paths to either side. It all collectively spells zombie.

“Hello,” calls Calvin.

No answer. Damn it.

None of us has the energy to fight any more. We spent the whole night fighting to get to the island. We watched our people get maimed and die; Calvin’s Nana Mae sacrificed herself to save him, my sister Mel, and their new babies. Five other people died too, though I didn’t know any of them well. They were all Marco’s people. Now we’re all one another’s people. What a way to make a family.

Toby is looking pale. His younger brother Jax, though much smaller than Toby, is doing his best to keep him upright. The place where Toby’s hand used to be, before it was clawed by an Abnormal zombie and then cut off by me to prevent infection, is wrapped in a bandage from what I’m guessing is a very limited supply. I think everything is probably limited. There wasn’t much time to pack or prepare after Mel’s labor screams drew in the horde last night. It’s not her fault. Birthing twins with nothing stronger than ibuprofen must be agony. But we had to leave in a hurry. We made it all the way to Alcatraz, barely. And now, apparently, we have to fight again.

I’m too exhausted to cry. We are broken, for the second time since this all started. It’s cold and drizzling. There’s a thick fog rolling in. At least it isn’t dark anymore.

“What do we do?” asks Sylvia, holding her kids close to her body.

“Same thing we’ve been doing,” answers Marco.

When he doesn’t offer anything else, Calvin steps in. “We should get the injured and the kids somewhere safe, right?”

Marco nods.

“They’re still far enough we can probably slip by them on that road—” Calvin points to the right. “—and come back out once you’re all safe inside. Shouldn’t take long to clear the island; there don’t seem to be many here.”

“It’s a big island,” says Marco. “There will be a lot more up there than you think.”

“Can’t say I’ll be much use,” says Captain Jacob, stepping forward through the group. He’s cradling his arm. I can guess what comes next: He edges his sleeve up, wincing, to reveal a definite bite near his elbow. The veins around it are black, all the way up and down his arm, peeking over the collar of his shirt.

“Captain,” breathes Amy, our doctor, “why didn’t you say something?”

“Call me Jacob; I told you. I knew it wouldn’t do any good. Happened so fast. Had to get us here either way.”

Amy examines the wound, touches his arm where the veins disappear under his sleeve. “There’s no way this hasn’t reached a main vessel by now,” she says, feeling his face for fever and shaking her head. “I’m so sorry, Jacob.”

“I appreciate it, Amy. But there’s no need. I’ll have to show someone how to drive the ferry. Murray?”

“Of course, Jacob.”

“It has been an honor to know all of you,” Jacob says. “Marco, you take care of these people. You got us this far. Soon you’ll all be safe.”

“I’m sorry, Jacob,” says Marco, who looks on the verge of tears.

“Don’t be. I did my part. I can live with the result. Or, I guess I can’t.” He chuckles at his own dark joke, but it turns into a coughing fit that makes his whole body tremble. “Come on, now, Murray. We haven’t got all day.”

Murray follows Jacob, catching him as he stumbles getting back on the boat. Jacob looks back and lifts a hand in goodbye to all of us. He doesn’t have long. Another family member lost, claimed by the infection.

“We should go,” says Ana, ever the stoic. “They’re getting closer.”

We move up the wider path as quickly as we can, although every one of us is exhausted and several of us are in some way incapacitated, so we’re not as fast as we need to be. The path switches back and forth as it ascends.

“Stay together,” Calvin whispers as the first few zombies notice us.

We do as we did last night, shuffling the less capable into the middle of our huddle as we move. However, now, so many more of us can’t fight than can. When the zombies get to us, we are less efficient than we have ever been. It takes me two hits to take down one zombie, even though I sharpened my axe the other day, and I have to put my boot on its head to get the axe back. I haven’t had to do that in ages. Calvin gets one on the first try, but it takes him a second to pull his knife free. Somehow, we escape. But just up the path, more swarm toward us. Not many, but there are always more.

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Meet the Author

M. Rose Flores has enjoyed writing since she learned how to string letters together. She grew up in the vast green Pacific Northwest of the United States, which with its dense forests, four seasons, and proximity to the ocean made a perfect setting for The End. When she isn’t writing on her computer or in a notebook (though scraps of paper and the palm of her hand will do in a pinch), she works as a professional dog trainer and loves every part of it, even the copious amounts of drool. She believes everyone should be represented in literature and all other media. The End is her first novel.

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