The Wicked Stepbrother and Other Stories by Warren Rochelle Blog Tour, Exclusive Excerpt & Giveaway!

The Wicked Stepbrother and Other Stories - Warren Rochelle

Warren Rochelle has a new collection of gay fairy tales out:

“The Wicked Stepbrother and Other Stories.”

And there’s a giveaway!

Fairy tales. We all know the traditional stories, right? Prince Charming, the hero, fights evil, wins the princess, happily ever after. Three sons, three wishes, witches, dragons, a quest, and happily ever after.

These stories are part of our cultural fabric. We retell them, over and over, and the stories change in the retellings, to reflect contemporary culture, such as Princess Charming, heroes and heroines as people of color. It has been only relatively recently that queer folk have found their way into the retellings, as they have here, in this collection of stories, stories that grew out of questions:

What if the prince falls in love with Cinderella’s gay stepbrother?

What if Rumpelstiltskin doesn’t really want the Queen’s child? He wants his old boyfriend back, the King.

What if Beauty and the Beast were two men?

As fairy tales do, these stories explore the human condition, human experience, through the metaphors of magic and the magical, exploring what it means to be human. After all, all fairy tales are true. But this time, with a gay perspective.

In these tales, retellings and original ones, readers are asked to consider what price must be paid for happily ever after—which is not guaranteed. Love, on the other hand, without a doubt. These tales are love stories.

Duty or love? Is love worth great sacrifice?

So… once upon a time….

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Giveaway

Warren is giving away a $20 Amazon gift card with this tour:

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Exclusive Excerpt

The Wicked Stepbrother and Other Stories - Warren Rochelle
from “The Wicked Stepbrother.”

“You want to make the ugly orange-haired brother feel better? Ease your conscience for being the favored one? You feel sorry for me?”

“Calum. I didn’t mean it that way—I only meant—I mean—I’m sorry.”

“Go away.”

She never tried to be friendly to me again. Father slapped me for my rudeness at the dinner table that night, of course in front of everyone. Conor tried to stop him but that only earned Conor a verbal slap. I just stared at him, the print of his hand on my face a bright red. Elena said nothing; her mother just looked smug.

The dark plague came to Colomendy two weeks later.

It was the night of the midsummer ball and Father, or so I had heard, was going to announce Conor’s engagement to Elena. And—according to what my footman bedfellow whispered to me—I was to be denounced as illegitimate because Mother had used her magic to seduce him and the marriage was null and void. A horse, a bag of gold, a cage of his doves, and the bastard would be sent on his way to start a new story somewhere else.

Father would wait, of course, to send me off. The engagement party was not to be spoiled. I was ready, thanks to Mary Grace.  One drop from the vial in my pocket into the after-dinner tea and they would all die in a lot of pain, writhing, screaming, their bodies contorting as their skin turned black. Neither Elena nor her mother would be so beautiful then.

But a messenger from the king arrived—a human one. That meant the message was of extreme importance. The man was shown in before the engagement announcement was made, as the beautiful couple spun around the inlaid star in the center of the ballroom with Father smiling. I stood by the long white-lace-covered table, decked out with all kinds of desserts and sweets.

Father, compelled by law to immediately read a sovereign’s message, waved his hand for silence. The dark plague. The first cases, already in the capital. The greenwitches and healer witches were desperately seeking a cure, a vaccine. We were to stay calm, to carry on. The engagement announcement was postponed. I closed my fist around my vial and said nothing.

A week later a scullery maid took sick. She died gasping for breath, the sight in one eye already gone. Colomendy lost fully half of the house servants, and a third of the estate staff. Then, Conor got sick. Elena. Her mother. Father.

Her mother died first. By then, Mary Grace was working day and night to come up with anything that would help and I was beseeching all the gods for Conor. I loved him and I knew if he died that I’d lose one of the few people who loved me back. Mary Grace called me to her herbarium the day after Elena’s mother died to hand me another vial, with one dose of a long-sought-for cure. It was like a vaccine, too, she said. The sick would get better and those not sick would stay well.

I told myself I would have given Father a dose if there had been enough. I knew that wasn’t true. So did Father, who called me to his room the next day. I could barely hear him speak. I knew he could barely see me.

“So, the ugly man-loving bastard wins. You will be Lord Culver, ninth Baron of Colomendy.”

“I’m not a bastard, Father. You just wanted to make me one.”

“You killed your mother. Having you killed her,” he gasped and with what energy he had left, he pushed back against the head board, and lifted his right hand to scrawl a warding sign in the air.

“You should be afraid of me,” I hissed, and he was gone. I was the new Baron.  I was eighteen-going-on-nineteen.

Mary Grace was among the last to die. She had raised me. She had shown me my silver blood; she had helped me learn how powerful I could be. She had taught me magic, despite the magic control laws.

I still grieve for her.

~~~~

What’s next?

Right now, I am working on completing Fletcher and Sam’s story. Fletcher is in Faerie, now he has to find Sam and bring him back. This task will test Fletcher. I think their story could a novella, but I am not sure.  I keep thinking of more things, of more story. The other project, which might be a novella, or at least along story, is a sequel to my first novel, The Wild Boy, and takes place two hundred years later, as humanity is recovering from the Long Nightmare of the Lindauzi conquest. When can you expect these novellas?  Next year, I hope. I also want to revisit a novel I have rewritten a few times, The Golden Boy, set in alternate history, in the world of the Columbian Empire.


Author Bio

AUTHOR PIC - The Wicked Stepbrother and Other Stories - Warren Rochelle
Warren Rochelle lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, and has just retired from teaching English at the University of Mary Washington.

His short fiction and poetry have been published in such journals and anthologies as Icarus, North Carolina Literary Review, Forbidden Lines, Aboriginal Science Fiction, Collective Fallout, Queer Fish 2, Empty Oaks, Quantum Fairy Tales, Migration, The Silver Gryphon, Jaelle Her Book, Colonnades, and Graffiti, as well as the Asheville Poetry Review, GW Magazine, Crucible, The Charlotte Poetry Review, and Romance and Beyond.

His short story, “The Golden Boy,” was a finalist for the 2004 Spectrum Award for Short Fiction. His short story “Mirrors,” was just published in Under A Green Rose, a queering romance anthology, from Cuil Press. “The Latest Thing,” a flash fiction story, is in the Queer Sci Fi anthology, Innovation.

Rochelle is also the author of four novels: The Wild Boy (2001), Harvest of Changelings (2007), and The Called (2010), all published by Golden Gryphon Press, and The Werewolf and His Boy, published by Samhain Publishing in September 2016. The Werewolf and His Boy was re-released from JMS Books in August 2020. The Wicked Stepbrother and Other Stories is forthcoming from JMS Books in late September 2020.

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Flicker by Elizabeth Tybush Release Blast, Excerpt & Giveaway!

Flicker

Series: The Fire of Felwing 01

Author: Elizabeth Tybush

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: November 2, 2020

Heat Level: 2 – Fade to Black Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 78900

Genre: Fantasy, LGBTQIA+, slow burn, magic, magic users, friends to lovers, mythical creatures, royalty, redemption, past mistakes, portals

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Synopsis

Stripped of his magick and exiled to Earth, Solin Felwing vows to redeem himself. He committed a lot of bad for “the greater good” and the only way to make up for it is to give back to those he stole from. Incognito, of course, to avoid being brought to justice by humankind.

Solin volunteers at a soup kitchen, but his redemption is thrown into disarray when his best friend Jemier arrives to profess his love. Sam, Solin’s one-man support group and only human friend, thinks Solin deserves better.

When old enemies resurface, Solin fears his attempt to change is over for good. He could easily wipe his foes from existence—if he had his magick. Saving his friends—and himself—means compromising in new ways, but the temptation to sin remains. Everything could change in a flicker.

Excerpt

Flicker, Elizabeth Tybush © 2020, All Rights Reserved

Chapter One
2017

Polaris, New York, Gaia

I stole the sunglasses with ease, unseen by any who’d dare report it. The large-lensed mask reflected the busy downtown of a city I neither knew nor understood but was nonetheless stranded in. I hid my eyes and features behind those lenses and continued my prowl.

I headed for the sidewalk patio of a bistro where a man with attentions diverted elsewhere would soon lose the hooded sweatshirt draped over the back of his folding chair.

“You gonna pay for those?”

I stopped. Had I not been caught entirely unaware, I would’ve fled, albeit into unknown territory with mere morning shadows and dubious dumpsters as my cover. I turned to face the source of the familiar voice, knowing I could not flee from them in my state or else I would be hunted.

Sam smirked. Sunglasses concealed his brown eyes, and he wore the same style of casual garb I wore although he had more of a decision in it than I did. His tailored clothing came from finer cloth and perfectly fit his slender form. He gave me a dramatic once-over and smirked again. His brown hair had taken on some salt since we’d last met, and his sun-kissed peach skin glowed.

“So, what brings you back here?” he asked in singsong. I waited for him to call for local or regional law enforcement. I couldn’t be sure he wasn’t here by their command. “Couldn’t have just had the hankering for some light shoplifting. Don’t they have stores where you’re from?”

I glared at him, calculating the many ways to escape his clutches. Sam and I shared similar builds, although he stood slightly shorter than me and had thinner limbs. My training alone would overpower him if I needed it to. If only my body were bereft of the aches that naturally came from sleeping on dubious hard surfaces for several cool summer nights in a row.

I said nothing but regretted hiding the heat of my glare behind my disguise.

“Of course they do.” He reached. I dodged. He held up his hands in peace and nodded a silent invitation to walk alongside him.

He studied me with the same expression he had when we’d first met. This was Sam. This would always be Sam. With one glance he’d understood me, treated me as an equal, and never underestimated me. A good quality in an ally as well as a friend, but for us, neither applied.

I took his invitation only to keep myself from staying still too long in a crowd I’d stolen from. When I’d first met Sam, he’d offered me a drink. I only hoped this offer had the same hospitable intent.

“Seriously though, are you gonna pay for those? Because I can buy you new clothes, Solin.”

“No, I am not going to pay for them, and I don’t want your charity.” My stomach disagreed. Food had only come my way during brief moments of opportunity.

“Yeah, about that…oh, here we are.”

“This is your vehicle?” I examined the nondescript, aging hatchback and its peeling, off-silver paint. “Part of your disguise, no doubt.”

“I’m rich, not famous. This is more for your benefit. Get in.”

“I’d rather not.”

“I’m not going to kill you.”

“You couldn’t.”

“Have you seen yourself lately? I totally could.”

Had he seen me lately? How long had he been watching me? Of course he hadn’t just stumbled upon me, which meant he had been observing me for a while without me detecting him.

“But I’m not going to.” Sam opened the passenger-side door. “Trust me?”

I got in.

“You should put your seat belt on.”

“I’m aware.” I struggled to find comfort in the cramped passenger seat.

“The thingy under the seat, on the side there.”

I clicked into a more comfortable place. “I’m not thanking you.”

He flipped down the visor above my head. “And you have a little something on your chin.”

I grumbled and looked through at least three layers of dust and two more layers of grime on the cracked mirror above. A light-brown blob surrounded by a black blob looked back at me with its dark blobby eyes. No little something detected in my warped reflection. I flipped the visor up, then wiped my chin of the grease smudge using the slightly cleaner rearview mirror, albeit when Sam turned his gaze away.

The car revved to life, and we sat in silence for a few blocks. Passersby were too invested in their mobile devices to notice us—perhaps utilizing the very technology that had made Sam his wealth—sometimes at great detriment to their own health. He drove beyond the territory I’d explored since arriving in this place into areas slightly cleaner, slightly brighter, and slightly less bumpy. On these roads, the dreadful pine-scented ornament dangling from the rearview mirror no longer danced annoyingly in my peripheral vision.

“Radio’s busted, sorry,” he said. We slowed to a stop at a traffic light. “They don’t know you’re here.”

“Nonsense. You know I’m here.”

“Because I’m awesome, but that’s not the point. The point is, I might’ve done something slightly illegal to make sure what I saw, no one else saw.”

I considered unbuckling and jumping out the door. “For vengeance, no doubt.”

“Nah, seems like someone beat me to it. Besides, the best revenge is…something about being the better person? Living a good life? Whatever. We’re here.”

He parked the car next to an empty alley wedged between buildings of varying heights, though none over ten stories. The alley’s putrid odor smelled worse than the dumpsters that had served as shelter last night, but the rodents didn’t seem to mind.

“I taste garbage, Sam.”

“Keep walking,” he said. “We’re good.”

As we ventured through the maze of alleys, I understood he told the truth. I could trust him, for this moment. He clearly hadn’t told his friends about my arrival, and he didn’t move as a killer moved. The farther we walked from the car, the safer I felt.

The alleys smelled nicer too. We arrived at the back entrance of a shorter building where he punched a number into a keypad before opening the door and holding it for me.

“After you.”

His kindness alarmed me more than comforted me, but for however little I trusted him, I did trust my own assessment of the facts I had. I walked not to death, nor to barred walls. A keypad could mean anything. It did not mean Sam was luring me into a trap.

I entered after a moment of pensive reluctance and followed him up the stairwell of warm whites and polished woods.

Signs of humanity were everywhere. In the sole set of crisp boot prints on the vinyl-covered steps. In the recycling bins we passed at every floor’s exit, sitting below signs advising residents not to leave their recycling bins in the stairwell for safety reasons. In the leftover clear tape adhered to each floor’s door, ghosts of former safety signs. In the chewed gum beneath the handrail to the fifth and final floor before the roof.

“This way.” Sam nodded at the door.

Sunlight spilled from rooftop windows into the long hallway, reminding me briefly of home. Our steps echoed off the wooden floor as we passed doors with Welcome signs and decorative mats. At the very end of the hallway, Sam pulled out keys, unlocked the door, and opened it with a grand gesture.

“Home sweet home.”

The scent of fresh latex paint greeted us. Before us lay a furnished yet oddly empty apartment, save the bright morning light beaming from the windows and the gently frosted skylight. Beautiful but impractical. A man of such wealth put himself in grave danger with such windows. I had a hard time imagining a man of Sam’s status living in a home with…apparently no walls between rooms.

“This isn’t your home,” I said.

“Nope.” He dangled the keys. “It’s yours. The apartment, not the building. Forged your name on the lease and paid ahead for a year, so the landlady might not recognize you when you finally need to pay—”

I swept away his hand and headed for a window, forcing myself to squint through the intense light of morning. “I need nothing from you.”

“Okay, so maybe stop thinking I’m doing this as a favor to you, and maybe think about this as me having to do this for myself.”

“Why? I left you on a rooftop to die.”

“Oh, so you remember that? I blamed you so long for that, forgetting completely that it was—you know what, just take the damn keys, Solin.”

“You don’t know what my father would do if he discovered I cheated my way through exile.”

“Exile? Shit, did you try to take over your home planet too?”

“That’s not what I did here, and it’s complicated,” I said. “Let me wallow in my reckoning alone. My path doesn’t include charity.”

“Maybe it can. My charity. Take it. I guarantee you that being human is suffering enough.”

Powerless. He knew just how powerless I was. I faced him and paced the room, circling him. I had to reclaim some of my power, and I tired of being idle. My boots clicked along the glossy hardwood, which groaned whenever I neared the kitchen island.

“This is your last warning, Gardyner. My redemption will not include you. I will make my own way, and I won’t have you or anyone else meddling in things they don’t understand.”

“My last warning? You think I care about your warnings?” Now Sam paced, and I stopped, ceding power in the dialogue to him. I’d relied on fear to impress a message, and that didn’t work with Sam. He knew I had nothing to flex. “Listen, Solin, your redemption, if that’s even what you’re doing here, does include me. I was affected by that stunt you pulled. People died because of that bomb.”

“You know that wasn’t me—”

“But you enabled it. You trusted that asshole with power, and look what happened. And don’t forget, you did leave me to die. After I helped you. So yeah, I’m part of your redemption now. And you’re going to take this apartment and that credit card on the counter, and you’re going to be clothed and fed and sheltered while you walk this path.”

“I don’t want your money.”

“It’s not mine. It’s yours. I figured you might’ve been amassing some wealth here when you tried to conquer Earth five years ago.”

“Not conquer. Invite you to join our Federation.”

“That’s not what the internet said.”

“You know that’s not what I was here to do. You were there, Sam. Things didn’t go according to plan.”

“Yeah, I was there for the worst part of it. Anyway, you needed money to ‘invite us to join your Federation,’ especially if you wanted to establish a base of operations for thousands of years to come.”

“I had no plans for a base and no ill intentions for humanity. Besides, my account was drained. You watched it happen.”

“I found some leftovers. Moved them without a hitch. Don’t worry. The Shadowfall Alliance didn’t see a thing. They’re still pretty young, and their tech is weaker than they think. Plus, they aren’t as brilliant as I am.”

“But just as narcissistic,” I returned.

He grinned. “What you call narcissism, I call being realistic.”

“And what, you’ll let me live here and spend all of this money without supervision?”

“Do you need to be supervised?”

I said nothing.

“Do you want to be supervised?”

“No. Did we not just establish that?”

“Maybe ‘protected’ is a better word.”

“Get over yourself, Gardyner. You can’t protect me from anyone. Not your people in the Alliance and certainly not my own.”

“I found you, didn’t I?”

“Only because I dropped my guard.”

“Right,” he said incredulously. “How about this—I’ll keep an eye on things too. You know, for my sake. Not yours. Because you can do that all by your lonesome.”

“Fine.”

“Fine.” He turned to leave, but when he made it to the door, hand on the knob, he stopped. “I’m not kidding. I’m doing this for myself.”

“Of course you are.”

“Sometimes it pays to understand what, or whom, you hate. Makes some of the pain go away.” He tossed the keys at me. I caught them. “One for the lobby, one for your mailbox downstairs, and one for each lock on that door. Code is 8152. Oh, and there’s an ID card for you too. And a checkbook. But no one uses those anymore. Your name is Jonathan now. Probably best that you don’t share a name with Earth’s Most Wanted.”

I squeezed the sharp ridges of the keys with my fingertips, hoping the distraction would serve as a mask for my emotions since I no longer possessed any of the deceptive powers I once relied on.

“Thank you, Sam.”

He nodded at a device on the coffee table. “Call me if you need anything.”

Purchase

NineStar Press | Books2Read Universal Link

Meet the Author

Liz plays way too much Minecraft and dreams about producing a television series. She loves an old-fashioned film noir and, unlike her character Solin, takes her coffee with a healthy dose of milk. Recent accomplishments include a 2019 fellowship at the Storytellers’ Institute and the book you’re about to read.

Flicker is her debut novel with NineStar Press. To learn more about The Fire of Felwing series and other upcoming stories, visit Liz at elizabethtybush.com.

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The Werewolf and His Boy by Warren Rochelle Blog Tour, Interview, Excerpt & Giveaway!

Warren Rochelle - The Werewolf and His Boy Banner 2

Hi guys! We have Warren Rochelle stopping by today with the tour for his new release The Werewolf and His Boy, we have a great interview of Warren interviewing himself, a great excerpt and a brilliant $25 Amazon GC giveaway so check out the post and enter the giveaway! ❤️ ~Pixie~ p.s. keep an eye out for Shorty’s review coming soon!

Warren Rochelle - The Werewolf and His Boy Cover gvjg8v

The Werewolf and His Boy

by

Warren Rochelle

Their leap of faith could unleash magic—or plunge them into darkness.

Henry Thorn has worked at Larkin’s since graduating high school. He likes it—especially when he can use his secret skill of hiding inside shadows so his boss can’t find them. Without that talent, he would never had survived growing up different.

When a hire enters the store, Henry’s other latent talent kicks in. He can smell an emotional response even before he lays eyes on the redhead.

Jamey Currey came out, and his conservative parents promptly kicked him out. He, too, is different—he senses Henry’s attraction the moment they met. The first time they kiss, torrential rains fall from skies split by lightning.

Their kiss also awakens the Watchers, diabolical hunters who will stop at nothing—even extermination—to keep magic suppressed. With the help of a friendly coven of friendly witches, the boys embark on a quest to discover an ancient key to restoring magic to the world, and to understand mysteries of their own hearts.

The question is, will this quest cost them their lives?

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

Continue reading “The Werewolf and His Boy by Warren Rochelle Blog Tour, Interview, Excerpt & Giveaway!”

Seventh by Rachel White Release Blast, Excerpt & Giveaway!

Seventh

Author: Rachel White

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: October 12, 2020

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 39300

Genre: Fantasy, LGBTQIA+, romance, fantasy, disabilities, slow burn

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Synopsis

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.

Excerpt

Seventh, Rachel White © 2020, All Rights Reserved

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.

“When?”

“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?

Purchase

NineStar Press | Books2Read Universal Link

Meet the Author

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.

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Prince Ivan, A. Wolfe & A Firebird by Eric Alan Westfall Blog Tour, Guest Post, Excerpt & Giveaway!

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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~

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Prince Ivan, A. Wolfe & A Firebird

by

Eric Alan Westfall

Dear Reader,

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

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

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Cassadaga Nights by Jana Denardo Release Blast, Excerpt & Giveaway!

Cassadaga Nights

Author: Jana Denardo

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: September 14, 2020

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 30100

Genre: Paranormal, LGBTQIA+, gay, fantasy, paranormal, fae, psychic ability, magic, magic users, shifter, mystery, small Southern town

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Synopsis

Santino Bellomi and his coworker, Cam, are sent to Cassadaga, Florida by the Aspida Pneuma, a group of psychics and mages. Their job is to rescue a nixie from a polluted lake and to check out the town, which is known for its psychics. New recruits to the Aspida are always welcome and where better than a spiritualist camp to hunt for them? What Santino wants most, however, is to finish the assignment quickly. He isn’t a fan of heat and humidity, and he’d looking forward to a well-earned vacation once the mission is over.

Ryan Doyle grew up in Cassadaga, where being psychic runs in the family. Ryan has never roamed far from home, though it’s hard being a geeky gay, wannabe urban fantasy author living in a small town. His job as one of the town psychics is fairly routine until he meets someone new. Ryan has never encountered anyone with a psychic shield so strong until Santino sits down for a reading. Intrigued, he asks Santino out even though Santino is as secretive as he is fun.

Santino hopes to win Ryan over both for himself and for the Aspida. And he’s hoping his skills in the kitchen will swing the balance in his favor. Ryan has almost given up on finding love, living in rural Florida. Can a seductive tourist be the answer to his dreams?

Things never run smoothly for those in the Aspida. What should have been a simple rescue mission is plagued by mosquitoes, enraged ghosts, and someone or something draining residents of their life force. Ryan’s first foray into adventure may be his last.

Excerpt

Cassadaga Nights, Jana Denardo © 2020, All Rights Reserved

Ryan drew his shield over himself, letting his psychic senses dampen down. All day, most days, he dropped his armor, walking around exposed, vulnerable on all sides to the flood of stimuli. Such was the life of a professional psychic. He was unable to cut himself off when he was on the job. His clients depended on his abilities. While he could cold read a person to give Houdini a run for his money, Ryan was the real deal when it came to being psychic. Houdini would have had a helluva time debunking his abilities.

Here at home, safe in his fortress of solitude, Ryan armored up, drawing upon his psychic shields. He could rest, letting his senses recharge. Elsie—one of the original inhabitants of the town in the 1890s—had been the only thing able to penetrate his shields. The books on his bookcase rattled alerting him that Elsie, his boisterous ghost, had noted his return.

Ryan double-checked the setting on the air conditioning in his tiny Harmony Hall apartment. He might have been born and raised in Cassadaga, but it didn’t mean he loved Florida summers. That said, the air conditioner sat at an acceptable temperature, but inside, the heat stifled him. He turned on the old fan from the 1930s, the kind with barely a whisper of a guard surrounding it, and aimed it at his computer. Only the force of the wind coming out of the fan kept Kuro from jamming his paws into it to catch the blades. His cat didn’t like his fur mussed.

Ryan drew the curtains where his apartment overlooked the Cassadaga Hotel before stripping off his shorts. There, he was as naked as he could get without removing skin, and he was still too hot. He crammed into the cramped shower and ducked his head under the faucet, wetting his hair. Afterward, he strolled into the kitchen, poured himself an iced tea, and rubbed the cool glass across his nipples a few times in a vain attempt to lower his body temperature.

Finally, giving up, Ryan returned to his computer and let the ancient fan and his wet hair act as a swamp cooler. Acclimatize my ass. In quiet moments like this, Ryan was sure he heard the mildew growing on his skin in the humidity. He streamed some indie music and opened up a story file. After a day of work, he enjoyed doing what he’d actually gone to school for: writing.

Unfortunately, his career as an urban fantasy writer hadn’t taken off yet, so he was still in the family business. Much to the endless and completely irrational irritation of his sister, Mary. Ryan didn’t quite get it. She’d been vicious in claiming their mother’s house as her own to do readings in, following their mother’s path. Their whole family possessed psychic abilities, as did many others in Cassadaga, a Spiritualist commune.

Ryan didn’t understand why he couldn’t share the house with Mary, but she was having none of it. She’d been pissed off he’d been accepted into Harmony Hall after proving his abilities worthy of the honor. One had to be psychic to rent there. It bemused him that his only living relative didn’t want much to do with him, and it wasn’t because he was gay. Mary didn’t give a crap about his sexuality. No, she didn’t like the fact that his psychic abilities equaled hers.

Shoving Mary from his mind, Ryan tried to get into his story, but the day’s worries bled into his consciousness. Tomorrow, a big open house would have trainees doing half-price readings at the Davis Center, and he’d have to oversee Lisa, his trainee. It was fun, in a way, interacting with the public, and many turned out for the half-price offering. But surely there was more he could be doing with his ability.

A vague disappointment dogged Ryan because he hadn’t thought to do the psychic TV thing. He assumed they started out legit, but ratings and pressure from the shows’ money men probably quickly led to faking results. Sure, some of them did fake stuff. He’d been on more ghost hunts than he could count. No one got so many results every time, and demons didn’t really lurk around every corner. Oh, he didn’t discount demons—but to have house after house filled with them? He had his doubts. He didn’t want to contribute to all the charlatan acts out there. He was the real deal.

Sighing, he gave up for a moment and tried to clear his head with a little internet therapy. Of course the internet was as big a bane to his writing as it was an asset to his research. He checked out a tarot card Kickstarter using some truly gorgeous art and sighed again. The goal hadn’t quite been reached yet, but hopefully soon. He planned to add them to his collection. His last acquisition had been a steampunk deck almost too pretty to use. Tarot cards were the one thing he collected outside of manga. Ryan had reluctantly put his books into storage because his apartment was too small, and he’d moved to e-books, which didn’t have the same appeal. Still, his hating on the e-book afforded him nothing. He planned to sell some one day.

Elsie fluttered in the corner of his eye like black butterflies dancing in and out of the ceiling fan blades. When he turned his attention to her, she smiled, waved, and faded away, content she’d gotten his attention. Rolling his eyes, Ryan turned to his computer. He goofed off on the internet for a little while longer before getting back to his fantasy world. He’d left his warrior witch in a rough spot. He probably ought to have her save herself.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon

Meet the Author

Jana is Queen of the Geeks (her students voted her in), and her home and office are shrines to any number of comic book and manga heroes along with SF shows and movies too numerous to count. It’s no coincidence that the love of all things geeky has made its way into many of her stories. To this day, she’s disappointed she hasn’t found a wardrobe to another realm, a superhero to take her flying among the clouds, or a roguish starship captain to run off to the stars with her.

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The Sorcerer’s Guardian by Antonia Aquilante Release Blast, Excerpt & Giveaway!

The Sorcerer’s Guardian

Series: Chronicles of Tournai, Book Four

Author: Antonia Aquilante

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: September 14, 2020

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 111400

Genre: Fantasy, LGBTQIA+, Fantasy, romance, family-drama, gay, cisgender, magic, cat shifters, magician, captain of the guards, storm, antagonists to lovers, court intrigue

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Synopsis

Savarin honed his Talent through years of study, and to achieve his goal of becoming the most powerful and accomplished sorcerer in Tournai, he made magic his life. Among the wealthy and noble circles he moves in, no one would suspect the handsome, refined, arrogant sorcerer’s humble beginnings—which is how Savarin prefers it. He wants to be seen only as the man he’s made himself. When Tournai’s princes task Savarin with studying and strengthening the spells that protect the principality from magical attack, he is more than happy to do so. The spells are complex, centuries old, and exactly the type of puzzle Savarin is eager to solve. But to his annoyance, the princes insist Loriot accompany him on his journey.

Second son of a minor noble family, Loriot worked his way up the ranks of the royal guard to captain with single-minded determination and takes pride in his service to the crown. He must obey the prince’s orders to protect Savarin, despite believing his skills would be best used elsewhere and his wariness of magic. UnTalented himself, Loriot has learned not only the benefits of magic but also its potential for harm—and how to counter it. He still believes it’s best to avoid most magic entirely, which is difficult when he’s tasked with playing guard to a powerful sorcerer.

Loriot and Savarin clash repeatedly during their journey, but the simmering tension between them doesn’t only stem from their work, and passion develops into feelings neither expected. But Savarin must still secure Tournai’s magical barrier, and his only solution will endanger both him and the royal family.

Excerpt

The Sorcerer’s Guardian, Antonia Aquilante © 2020, All Rights Reserved

As afternoon waned into evening, Loriot approached his house on Dove Lane. Weariness dragged at him with each step. He hadn’t slept more than a few minutes in the last few days, and now that the crisis had passed, he felt the fatigue down to his bones. But the lack of sleep was worth it for the good outcome of the situation.

He trudged up the few steps to his front door, its rich blue color recently freshened, and let himself in. The key turned smoothly in the lock, and the magical protections on the house recognized him as belonging, allowing him inside. He shivered, even though he didn’t feel anything as he crossed the threshold; perhaps someone with a Talent would, but he had neither Talent nor any sensitivity to magic.

Inside, the house was quiet. The formal parlor was empty, which was unsurprising as they rarely used it—only when Joceline and Oriana chose to entertain. He wanted more than anything to go up to his bedchamber and collapse into his bed for the next few days, but he couldn’t. Couldn’t even collapse for a few hours without checking on his family. But he knew where at least one of them was likely to be at this time of day.

The sitting room at the back of the house was quiet, too, so quiet he could hear the scratch of his sister’s pen on paper as he stepped into the doorway. Joceline sat at her writing desk, papers spread around her, pen flying across the page. Despite the silence, she didn’t notice him. A good writing day, then. He hated to disturb her, but she’d want to know he was home.

“Story going well?” he asked, keeping his voice quiet so he wouldn’t startle her. He’d learned it was better to have to repeat himself than to scare her when she was absorbed in a world of her own creation.

But he didn’t have to repeat himself today. She glanced up immediately, her gaze hazy and then sharpening. “There you are! I was wondering if you were ever coming home.”

He hadn’t been gone so long—only a couple of days—but he did try not to let a day go by without returning for at least a little while. He stepped farther into the room and sank down into a comfortable chair. “It was unavoidable. You got my notes?”

“Of course. You know I was just teasing.” Joceline narrowed her eyes and studied him with an intensity he could almost feel. “Is everything all right? You look exhausted, and I heard yesterday the guard was searching everyone leaving the city.”

He scrubbed a hand over his face. Sitting had been a mistake. His eyelids wanted to droop; his body wanted to melt into the cushions. “There was a kidnapping.”

“Not Prince Julien?”

“No, no. And it’s fine now,” he reassured her, trying to keep her from coming out of her chair in her alarm at a threat to the heir to Tournai’s throne. “It wasn’t a member of the royal family at all.”

“But you were involved?”

As captain of the royal guard, Loriot normally wouldn’t be directly involved in such a situation. “The baby taken was the daughter of Prince Amory’s friend, Master Tristan. The merchant. Though if what I saw means anything, he’ll likely be a member of the royal family soon.”

“Really?” Joceline leaned forward, her interest of a different kind now. “There’s going to be a marriage? To whom? The princess?”

He shook his head. He didn’t need to tell her what he said should go no further. He didn’t ever tell her anything truly secret, but Loriot didn’t see the harm in a little meaningless court gossip now and then, especially since she wouldn’t spread it. “No. Lord Etan.”

She sat back with a huff. “Well, they really are bucking tradition, aren’t they?”

He let out a short laugh. But what she said wasn’t untrue. Both Tournai’s prince and his cousin, a royal duke, had married men in the last couple of years, and now it seemed Lord Etan, another cousin of Prince Philip’s, would do the same. Loriot couldn’t think of a time when such a thing had happened, as the royal family and nobility tended to marry those who could provide bloodline heirs for their titles—and some families were even more conservative, only marrying women.

“Good for them,” Joceline said. “I hope they’re happy.”

“Now that Tristan’s daughter is back with them, I believe they are.”

Concern flooded back into her pretty face. “You found her? And the person who took her?”

“Yes, with Master Savarin’s help.” He’d gotten over any resentment he might have had that he needed the help of magic long before today and was happy to use any tool he had access to. Savarin, the most powerful sorcerer in Tournai, was not someone whose help should be turned away, and Savarin never withheld it, serving Tournai whenever he was called upon.

“The sorcerer? How did he help?” Joceline sat forward, a gleam in her eyes he recognized well. She wasn’t simply curious; she wanted to know because she might use the information in a story.

“Joceline.”

“What?”

He sighed and shook his head. “He used his magic to try to track the kidnappers and then to try to find the baby directly. He pointed us in the right direction, let us know where to search for them.” Loriot didn’t bother mentioning the help they’d received from someone else, a scholar at the university. If he read Savarin right, Savarin would be finding Master Corentin at the university soon and asking him about the magic he used, because it also sounded as if Savarin hadn’t heard of anything like it.

“Interesting.”

“Let me guess, your new story has a sorcerer character.” He arched an eyebrow at her, his mildly disapproving tone mostly put on. Which she would know, as she was aware how proud he was of her accomplishments.

“I have an idea that would call for one. What’s Master Savarin like?”

“I don’t know him very well.” He tried to think of anything he knew about Savarin beyond the surface. “He’s powerful and arrogant with it.”

She shrugged. “I’d be surprised if he wasn’t. Aren’t all powerful sorcerers arrogant about their power?”

“I wouldn’t know. I don’t know any others.” He resolutely pushed his newly acquired knowledge of the royal family’s secret Talent from his mind. He didn’t need Joceline seeing a hint in his expression and trying to badger the information out of him. He would never tell, but life would be easier if he didn’t have to fight Joceline about it.

“All the ones I’ve read about in stories are. Especially the evil ones.”

“Tell me you’re not going to base a character on Master Savarin and make him evil.” Making the most powerful sorcerer in the country an evil character in a book sounded like a horrible idea.

Another shrug. “Powerful sorcerers always seem to be evil characters. Or self-sacrificing ones who save the day.”

Loriot shook his head and heaved himself to his feet. If he didn’t move, he’d end up sleeping right there. “Alain is upstairs?”

“Yes. But wait,” she called after him as he walked toward the door. “You must know something else about Master Savarin.”

“I really don’t.” He didn’t turn.

“Is he handsome?”

Savarin’s image filled his mind—his height and broad shoulders, perfectly carved features, blond hair he thought would be soft under his hands. His stride hitched, but he shook the image away and ignored Joceline calling after him. Perhaps she would forget the idea entirely if he didn’t encourage her.

He doubted it, but he could hope. The idea of Savarin as a character in a book on the shelf of a bookshop made him cringe.

Trudging up the stairs took the last of his energy, but he forced himself to bypass his own bedchamber. He couldn’t go to bed without seeing Alain. Not after so long away, not even if it hadn’t been very long. The door to the room at the back of the house was partially open. He peeked in as he pushed it open the rest of the way. The room was tidy, except for a veritable city built of blocks in the middle of the rug. The nursemaid noticed him first, but Alain wasn’t far behind. He looked up, his bright-green eyes—twins of Loriot’s own—lighting up, and something inside Loriot melted, just as it always did under those eyes.

“Papa!”

With ease of long practice, he caught the five-year-old bundle of energy that came flying at him and swung his son up into his arms. He cuddled him close for as long as Alain would allow. As tired as he was, he wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. “There’s my boy. I missed you. Show me what you’ve been doing.”

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon

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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Healing Lance by M.D. Grimm Blog Tour, Exclusive Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Hi peeps! We have M.D. Grimm visiting today with the tour for her new release Healing Lance, we have a great exclusive excerpt and a brilliant $10 Amazon GC giveaway so check out the post and enter the giveaway! ❤️ ~Pixie~

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Healing Lance

(Warrior’s Redemption 01)
by

M.D. Grimm

A baby’s laughter.

A mind uncaged.

Lance is known as Scourge, the warrior in the black armor, the dog of the warlord Ulfr Blackwolf. He was just a boy when Ulfr found him and molded him into the perfect weapon. He slaughters and pillages on command, merciless and numb, devoid of emotions. Then a baby girl laughs at him during a raid.

And everything changes.

When Gust, a talented healer, is out deer hunting and stumbles across a magnificent horse bearing a mortally wounded rider, he has no idea that his life is about to change forever. Gust applies all his skills to his patient, determined to save the rider’s life, and is rewarded when the man opens his eyes.

As friendship, and more, bloom between warrior and healer, so does the danger over the horizon. Ulfr has not forgotten, and Lance must take his first steps on the long road to redemption.

Warnings: References of past abuse

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

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The Harp and the Sea by Lou Sylvre & Anne Barwell Release Blast, Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Hi guys! We have Lou Sylvre & Anne Barwell popping in today with their new release The Harp and the Sea, we have a great excerpt and a brilliant $10 NineStar GC Giveaway! ❤️ ~Mel~

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The Harp and the Sea

by

Lou Sylvre & Anne Barwell

In 1605, Robbie Elliot—a Reiver and musician from the Scottish borders—nearly went to the gallows. The Witch of the Hermitage saved him with a ruse, but weeks later, she cursed him to an ethereal existence in the sea. He has seven chances to come alive, come ashore, and find true love. For over a century, Robbie’s been lost to that magic; six times love has failed. When he washes ashore on the Isle of Skye in 1745, he’s arrived at his last chance at love, his last chance at life.

Highland warrior Ian MacDonald came to Skye for loyalty and rebellion. He’s lost once at love, and stands as an outsider in his own clan. When Ian’s uncle and laird sends him to lonely Skye to hide and protect treasure meant for Bonnie Prince Charlie’s coffers, he resigns himself to a solitary life—his only companion the eternal sea. Lonely doldrums transform into romance and mystery when the tide brings beautiful Robbie Elliot and his broken harp ashore.

A curse dogs them, enemies hunt them, and war looms over their lives. Robbie and Ian will fight with love, will, and the sword. But without the help of magic and ancient gods, will it be enough to win them a future together?

Warning: graphic violence, battles

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

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The Scholar’s Heart by Antonia Aquilante Release Blast, Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Hi guys, we have Antonia Aquilante popping by today with her new re-release The Scholar’s Heart, we have a great excerpt and a fantastic $10 NineStar GC giveaway, so check out the post and enter the giveaway! ❤️ ~Pixie~

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The Scholar’s Heart

(Chronicles of Tournai 03)
by

Antonia Aquilante

Though he is the youngest son of a royal duke, Etan is a scholar at heart, happiest in a library surrounded by his books. He contentedly juggles his work for the prince’s government with his studies of the history and legends of Tournai, a subject of particular interest to him because he shares the secret magical Talent that runs in the royal bloodline. However, Etan’s peaceful world turns upside down when his best friend—the man he secretly loves—unexpectedly marries someone else.

Tristan is the oldest son of a wealthy merchant, raised to shoulder responsibility for the family business one day. That day comes far sooner than anticipated, and he makes a deathbed promise to his father to marry the woman his father chose and become head of the company and family. Tristan values his friendship with Etan and has always been attracted to him, but he can’t forsake his duty to his father, even if it means giving up the possibility of having Etan as a lover.

A year later, Tristan is a widower with an infant daughter and a mother who demands he marry again quickly—something Tristan resists. Circumstances throw Etan and Tristan together again, but even as they succumb to the desires they’ve always harbored, Etan battles his feelings, wary of being cast aside once more. When the unimaginable happens, Etan and Tristan must come together and support each other through the ordeal…and maybe beyond.

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

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Goldie by Danni Maxwell Release Blast, Excerpt & Giveaway!

Goldie

Author: Danni Maxwell

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: July 6, 2020

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 12400

Genre: Fantasy, LGBTQIA+, mythical creatures, Magic/Magic users, Fairy tales, fantasy, romance

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Synopsis

Cast out of her village after being accused of killing her father, Marigold Lovelock has nothing but the clothes on her back and the willpower to make it into the woods.

With the company of an Ursidae, a mythical creature known as Squeak, she seeks out The One, the Storyteller who speaks the truth.

Throw in a nasty beast called the Gromas, a pack of wolves, and a girl with lips as red as blood, Marigold knows she must learn how to embrace the person she was always been destined to be.

Excerpt

Goldie, Danni Maxwell © 2020, All Rights Reserved

A person falls in love with three people in their lifetime. At least that’s what the Storytellers will show you in their legends.

Each love will come at a time in a person’s life when they need it most. Even if they don’t realise they needed it in the first place.

There’s the first love, the one who teaches what the magical thing called love is. It’s young love. It’s innocent, and it’s pure. It ends far before it can truly begin, but it will always remain the first love of one’s life.

The second love is a hard love to endure. It changes a person, teaches them that a heart can break, that a person can wound you more than a knife, that not every love is a fairy tale. It makes a person stronger; it shapes them, helps them grow, teaches them that a heart can mend in time.

Then there is the third love, a love that has no warning, that sneaks up on a person and takes them by surprise. It’s the love that they didn’t know they needed, the one they were not looking for. It’s the love that will truly last the test of time. This is the love that can withstand all the battles a person has to endure. It’s unwavering. This is the love that feels like a fairy tale.

*

Marigold Lovelock had heard these legends more times than she could count, but she never once believed in them.

Her father was a Storyteller. His job was to be the one a person seeks for the knowledge, the truth, the wisdom. His job was his life. It took precedence over everything else, including Marigold. Her father’s favourite thing about his title, his powers, was the fact that people blindly adored him. They believed her father could do no wrong, that he was the one with all the answers. He could gather as many of the townspeople as he wanted, tell them of the stories, the legends, the prophecies that had been passed down to him by Storytellers past. And the townspeople would gather; they would flock, run, rally to the town’s centre to hear a new story each day; their eyes and hearts full of belief, of wonder and whimsy.

They truly loved her father, for he could tell them all the things their hearts desired to hear, could warn them of the dangers of the beasts and demons that lay beyond the town’s edge. Her father was the light, and Marigold his shadow. The people treated her like she was nothing, like all she did was bring the darkness wherever she went. They skittered away if she got too close, made shifty, judging glances with narrowed eyes and lips pressed in tight lines. The children were ushered away and taught to keep their distance.

Though Goldie never knew why they did this, she wondered if it was out of fear, and if that were true, perhaps she was afraid of them too. She’d shy away from everyone as they would hiss and pull away from her. Because why would you even try to fit in when you’re a puzzle with one too many pieces that will never be completed?

Her life had never been easy. She lost her mother to childbirth, she lost her father to the Storytellers, and she lost herself to the darkness of being alone. The darkness enveloped the townspeople too but not as heavy as it weighed on her. They all had lost their light; her father had died this past spring, and though the doctor had said he passed from age and peacefully in his sleep, Marigold wondered if he had died of a broken heart. He was always so lost without her mother, and he blamed Marigold for that loss; it’s why she never felt close to him, to anyone.

Everyone believed Marigold was cursed, that she possessed something inside her so dark and wicked that it had killed her mother, and that anyone who got close to her, anyone who loved her, would fall dead to the curse too. Her father was just another reason for them to fear her. The townspeople were lost without their Storyteller. The next was still learning the stories and prophecies, and so they had no one to turn to for guidance, for what should be done about Marigold, about who they thought she was, what she was to become, and who she might hurt in the process. The elders of the town were brought up on the stories, but they could only remember so much. Only the mind of a Storyteller could remember all. Their older minds were forgetting, slowly with time, but they never failed to forget the prophecy of the Kalakuta. That is what they believed Marigold was.

The Kalakuta were ancient beings, the ones the elders and Storytellers alike would call “the potion people of death.” Their prophecy tells of the Kalakuta being a sentient being that lived long before the time of people. Beings that, once they found a host, would kill any human or being in its path, for the darkness inside told them to do so. They were the makers of death. Her father, the Storyteller, had spoken of a Kalakuta preying on their town, feasting on the sick, the weak, the lost, believing that over time they would eventually take everyone, and there would be no one left to stop it. The minute Marigold’s father had passed, it was like any suspicion they had of Marigold being a Kalakuta had all but been confirmed.

This is why she now stood at the edge of the wood, at the final edge of sand between the unknown and the town, her only belongings scattered just beyond the trees, and the entire town standing at her back, waiting to be rid of her at last. Their mourning period was over for the Storyteller. The townspeople were no longer grieving; they were rioting. The moment their mourning cloud had lifted, they went on a manhunt for her. They found Marigold hidden away, wishing to be forgotten in her small hut of a home. They were all afraid of her, just as she was afraid of them. No one was willing to get too close to her. She cowered in her corner, begging someone, anyone, to leave her alone.

Someone looped rope around her body, cinching it at her waist and all but dragging her out of her home toward the dark wood. She was scrambling to grab anything she possibly could, begging them to stop, promising them that she would willingly go if they just let her grab her things. They stopped for a moment, enough time for her to grab a satchel with two dresses to change, her pouch of every coin she had saved that her father had hesitated to give her as gifts on special days, and the only drawing she had of her mother, one that her father had tried to throw away in anger and mourning on the anniversary of her death, Marigold’s birthday. It was the one thing Marigold had treasured all her life. It was the last thing she had.

“Now. Get going,” the man holding the end of the rope had grunted, tugging on the rope so hard her chest ached with the effort to breathe.

The people gathered in her hut parted at the door. They led Marigold out of the town to the wood with a rope around her waist, something hard pressing into her back, pushing her forward while tears streamed down her face. She gripped at her satchel, her heart breaking with every step she put in behind her. Please, she had begged them. Please don’t send me away.

All that resulted in was her being shoved even harder, falling to the ground, her crying out in pain as something hard, no doubt the broom handle of a local keeper, cracked down on her back. Her things were grabbed by the children, her satchel tossed, her dresses strewn, her photo crumpled into the tiniest ball. Her pouch of money pressed against her hip, hidden in the pocket she’d sewn into her dress herself. It was the only thing they couldn’t take from her.

“Be gone, Kalakuta!” They were all shouting obscene comments at her now, where she stood straight as a pin, her bare toes touching the edges of the dark wood.

“Please, I am not a—”

“You are a killer, Marigold Lovelock. You killed your parents; you kill the elders, the children even! You have a darkness in you that will never settle. We ought to kill you, but that would be too kind of us. We shall let the beasts of the woods decide your fate. Never return to Veritas, or we will change our minds. Kalakuta.” The man spit at her. The crowds were throwing things at her, rocks and sticks and anything they could use to hurt her.

“Please—” Marigold pleaded one last time, her cheeks dripped with tears, her whole body trembling. She had never been so scared in all her life.

“She does not learn. We have no pity,” an elder breathed in hushed tones.

“Let us show her what we do to Kalakuta.”

This was the last thing Marigold heard before she felt a sharp, blunt pain at the back of her skull, and the world went black.

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Meet the Author

Danni Maxwell has been writing stories for as long as she can remember. Born and raised in Ontario, Canada, she is a debut author who is currently studying to become a librarian, a job she defines as the best of both the reading and writing world. She has won multiple prestigious writing awards in the past few years. Her favourite genres to write are contemporary, LGBT+, and more recently she’s been dabbling in YA, sci-fi and poetry. When she’s not writing, you can find her creating book- and writing-related videos on Youtube’s Booktube community, at Danni Darling.

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Only Love Is Deathless by Sita Bethel Release Blast, Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Hiya guys! We have Sita Bethel stopping by today with her new release Only Love Is Deathless, we have a great excerpt and a fantastic $10 NineStar GC giveaway, so check out the post and enter the giveaway! ❤️ ~Pixie~

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Only Love Is Deathless

by

Sita Bethel

Sreka’s younger brother, Dobrina, is in love. The only problem is that the law forbids him from courting until Sreka is married. Sreka hires the local adventurer, Košmar, to marry him so Dobrina can wed his love.

Even if he has to sleep on the couch, instead of with the crown prince on their farce wedding bed, Košmar will get to live like a king for a year. And once Dobrina is married, Sreka will quietly divorce him and send him on his way with gold for his services.

Nothing says destined romance like a battle with a dragon, so Sreka and Košmar stage their first public encounter to fool the royal court. However, as fate would have it, the dragon that was supposed to be as fake as their love is real.

Warning: graphic violence

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

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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.

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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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Sorcery of the Blood by Alice G. Holmes Release Blast, Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Sorcery of the Blood

Author: Alice G. Holmes

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: May 4, 2020

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 58100

Genre: Fantasy, LGBTQIA+, Romance, paranormal, gay, interracial, vampires, vampire hunters, dystopia, dark, magic, spells, witchcraft

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Synopsis

Kingston St. Louis and Martin Von Brandt are vampire hunters of the highest caliber. That is until Kingston is made a vampire and they discover too late that the city is being taken over by vampires in a bloody coup.

Branded as outlaws, they’re forced into hiding with an unexpected ally. For their plan to stop the coup to work, Kingston will have to overcome his prejudices and train the very vampires he used to hunt, and Martin must learn magic.

All the while, they struggle with their feelings for each other. Love can be a weakness, and they can’t afford weakness when hiding from a powerful enemy.

Excerpt

Sorcery of the Blood
Alice G. Holmes © 2020
All Rights Reserved

Kingston

Footsteps echoed in the night, signaling the approach of our prey. Martin clung to the alley wall, machete in hand, blue eyes wide behind his glasses. I could see a sheen of sweat on his cheek, and I placed a finger to my lips, reminding him to be silent. He nodded, and I headed to the mouth of the alley. I had a performance to put on. I ruffled my hair, loosened my tie, and did my best to appear inebriated.

Just to add a little extra to the act, I began singing in a slurred voice. I could practically hear the monster’s delight as I walked down the alley. Sometimes I wished I knew what the fuck they were thinking. Nothing but blood and murder.

“Are you lost, little boy?” a voice asked in a sickly sweet tone.

I turned. A white woman stood there with long legs and brown hair. She wore a purple pantsuit like she’d finished a late night at an office nearby. There was something wrong with her eyes, just like the rest of them. No depth; her eyes were empty and still. I palmed the stake up my sleeve, making sure she couldn’t see it.

“’M not little,” I replied, wagging my finger at her. “I’m big where it counts.”

“Of course you are,” she said, grinning at me. God, she couldn’t be this stupid. Then again what did I know? It’s not like I knew of any Mensa vampires.

Martin was in position, but I didn’t dare look at him for fear of tipping her off. No need to take any risks on a hunt. I staggered up to her, playing up the drunk angle. I could practically hear Martin rolling his eyes. “I am. I can show you. Come back to my place, and I’ll prove it.”

“Why would I want to do that?” she asked. Her fangs were sliding down as she grinned; she was ready to pounce. “You can show me right here.”

I smiled back, standing up straight. “Okay.” I shouted, “Now!” And threw myself at her. I grabbed her around the middle and tackled her to the ground. She howled, teeth snapping at my neck. I dodged the fangs and rammed the iron stake into her heart.

She screamed, face contorted in demonic rage. Her fingers had turned into claws, and she was scratching the hell out of my back. I looked up to see Martin standing over us, and he said, “Move.” I tore myself away from the creature, and she let out an unearthly howl before Martin cut off her head.

The body went limp, and I got to my feet and said, “Nice work.”

“You too,” Martin replied. His eyes were still wide, and a tremor went through him. He looked like a kid who was in way over his head. I knew better.

“Are you okay?” I asked.

“Fine,” he said, his voice squeaking. I raised an eyebrow, and he sighed. “Sorry. I’ve got a bad feeling is all.”

I snorted. “When don’t you have a bad feeling?” I went to where I’d hidden my bag at the alley’s mouth and took out the lighter fluid. I drenched the corpse in it, making sure to use the entire can.

“I’m serious, Kingston. Something’s coming.”

“Well, when it gets here, we’ll deal with it. Just like this one.” I grabbed the book of matches and uttered a quick prayer. Didn’t make a difference; we’d already done our work. The ritual was more for my comfort. Martin hated it but he didn’t begrudge me. I struck the match and tossed it. The body burned hot, bright, and fast, and was gone in seconds.

Martin handed me the machete after he’d cleaned it off with the edge of his shirt. I tossed the blade in the bag along with the can and the matches. I retrieved the stake and slipped it in my pocket. I slung the bag on my back and headed out of the alley with Martin at my side. I threw an arm around him and said, “You worry too much.”

“You should take a break. When’s the last time you went out?” When I gestured to our surroundings, he pursed his lips with annoyance. “I mean besides hunting.”

“I went to the movies Saturday,” I said.

“You tracked a vampire to the movies and killed him after. That doesn’t count as going out,” Martin said, and I sighed. We walked to the parking garage where we’d stashed the car. I was glad to see there was no attendant around, given the sight of us. The fluorescent lights of the garage rendered my brown skin a sickly shade. If I looked sick, Martin appeared unearthly.

He was so white he glowed under the harsh lights. He had strawberry-blond hair and pale-blue eyes like a husky. I loved the way his hair gleamed in the light, and I wanted to run my hands through it. I jammed my hands into my pockets instead, one curling around the stake. Something solid to hang on to. We found the car, and I pulled out the key fob to unlock it.

“Okay, yes, I’ve been hunting a lot. But there’s more of these fuckers popping up by the minute,” I reminded him.

Martin bit his lower lip as I tossed the bag in the trunk, fiddling with one of the beads on his fidget bracelet. It struck me we made an odd pair. He’d opted for jeans, an Ozzy shirt, black thick-framed glasses, and Converse sneakers. I was in one of my old navy suits and brown loafers. Blood soaked our clothes, which was why I was eager to get going before someone spotted us. We got in the car and drove off.

He had curled up in the passenger seat, staring out of the window. Martin still twirling his beads, not saying anything right away. He looked delicate, almost fragile, which was why he was usually the bait. He could lure them in with his boyish charm, and vampires would trip over themselves to get a bite.

They didn’t know he was strong, physically and mentally. Or when he set his mind to something, he would get it done. Or that he’s the smartest person I’d ever met either in my regular life or my hunting life. Not to mention the most compassionate, which was one of the reasons we’d been arguing so much as of late. I admired his tenacious streak. Not so much when he aimed that tenacity at me.

He was thinking, and I tensed for an argument. I entertained the idea of kissing him to shut him up, something I’d dreamed about but wouldn’t do. When we drove onto the 101 loop, Martin said, “We should talk to Tyrone.”

“Fuck no!” I snapped, struggling to keep my eyes on the road.

“He can help. He’s got his own crew, and we’re low on manpower.”

“He’s a fucking vampire. We can’t trust that bloodsucker.”

“Yes, we can.” Martin’s voice strained.

I chanced a look at him and saw Martin clenching his jaw. “Look, just because he switched to donor blood while you two were fucking doesn’t mean he’s trustworthy. For all we know he’s stalking school kids now.”

Martin slammed his fist against the dashboard. “He’s not like that. Not all vampires are evil.”

“Like fuck they aren’t!” I shot back. “Do we gotta go over this again? They killed your family. They killed my brother. How are they not evil?” I regretted it the minute I said it, but I wouldn’t take it back. Martin balled his hands into fists, shoulders tensing up around his ears.

He growled, “Kingston Patrick St. Louis, that is fucking low.”

“It’s the truth.”

I didn’t expect him to understand. Martin had grown up without his family. He didn’t know anything about them except for some pictures in a scrapbook. While their deaths hurt Martin, he had never known them. My brother and I were thick as thieves, and I missed Seph every day.

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Meet the Author

Alice was born in California in the 80s, which explains so much, really. Before becoming a writer they were in a punk band and also worked as a nurse. In their spare time they enjoy television shows about ghosts and baking as well as a wide spectrum of music. They currently live in Arizona with their collection of Funko Pops and comic book figurines.

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Scarlet Gaze by Foster Bridget Cassidy Release Blast, Excerpt & Giveaway!

Scarlet Gaze

Author: Foster Bridget Cassidy

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: April 20, 2020

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 69300

Genre: Fantasy, LGBTQIA+, MM romance, new adult, virgin, college students, British setting, magic, demons, time travel, teleportation

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Synopsis

After a paranormal encounter in his youth with someone from his future, Collin Frey sets his sights on getting to Marke Staple University. Now eighteen and with a full scholarship to the prestigious university, Collin hopes to find an explanation to that life-changing event. Unfortunately, it only leads to more questions.

Finding out he’s there to study magic is the first surprise. The second is his roommate, Terrence, looks identical to the person who started him on the path to Marke Staple.

Collin’s more than willing to sell his soul to get closer to Terrence and uncover all the secrets hidden there. Can knowing a man will change after making a horrible mistake ease the pain of betrayal? Collin is going to find out.

Excerpt

Scarlet Gaze
Foster Bridget Cassidy © 2020
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One
Mom and Dad chatted softly as I gazed out the taxi window. Occasionally, the driver would point out a well-known sight, or something of interest. My parents oohed and aahed, but I barely registered the words. My thoughts focused inward, to the red-eyed man, his desperate pleas for forgiveness, and the total absurdity of the situation. When my mind dwelled on the event from my youth, the rational side wanted to dismiss it as a daydream, or some sort of hallucinated episode. The man had disappeared. That sort of thing didn’t happen in real life.

Yet here I was. Following the clues that could easily turn out to be nothing more than a figment of my imagination.

“And ’ere we are,” the cabbie said, pulling the car to a stop. “Marke Staple University. Very prestigious.” He turned around and smiled at me. “You’re a lucky one to get in.”

Mom leaned forward eagerly. “Not lucky at all! Collin got a full scholarship! He’s very bright.”

I wrinkled my nose and unbuckled my seat belt. “Thanks for the ride.”

I climbed out and gazed upon the school’s gothic spires. They sent ominous shadows stretching across the school grounds. One at the center of the campus stood higher than the rest. I recognized it from the school’s website. And the coin. The familiarity of it made my heart ache. So close.

The driver got out of the car and opened the trunk. He lifted our bags out and set them on the sidewalk. Dad slipped him a few American dollars, which he took with a wink. “Thanks a lot. And good luck in your studies.” He waved before climbing back inside and disappearing the way we came.

“So, here it is,” Dad said, following my gaze to the spires. “Kinda creepy.”

Mom lightly smacked Dad’s shoulder. “Travis! Don’t say things like that. It’s an old school, with old architecture.”

“And old ghosts,” Dad muttered, then shot me a mischievous grin. “I hope you don’t venture out at night.”

I laughed, and the tension filling me lessened. A bit.

Dad threw his arm over my shoulder and pulled me in for a side hug. “Come on, kiddo. Let’s check this place out.”

A man in a butler-type uniform headed our way, a trolley in front of him. He stopped in front of us and gave a formal bow. “Mr. and Mrs. Frey? I’m Stephen, Mr. Helmer’s coordinator. We sent a car to pick you up, but apparently they were stuck in traffic and didn’t make it on time. You’ll be compensated for the fee, of course.”

“Don’t worry about it,” Dad said.

Stephen dipped his head, graying hair falling over his eyes, but when he rose, he didn’t look happy with Dad’s dismissal of the taxi fare. “Mr. Helmer will be here shortly, but he sent me ahead to collect your luggage.”

“Thank you,” Mom said as he loaded our bags onto the trolley.

“I’ll get them delivered to your rooms.” Another bow, then he scampered off.

“That’s awful nice,” Mom added. “A car to pick us up—even if we missed it—and a butler to carry our things. What else will they do for us?”

“Well, they’re giving me a full scholarship,” I said, walking forward. “That should be plenty.” The tuition here was enormous. I had been lucky they’d offered me a scholarship, or else I never could have afforded this place. Millionaires sent their children here. Mom and Dad barely made enough to send Mindy—my older sister—to Florida State. This was on the other side of the Atlantic.

Mom and Dad followed my lead. We stepped past the stone gate and onto campus. As soon as my foot touched the ground on the other side, a tingle ran up my spine. I glanced around, wondering if they had a laser or infrared camera pointed at us. Nothing looked out of place. No obvious surveillance. With the next step, the chill vanished, so I dismissed it as a fluke and pushed it from my mind.

The campus was constructed of stone buildings, most sporting tall spires. Nothing in Florida even came close to this. In age or in design. An odd sensation permeated the air, almost like the change in air pressure on an airplane. A hum sounded just a decibel below hearing.

“Which way should we go?” Dad asked.

Mom pointed to a small sign in the grassy area in front of us. “Freshman orientation. That way.” She gestured to the right.

We started in that direction, but an older gentleman jogging toward us slowed our steps. I recognized his face—Patrick Helmer, the dean.

“Mr. and Mrs. Frey,” he called out, waving his hands over his head.

We stopped and allowed him to catch up. When he did, he smiled broadly, adding more wrinkles to his kindly face. “And Collin, of course,” he said to me. “I’m glad you made it in safely. I’m Patrick Helmer, the dean.” He shook all our hands enthusiastically. “I must apologize for the mix-up with the car. We must have copied your flight time incorrectly.”

“It was no problem,” Mom said. “The cab driver got us here quickly.”

“We wanted to do more, Mrs. Frey, to show how excited we are to have Collin here.”

Mom smiled, happy for someone to be singing my praises.

“We were just heading to orientation,” I said, gesturing in the direction we’d been going.

Helmer waved his hand dismissively. “No, that’s for the ordinary students. You don’t need to listen in. If you don’t mind, I’ll give you a tour of the campus.”

“That would be lovely,” Mom said. “Are you sure you’re not too busy?”

“Never too busy to assist our new literature students. We take pride in both our programs, but literature is the jewel in our crown. Collin won’t want for anything while he’s in our care, Mrs. Frey.”

Some of the tension left Mom’s shoulders at his words.

“Now, this way.” He led us deeper onto campus. “Marke Staple is a very old, very selective school.”

“I know,” I said. When we’d returned home from Colorado, I had looked into this place. I had the whole history of it memorized. And when I’d found out they only had two degrees—literature and business—I had applied myself to my studies and set my sights on getting here. “You only select five students a year to be in your literature program.”

The dean grinned. “Correct. And we are very happy you selected our school, Collin. I know you had plenty to choose from.”

I nodded, but it wasn’t true. Oh sure, my grades were so fantastic I could have gone to almost any I chose, but Marke Staple was the only place for me. My encounter with the red-eyed man cemented it.

“This”—Helmer said, lifting his hand toward the closest building—“is Lapris Hall. It’s the administrative building. My office is in there, as well as all the other teachers’. If you have any problems, you can find your solutions there.”

The building was two stories, with a dozen windows on this side. At each corner, elegant spires rose twice the height of the building. Atop each spire was an animal statue. A dog. A cat. A bird. A turtle. Curious. Most ancient buildings like this put statues of people or crosses, or at the very least gargoyles.

Helmer noticed my study of the spires and leaned close to me. “Wards,” he said softly. “They protect us.”

I shivered again, wondering what a university would need protection from.

He continued walking. Mom and Dad followed, but I lingered. Something about the building…wasn’t right. There was a haze that drew the eyes to the top, to the spires.

“Come on, Collin,” Dad called.

I pulled my gaze away and hurried after.

“This,” the dean said at the next building, “is Regalia Hall. All your classes will be in here. Besides the Staple Spire, it has the most original stonework. Only the west wall was affected by an earthquake in 1734.”

This building had one spire over the entrance, although several cats sat atop the buttresses. If four protecting Lapris Hall were enough, why did this building need a dozen?

“English departments are all the same,” Dad said, lifting his chin to study the detailed stonework. “And I bet the teachers all look like Dracula. That’s how it was at my college.”

Helmer laughed. “We don’t have any vampires on staff. A few hybrids, perhaps, but nothing dangerous.” Then he met my eyes and winked.

We continued around the rectangular campus, passing the café, and then the math building, the economics building, and other places the dean said I would have no use for. With only five students in each year, the literature program hosted twenty students total. The business program had four hundred. Naturally, most of the space would be devoted to their courses.

Finally, we reached the dormitories. There were three: lined in a row on the south side of campus. The school’s rock-wall perimeter stood just a few feet from the rear of the buildings.

“The men’s dormitory is on the left,” Dean Helmer said, gesturing. It was two stories, lacked any spires, and was identical to the one on the right. “The women’s dorm is on the right. The staff’s in the center.” The staff’s building was taller, and had two enormous statues peering down at the students’ dorms.

“Let me guess,” I said, nodding up toward the statues. One was a lion, the other a tiger. “They’re meant to keep us in after curfew.”

The dean chuckled and clapped a hand on my shoulder affectionately. “Ah, Collin. I do wish we could set them to that task. Unfortunately, we rely on resident assistants to enforce the curfew. Our statues are simply meant to ward off any danger.”

“Ah,” I said as if that made perfect sense.

“Now, why don’t we leave you to get settled into your room. You’ve got your room assignment?”

I wiggled my phone. “Yeah, it’s in my email.”

Helmer nodded, then turned to my parents. “Mr. and Mrs. Frey? If you’ll join me in my office, I’ll go over the finer points of Collin’s scholarship. Give you our emergency contact information. Get yours in return. That sort of thing.”

Mom looked at me, hesitating. “Will you be okay on your own?”

“I’m fine, Mom. I don’t want you and Dad being overbearing when I meet my roommate.”

Helmer glanced at his watch. “We can meet in an hour at the cafe for dinner? Will that suit you, Mrs. Frey?”

She nibbled her lip, but dipped her head. “All right. We’ll see you in a bit.”

The dean smiled. “Wonderful! Michael is your RA, Collin. Ask him if you have any questions.”

Purchase

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Meet the Author

Foster Bridget Cassidy is a rare, native Phoenician who enjoys hot desert air and likes to wear jackets in summer. She has wanted to be a fiction writer since becoming addicted to epic fantasy during high school. Since then, she’s studied the craft academically—at Arizona State University—and as a hobby—attending conventions and workshops around the country. A million ideas float in her head, but it seems like there’s never enough time to get them all down on paper.

For fun, Foster likes to take pictures of her dachshunds, sew costumes for her dachshunds, snuggle her dachshunds, and bake treats for her dachshunds. In exchange for so much love and devotion, they pee vast amounts on the floor, click their nails loudly on the tile, and bark wildly at anything that moves outside. Somehow, this relationship works for all involved.

While not writing, Foster can usually be found playing a video game or watching a movie with her husband. While not doing any of those things, Foster can usually be found in bed, asleep.

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Belega by Dianne Hartsock Blog Tour, Exclusive Excerpt, Review & Giveaway!

Belega - Dianne Hartsock

Dianne Hartsock has a new MM fantasy romance book out, The Karthagans Book One:

Belega.

The Karthagans have regained their ancient powers of manipulating nature, but at the price of madness. In their lust for control they’ve destroyed their island and most of their race. They come now to Belega where one of them, Camron, seeks domination over the known world.

The Mage has come from the northern continent of Sennia to bring peace, but finding his strength no match for the coming struggle, he passes his abilities on to Natan, who only desires a simple life. Now only Natan has the ability to stop Camron, but the personal cost is more than he imagines.

It is only with the combined strength of his friends, his Karthagan lover, Kavi, and his deep desire to bring peace to the earth, that he finds the courage to overcome Camron and restore balance to the world. The power of the mind is immense.

In this world, mankind has learned to gather the energies of creation to use at their whim. But absolute power corrupts absolutely.

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Giveaway

Dianne is giving away a $20 Amazon gift card with this tour – enter via Rafflecopter:

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Exclusive Excerpt

Belega meme - Dianne Hartsock
Hello! I’m Dianne, author of Belega, and today I’d like to bring you a deleted scene involving my gruff Captain Bryon. It’s not mentioned in the book, but as a youth Bryon fell in love with the daughter of the richest man in Amara. He courted her, as did all the young men of age, one day taking her to his cabin in the woods. Gathering his courage, he asked her to marry him. As you might suspect, she scorned him, laughed at him, declaring she could never call such a hovel a home.

Heartbroken, shamed, Bryon never brought another woman to his cabin. That is, until he meets Kirstin. In this scene, he’s anxious for Kirstin to visit, doubting she’ll come, knowing he and his home were not good enough for her. And yet he hopes…

~~

Bryon leaned on the handle of his scythe and looked critically at the cabin.  He’d gotten there the day before and had set his plans at once into motion.  He laughed wryly to himself, remembering the sweeping and dusting and airing out of empty rooms. His mother wouldn’t have known him for the boy she’d had to threaten to pick up after himself. 

His smile dimmed at the weather-beaten look of his home. At least it was clean.  He picked up the scythe and worked on the hillside until the sweat poured down his body and the ache had worked its way out of his heart.

            The afternoon passed into evening before he quit.  He’d reached the bottom of the slope and had even begun on the sides of the path.  He felt pleasantly tired and was thinking of supper when a step on the path startled him.  He watched in disbelief as Kirstin walked around the corner.  She stopped when she saw him and Bryon remembered to breathe.

            “What are you doing here?” were his first blunt words, but then he recalled himself and set the scythe carefully against a tree. He went to the girl and took her hands.  She smiled timidly, and it amazed him that she seemed nervous of him.  He couldn’t keep from touching her golden hair. Then he laughed, feeling ridiculous, and broke the spell.

             “Come on, girl.”  He put an arm around her and led her up the slope.  “You can tell me all about it over super.”  His steps faltered as they neared the cabin. What did he have to offer the girl after all but an old shack and a lonely heart?  He swore bitterly under his breath.

            Kirstin looked at his averted face in surprise then pressed her lips together. 

            “Bryon,” she chided and touched his cheek.  Her fingers covered his eyes.  “You’ve seen your home for far too long through her eyes.  Look with your own.” 

            She removed her hand and Bryon cried out. His mother’s flowers sprawled in a mass of color against the gleaming white walls of the cabin while pines towered in the background.  The well Father and he had dug close to the house for his mother sat in a lush field of grass. He caught a glimpse of the generous garden at the back.  He walked up the porch steps and looked in awe at a home with polished floors and hand-carved and cared for furniture.  Mother’s rugs and blankets added color everywhere. 

            “Thank you,” he whispered hoarsely.  He looked into Kirstin’s clear eyes and without thought bent his head and kissed her.  He drew back sheepishly and motioned to the open front door.  “Won’t you come in?”

~~

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Author Bio

Dianne Hartsock
Dianne grew up in one of the older homes in the middle of Los Angeles, a place of hardwood floors and secret closets and back staircases. A house where ghosts lurk in the basement and the faces in the paintings watch you walk up the front stairs. Rooms where you keep the closet doors closed tight at night. It’s where her love of the mysterious and wonderful came from. Dianne is the author of paranormal/suspense, fantasy adventure, m/m romance, the occasional thriller, and anything else that comes to mind.

She now lives in the beautiful Willamette Valley of Oregon with her incredibly patient husband, who puts up with the endless hours she spends hunched over the keyboard letting her characters play. Dianne says Oregon’s raindrops are the perfect setting in which to write. There’s something about being cooped up in the house with a fire crackling on the hearth and a cup of hot coffee in her hands, which kindles her imagination.

Currently, Dianne works as a floral designer in a locally-owned gift shop. Which is the perfect job for her. When not writing, she can express herself through the rich colors and textures of flowers and foliage.

Author Website: http://diannehartsock.wordpress.com/

Author Facebook (Personal): http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/diannehartsock

Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/Dianne-Hartsock-Author-107985445959828/

Author Twitter: http://twitter.com/diannehartsock

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Author Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Dianne-Hartsock/e/B005106SYQ/

Review

Dianne Hartsock - Belega COVER - Belega 3445Title: Belega

Series: The Karthagans 01

Author: Dianne Hartsock

Genre: Fantasy

Length: Novel (288pgs)

Publisher: Solstice Publishing (February 10, 2020)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: 3 1/2 Hearts

Blurb: .The Karthagans have regained their ancient powers of manipulating nature, but at the price of madness. In their lust for control they’ve destroyed their island and most of their race. They come now to Belega where one of them, Camron, seeks domination over the known world. The Mage has come from the northern continent of Sennia to bring peace, but finding his strength no match for the coming struggle, he passes his abilities on to Natan, who only desires a simple life. Now only Natan has the ability to stop Camron, but the personal cost is more than he imagines. It is only with the combined strength of his friends, his Karthagan lover, Kavi, and his deep desire to bring peace to the earth, that he finds the courage to overcome Camron and restore balance to the world. The power of the mind is immense. In this world, mankind has learned to gather the energies of creation to use at their whim. But absolute power corrupts absolutely.

ISBN: B084P7NJFR

Product Link: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Reviewer: Shorty

Review: Belega is a story about the Karthagan people with great powers who were forced out of their homes by others were terrified of them to the isle of mist. But the isle causes strife between them splitting them into two groups and war. They are all but decimated until Natan, who I really never understood who he was, retrieves them.

This story starts out fast with hardly any descriptions or background of who the many characters are throughout. I found myself lost trying to figure out who was who and what exactly was going on. It was not until almost halfway through that I understood.

Kavi was a very confusing character to me. He ran hot and cold through the story which irritated me immensely. I honestly didn’t like most of the characters in this book. I will say the powers the Karthagans had were intriguing.

Fast paced, action packed with twists and turns but not enough character details. The reader is thrown into the story without any lead ins. I felt like i was missing something from start to finish.

O.k. read for me.

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Of Magic and Scales by Natalina Reis Blog Tour, Guest Post, Excerpt & Giveaway!

Natalina Reis - Of Magic and Scales BANNER1

Hi guys, we have Natalina Reis stopping by today with the tour for her new release Of Magic and Scales, we have a brilliant guest post from Natalina, a great excerpt and a fantastic $10 Amazon GC or a backlist title giveaway so check out the post and enter the giveaway! ❤️ ~Pixie~ P.S. Keep an eye out for Shorty’s review coming soon!

Natalina Reis - Of Magic and Scales Cover 74rhjj

Of Magic and Scales

(Of Magic and Scales 01)
by

Natalina Reis

With a serial killer on the loose, the baffling mystery of Aiden’s past, and their tenuous budding romance, Aiden and Fouchard tread through a world of magic and myth on padded shoes, terrified to stir up something neither can control or defeat.

Aiden Mercer’s life now centers around lounging on the sunny beaches of his adopted country with a beer in one hand and a coffee in the other while admiring the local male population. After a rough life as a respected detective in DC, playing it cool shouldn’t be too hard, right? With the magical community on his case and dead bodies piling up around town, the responsibility of finding their killer seems fated to fall on him and deny him of his easy living.

Then there is Naël.

Cantankerous merman Naël Fouchard’s life is focused on bringing up and protecting his little sister. When DNA found at the scene of the murders mark him as the prime suspect, Naël seeks out the help of Aiden, whose reputation as a detective grossly belies his lazy lifestyle and apparent lack of ambition.

The chemistry between the strong, stoic Naël and the easygoing Aiden is undeniable, no matter how many walls Aiden builds.

If this unlikely pair can’t come to terms with their feelings for each other long enough to catch the killer, their emotional turmoil might yet allow the murderer to kill them instead.

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

Continue reading “Of Magic and Scales by Natalina Reis Blog Tour, Guest Post, Excerpt & Giveaway!”

Soul Weave by A. Nybo Release Blast & Excerpt!

A. Nybo - Soul Weave RDB Banner

Hi guys! We have A. Nybo stopping by today with her new release Soul Weave we have a great excerpt so check out the post and enjoy! ❤️ ~Pixie~

A. Nybo - Soul Weave Cover nf88ej

Soul Weave

by

A. Nybo

TREACHERY IS afoot among the wizards of Tangia. The wizard king bids his northern champion, Aquilon Tenista, to seek and destroy those responsible for the theft of the wizards’ mindseers. To shield his own mindseer from the thief, Aquilon needs a bag woven of thread spun from his soul in which his can hide. He solicits the aid of Lucien, a clan witch, to weave the bag.

A low-caste widower, Lucien is betrothed to his clan’s war leader. The only way he can delay the arranged marriage long enough to affect his escape is to accept Aquilon’s commission and join his quest.

Watching the enchanting spell weaver interact with the fiber of his soul is pure torment for Aquilon. As the attraction between the two men grow, a sinister presence within the magic cloth begins to emerge. Threads of the enemy’s deception must be severed if they are to have any hope of preventing war and saving their people.

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

Continue reading “Soul Weave by A. Nybo Release Blast & Excerpt!”

Trials by Sean Ian O’Meidhir & Connal Braginsky

Sean Ian O'Meidhir and Connal Braginsky - Crossing Nuwa; Trial Cover s jfd7rhTitle: Trials

Series: Crossing Nüwa 02

Author: Sean Ian O’Meidhir & Connal Braginsky

Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy

Length: Novel (190pgs)

Publisher: DSP Publications (February 4, 2020)

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖 4 Hearts

Blurb: With the help of technomage and hacker Theo, rare snake shifter Robbie escaped his mother and clan, who planned to use him as breeding stock. While still working to break through the conditioning and mind control of his past, Robbie is enjoying exploring a new relationship with the worldlier Theo.

But their fight isn’t over yet.

A trip to his aunt’s house for Thanksgiving is highjacked by political intrigue, leaving the couple wondering who their friends really are. They cannot help but be drawn into larger plots while trying to find justice for Robbie at his mother’s trial. When clan rivalries turn deadly, they’ll need their allies—and each other—more than ever.

ISBN-13: 978-1-64405-628-8

Product Link: Dreamspinner | Amazon US | Amazon UK | B&N

Reviewer: Shorty

Review: Robbie and Theo are settling in their new lives together when they are pulled into politics that neither are interested in. I liked that Robbie got justice for the way he was treated by his mother. I really did not like that woman and wanted to slap her most of the time.

It was nice seeing Robbie’s family in a different light without the constant tension as in the previous book. It was cute watching Robbie and Theo together. They are an adorable couple.

This book was a dramatic story with a satisfying conclusion though had some unnecessary drama near the end. Despite that I enjoyed reading it.

Great read.

Escape by Sean Ian O’Meidhir & Connal Braginsky

Sean Ian O'Meidhir and Connal Braginsky - Crossing Nuwa Escape Cover s 78343Title: Escape

Series: Crossing Nüwa 01

Author: Sean Ian O’Meidhir & Connal Braginsky

Genre: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy

Length: Novel (192pgs)

Publisher: DSP Publications (July 9, 2019)

Heat Level: Low – Moderate

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖 4 Hearts

Blurb: For sheltered Robbie, one week of freedom leads to sexual awakening and adventure… but when his world intersects with Theo’s, they’ll need all their wits and Theo’s magic to fight for their future.

Rare male weresnake Robbie has had his whole life decided for him down to his meals. But when the time comes for him to perform an unspeakable duty to his clan, he runs.

San Francisco Pride is in full swing when technomage Theo spots a scared-looking young man with brilliant emerald eyes. He’s only looking for a hookup, but before he knows why, he’s taking Robbie home and introducing him to champagne and enchiladas. He doesn’t have any intention of falling in love.

Robbie doesn’t want to return to his clan, at least not without trying to fit a lifetime of experiences into a week, but every day he stays puts Theo in more danger.

ISBN-13: 978-1-64405-258-7

Product Link: Dreamspinner | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | B&N

Reviewer: Shorty

Review: Robbie is a rare snake shifter that his family has plans for despite what he wants. he decides to take some time to himself and escapes. He sets off and meets Theo, a technomage during a pride parade. Theo wants Robbie but decides to back off some due to Robbie’s innocence, The two strike up a friendship until Robbie’s family comes for him.

I liked this story. Robbie had a lot of growing to do and finding himself considering how his family treated him. I liked that he finally took a stand. Theo was not what I expected but he eventually started to change for the better.

An intriguing story full of drama and some tense situations. All in all it was an intriguing book.

Great read.