Category Archives: Release Publicity: LGBTQ+

Release Blitz: One-on-One by V. L. Locey

One-on-One | V. L. Locey

Cayuga Cougars #5

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Buy Links: 

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2DcQepb

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2AOxCdv

Length: 57,000 words approx.

Cover Design: Rêverie Design & Formatting

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Blurb

The past few years have been a bit chaotic for Cougars new associate coach, Lancaster Hart. After an amiable divorce he began living his life as the gay man he’d kept closeted for far too long.

With the recent move to Cayuga, he’s away from his support system and properly made sweet tea. Despite a roster filled with new friends and associates, he’s spending his nights alone.

As his team gears up to make a run at the Calder Cup, Lancaster discovers that not everything in upstate New York is wine, woodlands, and chilly conservative ideals.

At a summer music festival, he first lays eyes on Townsend Harris, folksy/blues singer by night and mayoral office assistant by day. Lancaster is enraptured with the man’s powerful sultry voice. Also, Town just might be the most beautiful man he has seen in all his forty-one years.

The two hit it off at an informal meet and greet after the show, where they spend the night talking and sipping wine. One evening of conversation and an incendiary goodbye kiss leads them into a scorching love affair that might be exactly what Lancaster has been searching for his whole life.

Can his team pull off professionally what he’s hoping to do privately as well? Or will capturing their dream evade both the Cougars and Lancaster?

Cayuga Cougars Series

Book #1 – Snap Shot – Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book #2 – Open Net – Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book #3 – Coach’s Challenge – Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book #4 – Overtime – Amazon US | Amazon UK

V.L. Locey loves worn jeans, yoga, belly laughs, Doctor Who, Torchwood, walking, reading and writing lusty tales, Greek mythology, the New York Rangers, comic books, and coffee. (Not necessarily in that order.)

She shares her life with her husband, her daughter, one dog, two cats, two Jersey steers and a flock of assorted domestic fowl.

When not writing lusty tales, she can be found enjoying her day with her menagerie in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania with a cup of fresh java in hand.

 


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Release Blitz: Inside Out by Aimee Nicole Walker

Inside Out | Aimee Nicole Walker

A Road To Blissville Story #6

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MM ROMANCE

RELEASE DATE: TBD

COVER ARTIST: Jay Aheer/Simply Defined Art

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BLURB

Romeo Bradly and Julius Shepherd moved to Blissville for the same reason: a fresh start. Romeo was looking for a school district where he could make a real impact in the lives of students and faculty, and Julius was eager to teach one of his passions to the best and brightest at a school with a nationally ranked science program.

But the sleepy little town offered them much more than they’d bargained for—quirky people, unlikely friendships, and an all-consuming attraction that turns them inside out.

When unexpected circumstances threaten to cancel the school play, Romeo’s theater background and Julius’s musical expertise make them the perfect pair to save the day. Working together so closely makes it harder for the men to ignore their growing feelings. After all, the heart knows what it wants and doesn’t care about age gaps, race, or a professional conflict of interest.

Romeo and Julius will learn that they have far more in common than they realize, and their differences will make them stronger if they give love a chance.

Their commitment to each other and the play will be tested when outside forces target them as a couple and exert pressure to cancel the production. Romeo and Julius vow to prove their love can conquer any challenge and will burn strong well beyond the curtain call.

Inside Out is a whimsical, May/December romance featuring a man learning to love again and a man falling in love for the first time.

It is the sixth book in the Road to Blissville series and can be read as a standalone book or part of the series. This book contains sexually explicit material and is intended for adults 18 and older.

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EXCERPT

I couldn’t contain my laughter if someone offered me a million dollars. Luckily, Rome laughed right along with me instead of getting pissed. How could he not? It was fucking hilarious.

“But wait! There’s more,” he said, sounding like an infomercial. “At my old high school, one of the boys bragged to his buddies in the hallway that he received a hummer the night before, and I heartily congratulated the kid and gave him a fist bump. It was much later that I realized he was talking about getting a blow job and not a new SUV.”

“I…can’t…” I laughed until I gasped for air and tears ran down my face.

“Do you realize we spend as much time laughing together as we do anything else?” Rome asked when the laughter started to fade. “It’s so wonderful I’m not even mad that it’s at my expense most of the time.”

No one affected me the way he did. I laughed harder, my heart beat faster, and my senses were heightened until he was all I could taste, feel, see, and hear. Just him. I cupped his handsome face and stroked my thumb over his square jawline. “There’s nothing I would change about us, Rome. Nothing.”

He leaned into my touch, closed his eyes, and sighed. It felt like he truly believed we could have something real and sustaining for the first time. When he opened his eyes, I knew I was right. No doubt. No hesitation. Only soul-deep gratification. “Me either.”

aimee nicole walker logo

I am a wife and mother to three kids, three dogs, and a cat. When I’m not dreaming up stories, I like to lose myself in a good book, cook or bake. I’m a girly tomboy

who paints her fingernails while watching sports and yelling at the referees.

I will always choose the book over the movie. I believe in happily-ever-after. Love inspires everything that I do. Music keeps me sane.

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Release Blitz: How Not To Blend by Susan Hawke

How Not To Blend | Susan Hawke

Lovestrong #1

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GAY ROMANCE – RELEASE DATE: 13.01.19

http://mybook.to/LOVESTRONG-ONE/

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BLURB

One clueless single dad…

Dr. Corbin Davis is a busy guy just trying to do his best as a single parent. He may be oblivious to a lot of things, but surely he would’ve noticed something as important as his fifteen-year-old son, Grayson, being bullied, right? And what the heck is non-binary, and why hasn’t Gray shared this all-important part of himself with his own dad?

Plus one sassy Southerner…

Andy Ferguson, or Kandi as the Thursday night drag community knows him, is just trying to get along in a small town and hold things together while he takes care of his beloved Gam-Gam. If she’d just get off his back about finding himself a man, that would be fantastic, thank you very much. He’ll get around to love… one of these days.

Equals a pair of fake-boyfriends who will keep you in stitches.

When Corb gets the wild idea to ask Andy to pose as his boyfriend to let Gray know that his dad is bisexual and open-minded enough to talk to about his nonbinary status, Andy is amused and just intrigued enough to say yes… especially since he seems to be in the market for a fake boyfriend himself, if it will get Gam-Gam to quit nagging.

This is the first book in the LOVESTRONG series about finding love and being yourself in a small town. Intended only for 18+ readers, this is an mm romance filled with all the fun, fluff, and feels you’d want from an S. Hawke book.

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EXCERPT

I looked around the nearly empty diner, my eyes roaming over the faded artwork on the wall, the cracked Formica tabletop, the scarred linoleum, the selection of pies spinning around inside the rotating display case—yeah, I was pretty much looking at anything other than the delicious specimen of masculinity sitting across from me.

After our waitress dropped off the slices of cherry pie we’d ordered when we’d been seated and filled our cups with a substance resembling coffee, I had no choice but to find my balls and face him. When I looked up, I found Corbin watching me with a bemused smile. I bit my lip almost shyly before speaking. “What? Does it weird you out to be around me now that you know about my alter ego?”

Corbin shook his head as he picked up his fork and cut into his pie. “No, it’s stranger to be sitting here with the guy who serves my morning coffee than it was to watch you in drag. Thank you, by the way, for taking the time to do this with me.”

My nerves faded as we began to talk. “No trouble. If I’m being honest…” I leaned forward with a conspiratorial smile. “I work up quite an appetite when I do my routine. A little pie and coffee will hit the spot right now. If we weren’t here, I would’ve been heading home with a rumbly tummy. Maybe you’re the one doing me the favor, if you think about it. Speaking of favors, what was it you wanted from me? Nick mentioned something about your kid?”

Corbin dropped his fork with a clatter, leaning back in the booth and dropping his hands to his lap. “I feel really stupid now that we’re sitting here. I don’t want you to think that I’m an idiot or something.”

I cocked my head to the side, gazing at him curiously. “Why would you ever think that? Now you have to tell me what’s up; I’ll curl up and die of curiosity if you don’t.”

Puffing his cheeks out, Corbin blew out a breath and gave a slight nod. “You noticed my son’s black eye the other day, remember? So it turns out that he’s being bullied because he identifies as enby—that’s short for nonbinary. Have you heard of that?” He paused and waited while I resisted the urge to say duh and simply nodded instead as I took a bite of pie.

Corbin blew out another breath, raking a hand through his short hair. “I don’t know why I thought that a drag queen might have any clue about what an enby might be dealing with, but I was hoping to pick your brain about it and… I don’t know… maybe get some makeup tips or something?”

I resisted the urge to laugh—almost. Corbin chuckled when he saw the suppressed laughter in my eyes and I couldn’t help but laugh along with him.

“Yeah, I definitely don’t identify as anything other than masculine. I can see where people might be confused since I do tend to be flamboyant and glamorous in my daily life, but you have to understand me when I tell you that I don’t identify as anything other than a cisgender man. Drag is just a way for me to let my hair down and get into my creative side. I’m sure it could be confusing, from the outside looking in. My drag mama is an old-school gender-bender type of queen. He doesn’t bother to shave his thick stubble or his hairy, manly chest—even when he is in full-on Honey Combover regalia.”

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As an avid reader and big romance fan myself, I love sharing the stories of the different people who live in my imagination. My stories are filled with humor, a few tears, and the underlying message to not give up hope, even in the darkest of times, because life can change on a dime when you least expect it.

This theme comes from a lifetime of lessons learned on my own hard journey through the pains of poverty, the loss of more loved ones than I’d care to count, and the struggles of living through chronic illnesses. Life can be hard, but it can also be good! Through it all I’ve found that love, laughter, and family can make all the difference, and that’s what I try to bring to every tale I tell.

I’m a happily married mom with one snarky teenage boy, and three grown “kids of my heart.” I’m more widely known for my mPreg writings as Susi Hawke; this new name is a departure from that.

Whether written by Susan or Susi, the books are filled with that all-important love, laughter, and family I mentioned; the only difference is that this name has no male pregnancy. I look forward to sharing my stories with you, and to bringing more romance and laughter into this world that needs it so very badly.

Amazon Author: https://amzn.to/2Hdgwvl

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

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Release Blitz: Out in the Offense by Lane Hayes

Out in the Offense | Lane Hayes

Out in College #3

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MM ROMANCE

RELEASE DATE: 06.01.19

COVER ARTIST: REESE DANTE

BUY LINKS:

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BLURB

Christian Rafferty is a talented quarterback with a big secret. He’s determined to make the most of his final season on the football field, and if possible, avoid any confrontations with his conservative parents about his future.

It shouldn’t be difficult; he’s become adept at keeping his public and private lives separate. However, when a math class threatens to derail his plans to graduate on time, he realizes he may need outside help.

Rory Kirkland has a reputation for being a tough guy. He’s a former wrestler and recent college graduate who needs a real job. Until he finds one, tutoring is a decent temporary gig. Luckily, his brain is his biggest asset. Rory is a genius.

He credits his sport for helping him deal with angst and rumors about his sexuality when he was younger, but he doesn’t care what others think anymore. He likes his new status as an out and proud bi man; and he recognizes something of himself in Christian. But Rory didn’t count on falling for him.

When an unlikely friendship collides with intense attraction, both men begin to realize that coming out on offense just might be the surest path to love.

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EXCERPT

“You don’t want to hear about my game or the stupid college parties I went to, so let’s talk statistics.”I tapped the cover of the textbook meaningfully.

“We’ll get there. Did you win?”

“Yeah, it was a blowout.”

“Sorry, the acoustics in here are whack. Did you say you got a blowjob?”

I snickered, then sat back and twisted the straw in my to-go cup. “Unfortunately, no.”

Rory tsked. “Too bad, my friend.”

“Did you?”

“Yep. I want to brag and tell you it was amazing, but it wasn’t all that special. I was horny. He was willing.…You know the story.”

“Yeah, I think it’s called a short story with a happy ending,”I joked.

“Ha! Exactly. That’s what happens when you go lookin’ for love in da club. Everyone’s out for a quick fix. Sounds perfect until it’s over ten minutes later. Then you gotta deal with the uncomfortable ‘Did we really just do that?’aftermath. Not so fun. Enjoy college life while you can. This adult business sucks,”he huffed humorlessly. “And yeah, I took Spanish in school and my brother speaks it. I know enough to hold a short conversation. That’s about it. Why’d you ask?”

I frowned. “I don’t know.”

Rory gave me a patient look. “Talk to me, Christian. We covered Basic BS 101. You told me you won your game and went to a coupla boring parties. I told you I went to WeHo with some friends. Now I’m backtracking to your question about whether or not I speak Spanish ’cause I’m polite like that. Plus it was a weird one. Why’d you want to know?”

“Your tattoo,”I replied, gesturing at his wrist.

Rory turned his palms over for me to inspect. “They’re lines from a Pablo Neruda poem. This one says, ‘En mí todo ese fuego se repite’ and this says, ‘En mí nada se apaga ni se olvida.’The translation is, ‘In me all this fire is repeated’ and ‘In me nothing is extinguished or forgotten.’The poem is called ‘If You Forget Me,’and it’s poignant as fuck. If you don’t know it, look it up.”

“I will. That’s cool.”And “poignant as fuck,”as he so eloquently put it. “But what does it mean to you?”I asked.

“That goes a little beyond water-cooler talk, QB. We’ll save it for when and if we get to know each other well enough to tell secrets,”he said, winking to take the sting from his words.

I nodded in understanding but instead of pulling away, I absently reached out to touch the script. Then I looked into his eyes, and I could have sworn I saw the tiniest crack in his armor before an invisible shield fell into place. In that fraction of a second, a silent communication passed between us. He’d been through hard times and he’d emerged…possibly stronger than ever. I was curious for sure, but there was no way to politely ask his story, so I inclined my head and switched gears.

“Did you study poetry in college?”

“No.”Rory sat back and eyed me for a long moment before continuing. “Are you ready to tackle stats now?”

I slumped in my chair with a theatrical sigh and gave myself a mental high five when he chuckled at my antics. “Ready as I’ll ever be.”

“I’ll go easy on you. I’ve got a feeling this is gonna hurt me more than it’ll hurt you,” he snarked.

I chuckled at the playful innuendo as I leaned forward, intent on giving him one hundred percent of my attention for as long as I could possibly stand it.

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Lane Hayes is grateful to finally be doing what she loves best. Writing full-time! It’s no secret Lane loves a good romance novel. An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters.

These days she prefers the leading roles to both be men. Lane discovered the M/M genre a few years ago and was instantly hooked.

Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions, and were winners in the 2016 Rainbow Awards.

She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in an almost empty nest.

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Cover Reveal: I Wished For You by Colette Davison

I Wished For You | Colette Davison

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Cover Artist: Designs by Dana

Genre/s: mmm, contemporary, romance

Release Date: January 22, 2019

Heat Rating: 4 flames

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Blurb

Since childhood, their friendship has been steadfast; falling in love will test that bond.

Three wishes.

Seb wants to be happy.

Matt wants to find ‘the one.’

Connor wants them.

Two drunken kisses.

Seb didn’t plan to kiss Matt and Connor, but he doesn’t regret it, even if it has changed their friendship forever.

Matt has never considered dating a man before, let alone two. Despite his confusion, being with Seb and Connor feels right.

One uncertain future.

Connor’s potential fate has stopped him living and loving. Can he face his fears to be with the men he loves?

Excerpt

“Wow,” Matt breathed as a shooting star shot across the now dark sky, trailing a tail of light behind it.

“That’s awesome,” Seb said. “Hey, aren’t you meant to wish on shooting stars or something?”

Matt stood, watching the sky intently. He’d finished his second can of beer and started on his third before he saw another shooting star.

“I wish I could find the one,” he yelled at the star.

Anything was worth a shot. Every girl he’d dated had held the promise of being the one, but every relationship had fizzled out within weeks or months. He was getting close to believing he’d permanently be shut in the friend zone by every woman he knew.

“My turn,” Seb said, leaping up to stand beside Matt. “Find me a star.”

“There might not be any more,” Connor pointed out.

A glance over his shoulder told Matt that Connor was still sitting, nursing a can of beer in his cupped hands. With their breath frosting on the air in front of them, Matt and Seb kept a fierce watch on the sky.

“There,” Matt said, pointing towards the far right as a star shot across the darkness.

“I wish to be happy again,” Seb yelled.

Matt turned to Connor. “It’s your turn.”

Connor shook his head.

“Why not?”

Connor met Matt’s curious stare. “I’ve already had one wish come true. I figure I’d be pushing my luck to make a second.”

Matt’s eyebrows shot up. “Oh? Do we get to know what this wish of yours was?”

Pink splashed across Connor’s nose and cheeks. He looked down, mumbling his answer. “I wished for friends. Someone I could count on. I met the two of you right after.”

Matt’s chest clenched. He tried to speak, but his voice stuck fast in his throat.

“Really?” Seb asked, staring intently at Connor as he sat in the middle chair.

Connor lifted his eyes again, staring at Seb and then at Matt. “Yeah.” He looked to the sky. “I mean… it was probably a coincidence, but I wished for you, and there you were.”

Tears stung Matt’s eyes. He ran his hand over them and down his face, sniffing loudly. “Well, fuck, Con…” He wasn’t even sure what it was he wanted to say. “I’m glad we met you, too,” he managed. “I’m glad we could help you when you needed us.”

“You still do,” Connor said softly. “Every day.”

“Okay, shut the fuck up now,” Matt said, trying not to cry. He flopped into the third chair. “I’m not nearly drunk enough to be getting this sentimental. More booze!”

Seb handed him a full can, and together, they sat and watched the occasional light show of falling stars as they drank into the night.

About the Author

Colette’s personal love story began at university, where she met her future husband. An evening of flirting, in the shadow of Lancaster castle, eventually led to a fairytale wedding. She’s enjoying her own ‘happy ever after’ in the north of England with her husband, two beautiful children and her writing.

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Release Blitz: Awakenings & French Songs by Nell Iris

Awakenings & French Songs | Nell Iris

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Buy Links:

Amazon US | Amazon UK | JMS 

Length: 11,000 words approx.

Publisher: JMS Books 

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Blurb

Iggy Wilker never expected his 36th birthday to turn into an existential crisis.

When Iggy’s friends celebrate him with his usual favorite pastime – drinking, dancing, and willing guys – he suddenly wants nothing to do with any of it. He’s fed up and ready for something else. The question is what?

Ronan Clenney has had his eye on his neighbor forever, but as a single father of a precocious eleven-year-old, he’s never believed he stands a chance. But over a late night cup of tea, it seems circumstances have changed.

Is this the right time, finally?

Iggy has never believed in romance, but can Ronan show him he’s wrong? That love is a real thing?

Excerpt

“Iggy?” A slow smile blooms on his face and his eyes brighten. “What are you doing up this early? What happened to no knocking on my door before ten on weekends, young Miss Emery?” he asks, imitating my words perfectly.

“I grew old, that’s what happened.”

“Awww. Poor Iggy.”

“Hey! Be nice or I won’t share my breakfast.” I hold up the bags to show him what he’d be missing.

His eyebrows shoot to the heavens. “You brought breakfast?”

“Um, yeah. You gonna let me in, or …?”

“Of course. You just about shocked me to death, that’s all.” He pretends to clutch his pearls.

“That seems to be my theme this week,” I mutter and follow him to the kitchen.

“I was just about to start breakfast –” he points at a carton of eggs, “– but I guess I don’t have to?”

“Nope. Coffee would be good though. I didn’t buy any.”

“Sure.” He leans over to the machine and pushes the button. “All done.” He grins at me and takes a seat at the table. “Show me what you got.”

He watches as I unload my purchases. Baguettes. Croissants. Pain au chocolat. A box of pastel colored macarons I bought only because they’re so pretty and I thought Emery would appreciate the pinks and purples and yellows. Three tiny, fancy-looking jars of French jam; black cherry, fig and walnut, and raspberry. And finally, a box of huge, dark red strawberries the bakery sold for some unknown reason.

Ronan’s mouth falls open as he takes in everything. “What brought this on?”

I take my usual spot at the table. “I’ve had that song on my mind ever since the other night. I have no idea what it’s called or what the guy was singing about, but I haven’t been able to get it out of my head. So when I walked past Knead It and they had a French flag hanging in the window, I couldn’t help myself.”

“Which song?”

I hum a few bars, hoping I don’t butcher it too much so he won’t recognize it, but he nods.

“‘Ne me quitte pas’ by Jacques Brel.”

I repeat the title in a terrible French accent. “What does it mean?”

“It means ‘Don’t leave me.’”

His words make my heart stutter in my chest. “It’s great. So emotional,” I rasp out.

“I didn’t know you were a fan of old French songs.”

“I’m not. But it’s really beautiful.” The explanation feels inadequate, but I don’t know how to express myself better.

He doesn’t talk for several seconds, and then he says, “Huh.” His gaze is full of questions he’s not asking, and he doesn’t let up the intense scrutiny for even a moment. Inside, I’m squirming like a maggot on a fish hook, but I hope I manage to present a calm exterior.

For the first time ever, things are weird between us. The conversation is stilted, and the silences awkward. I know why, of course. By showing up like this, I changed the dynamics of our relationship. I’ve never been one for socializing in the mornings. And while I’ve brought the occasional pizza or six-pack, I’ve never brought anything like this before. Something meaningful. Something that shows I’ve been thinking about him and the time we spent together. Something serious.

I can’t blame him for wondering what’s going on. He listens to that French stuff all the time and I’m sure he’s played that song a million times before, but it’s like I heard it for the very first time on Wednesday.

I can’t stand his close examination any longer, so I get up and start setting the table with plates and cups and cutlery. “What’s the deal with you and all the French stuff anyway?” I ask with my head buried in the refrigerator, looking for butter and something for Emery to drink since she’s not allowed coffee.

“My grandmother was from France. She always used to sing the old songs to me and teach me the lyrics.”

I place a cutting board and a bread knife on the table. “Oh. What was her name?”

“Celeste.”

“That’s a beautiful name.”

“Yes.”

I look around for something else to do. “Do you speak French?”

“Iggy?”

I gulp, knowing what’s coming. “Yes?” Reluctantly, I retake my seat at the table.

“Why are you really here?” His voice is soft and caring and I’ve heard him use the same tone when he speaks to Emery about important matters.

I line up the jam jars in a perfect row, needing something to do with my hands. “I … uh … want to spend more time with you and Emery.”

Nell Iris is a romantic at heart who believes everyone deserves a happy ending. She’s a bona fide bookworm (learned to read long before she started school), wouldn’t dream of going anywhere without something to read (not even the ladies’ room), loves music (and singing along but, let’s face it, she’s no Celine Dion), and is a real Star Trek nerd (“Make it so”). She loves words, poetry, wine, and Sudoku, and absolutely adores elephants!

Nell believes passionately in equality for all regardless of race, gender, or sexuality, and wants to make the world a better, less hateful, place.

Nell is a forty-something bisexual Swedish woman, married to the love of her life, and a proud mama of a grown daughter. She left the Scandinavian cold and darkness for warmer and sunnier Malaysia a few years ago, and now spends her days writing, surfing the Internet, enjoying the heat, and eating good food. One day she decided to chase her lifelong dream of being a writer, sat down in front of her laptop, and wrote a story about two men falling in love.

Nell Iris writes gay romance, prefers sweet over angst, and wants to write diverse and different characters.

Email contact@nelliris.com

Web www.nelliris.com

Twitter @nellirisauthor

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Book Blitz: Professional Courtesy by J.V. Speyer

Professional Courtesy | J.V. Speyer

Publication date: December 21st 2018

Genres: Adult, Contemporary, LGBTQ+, Romance

This is the story of two college professors who share an office and not much else – until the holiday season works its magic.

Eric’s semester hasn’t been going all that well. Not only have renovations to the English Department’s physical space forced him to share an office with the department’s newest faculty member, Mike Kistler, his mother showed up at the beginning of the semester with all her worldly possessions and a U-Haul.

It’s not that he doesn’t care for his mother, but she’s disruptive. She keeps wanting to honor traditions they never cared about when he was growing up, starting with the giant antique advent calendar she dragged over from her parents’ house in Hamburg.

Eric has a solution, though. He might not have much interest in his mom’s traditions, but his irritating office mate does. He’ll bring Kistler over, and his mom will have someone who cares, and someone to speak German with, and Eric will be left alone to grade papers in peace.

Mike is the rising star of the English Department. He’s worked damn hard to get from homeless teen to young PhD, he’s proud of his accomplishment, and he loves to give back. He likes his work. He could live without his office mate, who’s attractive but stuffier than an overfull burrito.

He’s shocked when Eric invites him to help his mother celebrate Advent, but intrigued by the old traditions. And it’s been more than ten years since he’s had anything like a family to celebrate anything with, so he agrees.

Moving from a cramped office to a family setting shifts things for Eric and Mike, and they start to see each other through different eyes.

Can they find love, or will old family issues keep them apart forever?

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EXCERPT:

“Hey,” he said in a feather-soft voice, one calculated to not wake Suzanne. “I wanted to say thanks for last night, but you were gone. Want me to make you breakfast instead?”

Eric could see, in Mike’s eyes, exactly how he’d wanted to thank him for last night. He could see the possibilities for the future stretching out in front of them. His chest hurt as he looked away. “Actually, I think they’ve gotten the roads clear. I’d better take you home.”

Eric heard Mike’s clothes rustle as his posture changed. He stood straighter. His whole body stiffened. Eric couldn’t make himself look at Mike’s beautiful face, but he heard the unmistakable chill in his voice when he said, “I see. Okay, then, let me grab my bag.” He moved swiftly and silently into the guest room to grab his things. A few moments later, he was back, his coat and shoes at the ready.

Eric bit his lip to keep from screaming. He had to do this. If he had to do it, why did it hurt so much? He grabbed his keys and his coat, and they headed over to the garage together in silence. Comm Ave was indeed clear, so Eric pulled out and got them onto the road.

“We shouldn’t have done that,” he said, once they were on their way toward Allston. “I enjoyed it. It might have the best night of my life. But we — I — shouldn’t have done it.”

Mike pressed his lips together. He stared straight out the windshield, without looking directly at Eric. Eric couldn’t tell if he was angry or hurt. He had every right to be either. “Well, we work together. So, I guess that makes sense.” He took a deep breath.

“That’s not it.” Eric gripped the steering wheel a little tighter. “It’s just… my mom. I know she’s nice to you and all that, but she’s never accepted my sexuality. When I came out they didn’t kick me out or anything, but they did tell me ‘not in our house.’ And this is her house now.”

“Okay.” Mike considered. “And you’ve made your choice. I’m not going to try to argue with you or change your mind. But it seems to me like your mother wasn’t very subtle about leaving us alone together last night.”

Eric choked on his own breath. “She didn’t mean it like that. Oh God. Not at all. Not even a little bit. I’ve known her a long time and her brain doesn’t work like that. She doesn’t think that way.” He fought down his nausea. It might have been nice if Mike at least tried to convince him to stick around, but Eric knew it would only be to flatter his ego. Eric didn’t deserve to have his ego puffed by anyone, least of all Mike. Not today.

“She’s your mom.” Mike turned his head to look out the window. His tone was resigned. “Thanks for everything, I guess. I’ll see you when the new semester starts up.”

“You’re not coming over next week?”

“Don’t you think that’s a little much to ask?”

“Yeah.” Eric slouched in his seat. “It is. Mike, I’m sorry. I really am. I just—”

Mike held up his hand. He looked exhausted. “Don’t. Please. Just… just don’t.”

“Okay.” Eric bowed his head and kept driving.

Mike’s street still hadn’t been plowed. It might not be plowed for days. Eric stopped the car at the end of his street and bit his lip again. “Is there someplace else I can take you, someplace you can go?”

Mike shook his head. “I’ll be fine. See you in January.” He hopped out of the car and climbed up onto the snowbank before Eric could argue. Eric couldn’t blame him. He’d want to get away as fast as he could too, if he were in the same position.

He drove home as quickly as he could. He hoped to get in before his mother got up, but she was already making breakfast by the time he walked in the door. She stared in surprise. “Eric, where did you go? I was just making breakfast for you and Michael! I’ve got bacon, and pancakes, and I’ve started the coffee. How late does he usually sleep?”

“I have no idea.” Eric hung his coat up. “He didn’t sleep very late today. I just dropped him off at home. He had papers he needed to correct. You know how it is.” His voice shocked him with its raspiness.

She stared at him for a moment. “I’m surprised he made you go out in all this. He seems like such a nice young man.”

“Oh, he didn’t ask me to. I noticed how nervous he was and I offered.” Eric squirmed. He hated lying to his mother. “It’s his first job as a professor, you know? He doesn’t want to feel like he’s slacking. I wasn’t much different.”

“I suppose.” She gave him a long, measuring look, and then she shrugged. “Well, this is a lot of bacon. I suppose we can use it in sandwiches, or quiches.”

Eric tried to choke down the breakfast his mother has gone to so much trouble for, but he couldn’t make much headway. When he’d done what he could, he excused himself and retreated to his room. There, he could indulge himself in a good cry.

He’d done the right thing. He knew he had. He just wished doing the right thing didn’t hurt so much.

Author Bio:

J. V. Speyer has lived in upstate New York and rural Catalonia before making the greater Boston, Massachusetts area her permanent home.

She has worked in archaeology, security, accountancy, finance, and non-profit management.

She currently lives just south of Boston in a house old enough to remember when her town was a tavern community with a farming problem.

J. V. finds most of her inspiration from music. Her tastes run the gamut from traditional to industrial and back again. When not writing she can usually be found enjoying a baseball game or avoiding direct sunlight. She’s learning to crochet so she can make blankets to fortify herself against the cold.

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