Release Blitz: The Fortune Hunter by Bonnie Dee

 Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

 Length: 68,000 words
Cover Design: Fantasia Frog Designs
 
Blurb
 

A man with nothing finds everything.

Abandoned at birth, WWI veteran Hal Stanton faces bleak employment prospects in post-war London. Desperation spurs him to reinvent himself to hook a wealthy wife, one he will be devoted to even if he feels no real passion. But when he meets his fiance’s cousin, Julian Needham, it’s all he can do to keep his heart in check and his eye on the prize.

From the moment he’s introduced to the charming stranger Margaret plans to marry, Julian suspects the man’s motives yet fights a relentless attraction. He’s determined to reveal Hal as a fraud but must handle the matter delicately to protect his sweet cousin’s feelings. A weekend at the family estate should allow time and opportunity for him to expose Halstead Wiley.

Even as the men match wits in a battle of attempted unmasking, powerful sexual attraction threatens to overcome them both and win the day. Can a true love connection possibly grow between these adversaries without destroying lives and loved ones?

Excerpt

Drawing up in front of the Needham house on the curved driveway, Hal felt as if he ought to be arriving in a carriage and four rather than Margaret’s Daimler motorcar. The sprawling limestone house was a convoluted collection of roof peaks, turrets, and wings added on over the years. It looked like a castle, proclaiming nobility dwelt within and an outsider like him would never belong.

Hal didn’t resent the upper class their wealth, power, and prestige. He merely wanted to become one of them. Was that so awful? A friend had once come to Hal’s flat begging a sanctuary to spend a night or two. The stay had turned into something more like two months. But Hal certainly understood that desire to lay down the burden of constant struggle to survive and find a quiet, comfortable resting spot.

Margaret would be his safe place, and he would be hers, making certain she never wanted for companionship. In return, he’d have a nice house, good food, and a fine wardrobe. He would guard her fortune as if it were his own, spending wisely and increasing it shrewdly. He wouldn’t be a burden but a life companion in an easygoing, if chaste, arrangement.

He got out of the passenger side of the car, and Margaret came around to join him. “What do you think? The house may appear grand, but don’t let the battlements fool you. Inside, it’s quite shabby. Despite a respectable family name, my aunt and uncle aren’t wealthy by any means.”

Hal tucked her hand through the loop of his arm. “I’m not nervous. I’m quite ready to meet them and explain why I’ve fallen in love with their one-of-a-kind niece. This must have been a wonderful place to grow up with all those nooks and crannies to explore.”

“It truly was. Mother and I could have afforded to stay in our own home after Father died. But I’m so glad we came to live with Aunt Agnes and Uncle Harold; otherwise, I never would’ve had brothers like Julian and James.” She frowned. “After nearly two years, I still have trouble thinking of James in the past tense.”

Hal recalled James had survived France but died in the influenza epidemic almost immediately upon his return home. He put an arm around Margaret and hugged her. “You must miss him terribly.”

“His passing has been difficult for me but nearly killed my aunt and uncle. They’re still mourning. And Julian…” She shook her head.
“Misses his brother and perhaps blames himself for being alive,” Hal guessed. “I understand that feeling, having lost many comrades at the front.”

Margaret stopped at the doorstep and turned to him, eyes shining. “You survived because God had more for you to do in this life. He brought you to me, for which I am ever grateful.”

Hal hated himself just a little more at her declaration. When he’d begun this plan, he’d imagined landing a wealthy older widow who knew the score and didn’t mind so long as she had a handsome young husband to show off to her friends like a trophy. But then he’d met Margaret. He’d been so taken with her blend of sweetness and assertiveness that it had seemed possible to make a sham marriage work. Now he was stuck with the plan he’d devised.

The door opened before they knocked. A stooped older man with a paunch swelling his waistcoat greeted them. “Welcome home, Miss Margaret.”
“Hello, Grover. You’re looking very dapper today. I’m so glad to be back. I’ve missed home these past months. May I present my fiancé, Mr. Halstead Wiley.”
The butler bowed. “Good day, sir. Welcome to Barton Park.”
Hal almost returned the bow, then recalled his proper standing and nodded politely instead. “I’m happy to be here.”

Grover escorted them to the drawing room, where Mr. and Mrs. Needham and Julian were already gathered. Hal assessed the room before following Margaret inside. Pale blue walls and rug offered a sense of tranquility and the room was not overly cluttered. The dark, heavy pieces of furniture from an older century didn’t fit the pale color palette that suggested a more chic, modern décor.
Margaret’s aunt and uncle rose to greet him. The outdated style of Mrs. Needham’s gown didn’t detract from her aura of grace and refinement as she offered her hand. “Mr. Wiley, we’re pleased you could come. Darling Margaret is the daughter we never had, and we were eager to meet the man she’s chosen.”

“Quite so,” Mr. Needham said.

Hal wasn’t certain if he was meant to shake Mrs. Needham’s hand or kiss it. The customs of the gentry weren’t familiar to him. He gave a polite press before letting go, then turned to offer a hearty shake to Mr. Needham. “The pleasure is mine. Your niece is a prize.”
“Yes she is.” Mr. Needham gave Hal an assessing look with gray eyes very much like his son’s.
Hal scanned the rest of the room to find Julian standing near the window. Sunlight burnished his brown hair with golden highlights. His well-cut profile with its straight nose and strong jawline was haloed in light. When he turned his stern gaze toward Hal, a little hum of anticipation awoke within him.

Hal squelched this reaction to a man he considered an adversary. Needham had invited him here to poke holes in his story, so he must be on guard every moment not to give himself away. If this wedding were to be called off, he’d be jobless and desperate again. One would expect work to be plentiful in the aftermath of the Great War with so few veterans returning, but the economy was in shambles. Odd jobs were all Hal had been able to find, spurring him to his mad scheme to land a wealthy woman.

He offered a bright smile. “Good to see you again, Mr. Needham.”

As much as it wasn’t, it actually was. Needham intrigued Hal, not only his physical demeanor but his affectionate manner with Margaret and his magnetic presence. Had they met under other circumstances, he and Julian might have been friends—or probably something more than friends, for Hal guessed “confirmed bachelor” Julian shared his attraction to men.

Hal dragged his thoughts away from the sorts of activities they might have gotten up to in another time and place, as he sat beside his betrothed on a sofa. “You have a lovely home,” he complimented his hosts. “Its history must be fascinating.”

“Thank you,” Mrs. Needham said. “Barton Park was built in 1640 and belonged to several families before the Needhams took possession.”

Her husband added dryly, “You may learn the entire history on every second Wednesday of the month, when the house is open. I daresay the tour guide is more educated on both the history and the architecture than we are.”

“Tours?” Julian abandoned his spot by the window to stride across the room with long-legged grace. “When did this begin?”

“Surely I mentioned this in one of my letters. A company that arranges tours approached us this past summer,” Mrs. Needham explained. “At first, your father refused to speak with their representative, but when we learned other owners of other estates were allowing tours, we decided to give it a go. It’s a respectable way to share one’s heritage and is little trouble at all. Thus far, the tourists, both domestic and foreign, have been orderly and respectful.”
“Not at all annoying having strangers troop through one’s home,” Mr. Needham continued in his sub-Saharan tone. “And you’d know about this if you paid the least attention to what your mother writes, or if you came for a visit every so often.”

Julian stood before his parents, scowling. “You did not mention this in any of your letters. I’d no idea you’d reached such a…” He glanced at Hal and seemed to reconsider airing his family’s financial business. “That you were considering such a thing.”
“It has become quite common these days for historical houses to be on display,” Mrs. Needham pointed out. “As you’ve said, times are changing.”
“More’s the pity,” the elder Needham growled.

Hal sat very still, wishing he were someplace else and not witnessing this family argument. He’d had no idea the Needhams were in such difficult straits until today. Apparently, their children hadn’t either. Surely Margaret would want to offer financial help, which would cut into the inheritance from her father’s side. He was a horrible person to immediately consider how the Needham family’s misfortune might affect him and his plans.

“Honestly, I think it’s rather brilliant to open the house to tours.” Margaret smoothed the folds of her modish knee-length dress. “Tourists enjoy seeing grand houses from a former century. The building should earn its maintenance at the very least. But if you require more financial assistance, please let me know. I want to do my part for the family.”

Julian Needham quickly added, “I can offer help as well. My investments are doing well enough.”
“We’re not quite destitute, although apparently our home has become a museum artifact to be gawked at by strangers,” Mr. Needham said.
“Thank you, my dears, for your generous thought. But such a discussion is most inappropriate at this celebratory occasion.” Mrs. Needham turned her attention to Hal. “Tell us how you two met.”

“We were both browsing at a bookstore. I shared a recommendation with Hal, and we talked for hours. You can see how that conversation ended.” Margaret turned her beaming smile on Hal. “Or never ended, for we always find something to discuss.”
“I was taken with Margaret from the moment we met. She manages to be both imaginative and levelheaded at the same time. One doesn’t let a quality woman like Margaret slip away.”
“Your family approves the arrangement?” Mr. Needham probed.

Hal seized a quick breath before plunging into his embroidered history. He hadn’t tried to pretend to Margaret that he came from any sort of gentility, instead inventing middle-class parents of modest means.

“My parents have passed, and I have no extended family. But I’m certain both Father and Mother would have welcomed Margaret with open arms.”
“Tell us about your parents,” Needham senior pushed.
“My father owned several shipping concerns. But in one year, a freighter was lost at sea and another seized by pirates. This put a great strain on his fortune and took a toll on his health.”

Hal patted his chest, indicating possible heart failure or a broken heart. Let them decide which. “He passed away within a year, and my dear mother followed soon after. I believe she couldn’t face life without him.”

Mrs. Needham gave a soft murmur, and Margaret reached to pat Hal’s hand. He bowed his head, hoping he wasn’t overdoing the drama.
“Were you left penniless then?” Julian’s tone was cool and less than sympathetic.
“Julian!” Mrs. Needham exclaimed at his shocking ill manners.

“It’s all right, Mrs. Needham. It is quite reasonable to wonder about the stranger your niece has brought home. I should have followed custom and asked permission for her hand.” Hal offered an apologetic smile, then continued trying to reassure them he had nothing to hide.

“I invested the small inheritance I received and have increased it over the years, so I live quite comfortably. I won’t pretend to be more than I am. I come from a middle-class background, and I’m in love with a woman who is clearly above me. But I care for Margaret very much.”
The last part at least was true. Hal took her hand, gazed into her eyes, and prayed his selfish intentions could be forgiven.
Margaret smiled. “As I care for you.”

Julian made a small sound that might have signaled either acceptance or disgust.

Hal darted a sharp glance at him.

“It’s a lovely afternoon. I should like to take you on a tour of the land before supper,” Margaret said.
“Perfect weather for an invigorating walk,” Hal agreed and blessed her for freeing him from the relentless questioning.
“I’ll go with you.” Julian had not taken a seat during the entire conversation, and now he started for the door. “I should like to see how the farms are doing.”

They bid their elders goodbye and entered the hallway. Margaret excused herself to change into proper attire.
Hal had brought no walking shoes and lingered awkwardly with Julian, who scanned him up and down.

“You’ll want a pair of Wellingtons. The fields and woods are muddy. And a drover’s coat to cover this fine wool.” He fingered the lapel of Hal’s jacket, tailored for a gentleman and discovered by Hal in a secondhand store.

Julian stood so near, Hal felt the heat of his body and inhaled the scent of his shaving lotion. Did Julian mean to be intimidating? Probably, because he stared at Hal with the assessing eyes of judge, jury, and executioner.

When Julian at last stepped back, Hal took a deep breath. Unfortunately, the man wasn’t only a barrier to breach, he also unleashed attraction such as Hal hadn’t felt in a long time. Perhaps Julian sensed his desire and was baiting him to make an impulsive move.

But Hal wouldn’t reveal himself so foolishly. Nothing could come between him and the quiet, calm, comfortable life he craved. He must convince this doubting Thomas before he derailed Hal’s matrimonial plan.

Dear Readers,

I began telling stories as a child. Whenever there was a sleepover, I was the designated ghost tale teller guaranteed to frighten and thrill with macabre tales. I still have a story printed on yellow legal paper in second grade about a ghost, a witch and a talking cat.

As an adult, I enjoy reading stories about people damaged by life who find healing with a like-minded soul. When I couldn’t find enough such books, I began to write them. Whether you’re a fan of contemporary historical or fantasy romance, you’ll find something to enjoy among my books.

To stay informed about new releases, please sign up for my newsletter. You can also find me on Facebook and Twitter @Bonnie_Dee.

 GIVEAWAY

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hosted By Signal Boost Promotions

 

Advertisements

Gorgeous Aussie setting for this mid 19th Century romance

The StationThe Station by Keira Andrews

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a re-release of one of Keira’s earlier historical novels and, like the rest, it’s heavily endowed with quality research and a real sense of place.

The place in this instance is Australia, in the mid 19th century when the British were still sending their criminals out to the ‘penal colony’ and where many settlers were able to make new lives for themselves.

This very much reminded me of the film starring Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman where she blazes a trail as a woman station owner in the Aussie outback – just with the addition of a gay couple.

And what a couple, Irish stable master Patrick was the perfect older man for the young aristocratic Colin as they struggled to deal with the harsh realities of a thousand mile journey across New South Wales.

I loved them both so much. Patrick doing his best to stay unconnected, Colin so enthusiastic to learn all he could from the older man. Their relationship slow burns its way through blow jobs, hand jobs and frotting until it eventually explodes in a beautifully tender first time.

This is a gorgeous example of how to do a historical romance.

#ARC kindly received from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review.

View all my reviews

My Weight Loss Journey Begins

diet-calorie-counter-weight-loss-health.jpg
As anyone who’s read my More Me piece knows, 2014 was a catalytic year in which I nearly died – twice – because of Swine Flu and was left paralysed for six months after a five-week induced coma.

During the near nine months I was in hospital, I lost a lot of weight, through being unconscious and nose tube fed and also because I had to learn how to eat all over again and I just really didn’t want to eat and had no appetite.

Unfortunately, during the now three years post discharge, due to being officially disabled and incapable of walking more than 20ft without my right hip displacing and having to do so while in incredible pain throughout my body, I’ve put an awful lot of weight back on.

I’ll be 48 next year so, if I don’t take things in hand now, it’s only going to get worse by the time I hit the big 5-0. But, instead of doing a “diet” as such, I’ve set up an account with MyFitness Pal to start tracking what I’m actually eating.

This gives me a daily calorie target to eat and, if I stick to that, I should lose weight even if I can’t do anything else. It’s an eye opener really to truthfully and honestly track what you’re eating and it’s made me appreciate that I need to look at portion sizes and drink more water!

I’m also hoping I can start regularly going to the local hydro pool which is a 20 minute session in which I can freely move without pain and which I hope will let me tone up while losing weight at the same time.

Unfortunately, I need a carer to come with me to that because I can’t get washed and dressed without aid. In the meantime, I’m trying to find small exercises I can do at home. I have a set of stretching exercises my physios have given me over the past three years, so I’ve been doing those as well as a bit of walking and going up and down the stairs (which is a real trial for me).

I used to walk a lot and I want to reach a point where I can do that again, even if it’s in pain, so that my nearly 10-year-old son has a mother who can be active in some way with him.

So there you have it, a slightly different blog from me today.

Dramatic suspense romance kicks off new series from Megan Erickson

Zero Hour (Wired & Dangerous #1)Zero Hour by Megan Erickson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5*

Full review when I’m at the laptop.

ETA: Right, I love Megan Erickson’s work, especially the Cyberlove Series with Santino Hassell. I’ve also enjoyed her MF stories, particularly her recent paranormal Blood Guard and The Gamers Series (a mix of MF/MM).

This one’s a romantic suspense thriller type hacker adventure. The tag line of The Fast and the Furious meeting Mr Robot’s not far wrong. But I wasn’t as enamoured of this one as I have been with others.

Roarke is all alpha male and there’s a lot of “you can’t do this because you’re a woman” tropes sent towards Wren. In this instance it’s because he’s always been in love with her but thinks he’s not worthy, but I find the back and fro-ing between two people who both fancy the pants off each other to be really annoying, no matter how well written.

This is, in essence, a revenge story with a romance attached to it, and while the romance was a fairly slow burn, the hacktivist part of the book did work well to an extent.

There was never really any explanation given for how a team of hackers and (essentially geeks) doing jobs like investigating dodgy companies and looking into criminal activity computer trails, also ended up with shit hot weapons skills.

I liked the banter between the team though. There was another strong female character in Marisol and Wren herself wasn’t a pushover, although again there was too much of the “I want him but I can’t have him” arsing about for my liking.

There’s also second hidden secret missions involving the same targets and the – lack of communication leading to mistakes and mix-ups – is another trope which needs handling with care. I get why authors use the “lone gun” element and, in this instance, it mostly paid off.

The ending sets up the rest of the series and I am looking forward to finding out more about the rest of the crew and I believe there’s at least two others planned (another MF and an MM).

#ARC received from the publishers via NetGalley in return for an honest and unbiased review

View all my reviews

More awesome literary influences in the latest Ward Security release

Dantès Unglued (Ward Security, #2)Dantès Unglued by Jocelynn Drake

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Count of Monte Cristo is one of my favourite novels in classic literature. The revenge story unfolds as Edmond Dantès systematically takes apart the lives of the four men who betrayed him more than a decade earlier.

In Dantès Unglued, the references are subtle, but they’re an underlying presence in the story which I won’t go into in huge detail as it would spoil the enjoyment for the reader going in blind, suffice it to say, I squealed a lot each time one popped up.

The tone in this is completely different than that of Psycho Romeo, the first in the Ward Security series offshoot of Jocelynn and Rinda’s Unbreakable Bonds Series (and if you’ve not read those, rectify that immediately!)

However, there’s plenty of elements which identify it as part of that world – the banter, the sense of friendship tying the men together, the volcanic hot sex and emotional connectivity between the main characters, and the fast-paced plot which anchors everything.

Quinn Lake’s been in and around the series since the beginning working for Rowe as one of his IT geniuses and we first met Shane as one of Jude Torres’ exes running the PI firm Hollis now works for.
Together they were explosive. The door scene in Psycho Romeo might just have met its match in the office chair scene in this one, Lordy when these two give in to that chemistry there really is magic happening in the periodic table!

The relationship happens over a fairly short period of time before the “I love you’s” but it absolutely works within the narrative. There is an instant attraction which is palpable and the two men are so staggered by how easily they slot together, it’s a no brainer really that they sweetly slide into a relationship without even realising it.

There’s no unnecessary drama which isn’t central to the book’s plot line (as opposed to the romance element) and the twist there is beautifully done, so major kudos to both authors for smoothly pulling it off (even when you know the book has that Edmond Dantès influence), that’s going some!

I loved the casual glimpses back into the rest of this expanded world, we see Jude and Snow, Ian and Hollis, hear about Lucas and Andrei’s upcoming wedding and have a memorable encounter with Rowe during this book. It’s great to keep that connection even though these spin-offs definitely have a tone and feel all of their own.

All I can say is this series, along with the earlier one it springs from, are right up at the top of my tree for books which do exactly what they say on the tin – provide me with a thrill of a ride and a beautiful romance with all the emotional feels I need alongside the (admittedly) hot sex.

#ARC kindly received from the authors in return for an honest and unbiased review.

PS: If you’ve never read  the book by Alexandre Dumas, père, it’s worth it. The 1975 film adaptation starring Richard Chamberlain is my favourite of the many.

The_Count_of_Monte-Cristo_(1975)
View all my reviews

Cover Reveal: Love Time Five by Lily G. Blunt

Title: Love Times Five

Author: Lily G. Blunt

Cover Art: Jay Aheer at Simply Defined Art

Release Date: January 19, 2018

Genre/s: paranormal, gay romance, contemporary, polyamory

Length: 77, 000 words

Add on Goodreads

Blurb

There’s safety in numbers and plenty of love to go around.

When Colin searches for his missing colleague and buddy in the hills of northern England, his life is changed forever. Not only does he find Shaun living in a cabin with the mysterious and undeniably gorgeous Zach, but he also discovers the reason Shaun went AWOL in the first place. Colin wants to draw his friend away to safety, but Zach soon mesmerises him, and he’s happy to stay in his company, for now.

Passing hikers, Wes and Dane, need some assistance, and the three men are willing to oblige. Thus begins a friendship that develops into much more.

The five men each have their own secrets. Some are shared, others are kept hidden. It’s only a matter of time before they are exposed and the consequences could change everything for them all.

Available to purchase now from PayHip

Pre-Order Links

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Smashwords

Excerpt – From Chapter One

The wooden cabin situated across the sloping meadow was a decent-sized dwelling, with two curtained windows on either side of the door. A covered porch stretched across the front with two old-fashioned rocking chairs and a new SUV was parked to the side.

Movement on the grass in front of the cabin confirmed the place was indeed inhabited. Colin halted in his tracks at the edge of the tree line, his breath on hold, wary of making his presence known. He squinted to get a better view of the two men walking close together. One was sleek and elegant, dressed in dark clothing. He towered over the other smaller, more familiar, figure in a sky-blue T-shirt.

Shaun?

Even from that distance, there was something recognisable about the upward lift of the chin of the shorter man; the way he held his body and the way the breeze ruffled his dark hair.

Yes, thank God. That’s got to be Shaun.

Colin snuck behind the nearest tree and peered from around the trunk, not wanting to be seen nor to interrupt them. Not yet anyway. Perhaps he wouldn’t need to make himself known. If he was mistaken and it wasn’t Shaun after all, he could slink away and return home without disturbing them. If it was him, Colin wanted answers. He wouldn’t be able to leave without finding out what the hell Shaun was doing here. With this stranger.

The stranger placed his hands on Shaun’s biceps and leaned in closer. He raised an arm, gripped Shaun’s jaw and pushed him backward.

Colin’s stomach clenched.

If he hurts Shaun… Colin patted his penknife, a comforting weight where it nestled in his trouser pocket. He’d lost count of the number of times just carrying the knife had given him the confidence to stand up to thugs who thought it was okay to call him out on his sexuality. Colin was proud he could hit most targets with it and had his father to thank for his accurate throwing skills. He was proficient enough to frighten this guy.

The cabin stood on the far side of a wild grassy expanse leading down to a small lake beyond. It was a picturesque setting with early spring flowers peeking through here and there. The sun glinted off the dark surface of the lake, and a rowing boat lay overturned at the water’s edge. Normally, Colin would have taken shot after shot with his phone to capture the charming view. But not today. This was not a sightseeing trip. It might even be a matter of life or death. For Shaun, for himself, maybe for them both considering how the taller guy unsettled Colin. If Shaun was being held captive, it would be up to Colin to rescue him.

A pained groan filled the quiet of the meadow; louder than the songbirds and the insects humming in the air.

Colin shuddered all over. His skin prickled with the fear rippling through him.

He slowly eased the penknife from his trouser pocket. The handle felt cool in his sweaty palm. Running his thumb over the edge of its sheathed blade, he itched to flick it open. It would take a second to expose the knife and throw it. If only he were a little closer, he’d be sure of hitting his target spot on. He’d need to be accurate if he wanted to rescue his buddy from his captor.

Colin held back a growl. He’d do everything in his power to help Shaun. His body was strong and muscled—too big, Colin worried sometimes. Shaun was slender and wouldn’t stand a chance against this imposing man.

The man steered Shaun towards the large stump of a felled tree, and pinned him onto his back. Shaun didn’t struggle or fight, only crying out when the man lunged towards him.

What the… are they kissing and making out?

The powerful man nuzzled on top of Shaun: licking, nipping, and sucking on his neck. Submitting and not resisting, Shaun allowed the man to take what he needed. A sludge of sickness rolled through Colin’s gut, making him want to puke, like it often did whenever Shaun hooked up with another guy.

Swallowing the bitter-tasting bile, Colin crept over the ground to the adjacent tree, placing his feet gently, trying to make himself light, so as not to disturb the entwined couple. A twig snapped beneath his cumbersome weight and he froze.

The two men remained engrossed in each other. Neither of them glanced his way. Sweat trickled down Colin’s back. His skin burned. He wiped the moisture from his brow and stepped closer, gripping the knife so hard his knuckles cracked.

What the hell is he doing to Shaun’s neck?

A chill ran over Colin’s damp skin. Shaun had mentioned a possessive date who’d bitten him at a nightclub a week or so before he’d disappeared. In fact, it was after that encounter Shaun had started acting out of character. Colin had been worried enough to persuade him to get the bite checked out by his doctor, in case it got infected. Could this be the same sick fuck who was currently grinding his hips against Shaun, trying to get himself off as he latched onto his neck?

Colin’s heart thudded, his blood heating with a mix of anger and jealousy. He mustered all his strength, and his nostrils flared when his next breath filled his lungs.

He strode towards the rutting couple, but Shaun’s groans of arousal slowed Colin’s pace.

“Yes, Zach, that feels good.” Shaun’s passion-filled voice drifted across the meadow.

Was his friend in any real danger? Had he been drugged and was being held against his will? It didn’t seem like it. Fuck, what should he do? Goddamn Shaun, he’d worried the hell out of Colin, and here he was having some sort of debauched make-out session with this creep while Colin had been traipsing the hillsides looking for him.

Colin gritted his teeth. Whatever had happened to Shaun, he needed to find out what the hell was going on. He continued his steady approach.

Surely these guys must know he was standing not ten feet away from them by now, but Shaun’s eyes remained closed, his lips parted, a look of ecstasy on his face. The guy on top sucked on his neck like there was no tomorrow. He’d have a massive hickey later, and Shaun didn’t seem bothered by it.

Colin’s dick twitched, and he huffed at its traitorous response. How many times had he witnessed other lithe young men rubbing against Shaun like this in clubs and he’d wanted to take their place? And he would have too, if he’d thought for a second he was the kind of guy Shaun wanted.

Right now, Colin should haul this leech off Shaun and drag his friend back home, back to work, back to where he belonged.

And still the guy feasted on his neck, sucking and lapping as if his life depended on it. And Shaun was getting off from that. His erotic purrs and moans captivated Colin. Damn it, his dick hadn’t been this hard in weeks. Why couldn’t someone… Shaun… suck on him like that?

Shaun’s eyes fluttered open, and on catching sight of Colin, widened.

“Stop, Zach,” he said, pushing him away.

Had they not heard his approach?

His neck-sucking friend—Zach—turned leisurely. He raised an eyebrow in challenge, wiped a trickle of blood from his mouth with the back of his hand, and stared with a self-satisfied smirk at Colin. Had he known Colin was standing there all this time?

Cocky bugger. Granted, he was a good-looking cocky bugger. Lean torso and long legs, with smooth, pale skin, yet his eyes were dark and mesmerising. His features appeared almost sculpted, his nose was perfect, and his clean-shaven square jaw made him so very handsome.

Don’t get distracted. He’s dangerous.

Shaun rose to a sitting position on the tree stump. Blood trickled from two round marks on his neck. He raised a hand and covered the injury.

Colin blinked. Zach had bitten into Shaun’s neck and hurt him. The reality slammed into Colin. He shook his head, trying to clear away a fuzzy feeling, and flicked open his knife. He held it poised, ready to throw. He still wasn’t sure if this was consensual or if Zach was a nutter who’d done something to overpower Shaun.

“Step away from him,” Colin ordered, making his voice deep and commanding, his arm steady with the knife. “I’m taking Shaun home with me.”

Zach shook his head slowly, but he stayed put. Shaun rose to his feet, his eyes fixed on Colin. He held his hands out in a calm down and take it easy posture.

“I mean it, sunshine. One sudden move and I’ll throw this blade at you. I’ll make you bleed.” And Colin meant every word. He was prepared to take this guy out to rescue his friend.

“Hey, Col. You’ve got it all wrong. He wasn’t hurting me.” Shaun took a step closer to Zach instead of Colin.

And that action hurt Colin more than a solid punch in the gut.

“Yeah, Col. Listen to him.” God, Zach was smooth, with a sexy drawl of a voice. His dark, imposing gaze shifted between the knife and Colin’s eyes. And still his body language screamed be wary of me. He couldn’t be trusted. He was going to pounce any second, Colin just knew it.

With a flick of his wrist, Colin tilted the knife, and before he could sound off another warning, it was Shaun who leaped forward, snarling. His clothing shredded and scattered into the air and, out of the blur of movement, before him stood a pale grey wolf baring its teeth.

About the Author

Lily G. Blunt enjoys writing contemporary gay romance and paranormal stories. She loves to explore the relationship between two or more men and the intensity of their physical and emotional attraction. Angst often features in her stories as she feels this demonstrates the depth of feelings between them. Lily is often inspired by the lyrics to songs and is forever writing imaginary scenes and plots in her head. Only a few of these ever make their way to the page.

Lily reviews for several blogs and has recently launched Gay Book Promotions, an online book promotion service for authors of LGBT+ romance and fiction. She loves to hear from readers and other authors.

Contact and Social Media Information

Amazon | Amazon UK | Blog | Facebook | Goodreads | Twitter | Gay Book Promotions

Hosted by Gay Book Promotions