Category Archives: Release Publicity: LGBTQ+

Book Blast: Apple Boy by Isobel Starling

Apple Boy | Isobel Starling

The Quiet Work Series #1

Publisher: Decent Fellows Press

Cover Artist: Valentine Pascadian (Lennel)

Genre/s: Fantasy, MM, Romance

Heat Rating: 3 flames

Length:103 600 words/ 556 pages

Release Date: February 15, 2019

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Buy Links

Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US | Amazon UK

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Blurb

After a traumatic event, Winter Aeling finds himself destitute and penniless in the backwater town of Mallowick. He needs to travel to the city of Serein and impart grave news that will bring war to the Empire, but without a horse, money, and with not a soul willing to help him, he has no choice but to line up with the common folk seeking paid work on the harvest.

As wagons roll into the market square and farmers choose day laborers, Winter is singled out for abuse by a brute of a farmer. The only man who stands up for him is the farmer’s beguiling son, Adam, and on locking eyes with the swarthy young man Winter feels the immediate spark of attraction.

Winter soon realizes there is a reason he has been drawn to Blackdown Farm. The farmer possesses a precious item that was stolen long ago from Winter’s family, and he determines to retrieve it.

He also cannot take his eyes off the farmer’s son, and as the young man opens up Winter can’t help wondering if Adam is just kind or his kind!

Excerpt

“Apple Boy” by Isobel Starling

CHAPTER 1

MARKET SQUARE

“You boy, aye, YOU. Ain’t never seen ye round ‘ere before,” The farmer directed his bellow at me.

It was sunrise, and at last, I’d found the courage to step out of my hiding place and join the common laborers who gathered in Mallowick market square. We were waiting for the farmers’ carts to come by and choose their day workers. I’d watched this ritual each morning for the past three days, peeking out from shadowed doorways, or while crouching behind barrels.

It was harvest time, and it appeared to be routine for peasants to walk from the surrounding hamlets before dawn and assemble in the square to seek work on the farms. There was wheat, barley, root vegetables, and tree fruits to be gathered before the weather turned. I was informed by a ruddy looking fellow in the tavern that anyone could get work on the harvest, and so, with my pride cut to ribbons and my pockets empty, I’d stepped out of the safety of my hiding place and joined the commoners.

“Does ye wants work or no’? Look at me when I’m talkin’ to ye. What’s yer name?” The burley farmer roared. I looked up, stunned to be singled out from among all of these strapping men and hardy looking women, for I felt invisible. Four carts had already passed and taken their pick of the young, strong peasants, but none of those farmers gave me a second glance. I should have known something was afoot, for when this particular wagon turned up the women in the square shrank back into doorways, and men sidled away to lean against buildings. On the side of the wagon, writ-large in bold off-white letters were the words BLACKDOWN FARM. There were around thirty of us left on view, like cattle.

I had never partaken in manual labor or any kind of work before. I was a gentleman and far more familiar with spending my days relaxing, reading, attending social events in the city, or taking a horse for a gallop in the country. But my life had changed since I’d become stranded here in the Pasturelands provincial town of Mallowick two weeks earlier. Now I was living on my wits. Each day was a fight for my life, and I’d sold all of my fine belongings, intending to pay for passage on the stagecoach from Mallowick to the city of Serein. But I had not thought things through, and it did not happen that way. My body’s needs took precedent. I’d become so ravenous, and therefore the meager coin I’d gathered from selling my finery was spent on what I could afford—basic rough barley bread and ale, just enough to stave off the gnawing pangs of hunger in my belly each day.

Now, I had no belongings, and the money was all but gone. I was no thief, and the only thing I had left to sell was my body. Looking like a wretch, I did not believe I could earn even a copper that way! Before I left on my travels, I was warned that the province of Erias had strict rules about men bedding other men and I did not want to tempt fate. I was at a loss—hard labor or starvation were the only choices available to me. Gods, if my father could see how far I’d fallen in such a short time, he would be thoroughly ashamed. I was living hand-to-mouth, and if I dared to seek out my reflection and observe my disreputable state of dress, I was sure I would see I was no longer a gentleman at all.

I assured myself that all would be well as soon as I could get to the city of Serein. There I would attend my father’s depository and obtain funds from his account—as had been arranged, and then, I could find my way to my uncle’s residence and attend to a much grimmer business.

So, with no other choice, I was here, standing in Mallowick market square with a bunch of rough-looking fellows and ruddy-faced women with just the ragged clothes I stood in to my name. I wondered if my visage had taken on the same gaunt, starved, haunted look some of them wore.

“WELL?” The farmer roared.

“Leave him be Pa; I think he’s a mute. P… p… please don’t—” A swarthy young man urged, stepping to the farmers’ side. The man appeared to be in his early twenties, with broad angular shoulders, slim hips, and wavy jaw-length hair that longingly reminded me of Montestein tea. When the morning sunlight broke through the clouds and caressed him, the strands of his hair revealed all the shades of autumn. It was beautiful. His eyes were bright emerald green, and his skin bore the wind-burned tan of a man who spent his days working the land. I met his gaze for a second that seemed to stop time, and I felt a flutter of longing erupt in my gut. I found myself mesmerized by him. He appeared a little embarrassed, for himself or for me, I wasn’t quite sure. The farmer turned to his son.

“Shut that filthy mouth o’ yours, apple boy!” he spat. His large meaty hands twitched. He sneered and glared at his son in such a wicked way I knew it should have been followed up by a sharp slap. I worried that the young man would endure further public humiliation at the hands of his father, but the farmer moved his disdainful glare back to me. I shuddered with fear. I had a feeling that he was saving his son’s punishment for later—away from the prying eyes of the townsfolk. I did not like that thought, not one bit. I did not know why the farmer was drawn to me, but he sized me up with a sweeping glance of consideration, then wrinkled his nose as if he’d sniffed a revolting stench—I hadn’t bathed in two weeks, so maybe I did smell a tad ripe!

“Is ye a mute?”

I shook my head. I would say, if anything, I was deeply traumatized by the unfortunate circumstance I’d found myself in, but no, I was certainly not a mute. I just wasn’t used to a lowly man speaking to me so roughly. Generally, men who dared to address me knew their betters and behaved appropriately. But here in Mallowick, in the province of Erias, I was no better than a beggar on the street. There was no one I could call on for favors, no one who, on hearing my family name, would loan me coin for the stagecoach or a horse to ride to the city and send word to my father.

When I’d first arrived in Mallowick, telling the truth of my station had gotten me dragged down an alley where my finger and earrings were stolen, and I’d received a beating. This farmer from Blackdown Farm had no idea who I was, and I would not make the same mistake again.

I took a breath and stepped out of line. “Master Irwin Harding, sir. You may call me Win.” I winced at hearing my own soft, well-spoken voice, with my accent, the clipped tongue of Thorn. I had not used my real name and wished I had not used my true voice either. The fact that I was the son of the Duke of Thorn meant nothing here. Thorn was west of Erias, on the other side of the Silua Montis Mountain range, and I doubted any of these illiterate souls in Mallowick knew anything other than that folklore passed around by storytellers.

The farmer stepped to stand in front of me. He was a big, bulky bastard of a man and stank of stale sweat and baccy. He had a grizzled podgy face and thick dark hair shot with strands of silver pulled into an untidy tail. The tension grew between us, and I worried I’d spoken out of turn. I looked down and watched my bare, filthy feet as if they held endless fascination. I’d seen men like him before. He had hands like shovels, and I’m sure they’d done damage in their time. My father would have used a man like him well, probably as muscle to intimidate the city folk while the Royal Chancellor did the rounds collecting taxes.

Afraid and sweating with anxiety, I glanced up and away, unable to look at the farmer directly and meet his fierce piggy eyes. Instead, I looked left and caught the eye of his son. I felt another flutter of attraction. I was grateful for it because it dampened my fear a little. The glance the farmers’ son sent me back was sheepish, apologetic. He shrugged and put a finger to his lips, signaling for me to hush. I’m sure now he knew what was coming.

Master, is it?” The farmer gave a raspy malevolent chuckle. “Well, well, well aren’t ye an uppity little scrote. Such a pretty voice an’ all. Have your balls dropped yet, lad?”

The townsmen men standing around me shuffled on their feet and snickered uncomfortably. I could tell from the tentative laughter they were afraid of this man too. My chest tightened with fury, and I felt the flare of heat rush to color my cheeks. If in Thorn I would have put this fellow in his place, but as directed by the farmers’ handsome son, I held my tongue.

I dared to look up as the farmer scratched his grizzled chin and consider me. It was then I saw it. A chill iced my bones. On his chubby right index finger, he wore a gold ring set with a large red gemstone that I was aghast to see held the intaglio engraving of a rose thorn—my family’s seal. How had this disgusting Pasturelands farmer come upon my family’s ring? Anger curdled my gut, but I forced myself to focus and fixed my features so as not to alert the man to what I was looking at. That ring was more precious than I could say. It was not set with any common gemstone, oh no, the setting was Star-fall. The legend was that mortal tools could not cut the rich-red Star-fall stone. The gemstone was shaped by sorcery, and the power that carved into the gem was stored inside it as if the Star-fall was a reservoir for the magic. It was illegal for any other than the Twin Kings of Osia to own Star-fall. The king’s men had scoured the Empire to remove all traces of the priceless gem from common and aristocratic hands and possessing it was a death sentence. Did this ruffian have any idea what he wore?

Not getting a rise from me, the farmer stepped yet closer and found out for himself if my balls had dropped. He reached for my privates and squeezed.

Ahh, ye got some big stones de’re al’right, boy,” he said with a filthy sneer.

“Done any labourin’ before, lad?” My eyes watered. I shook my head and winced as the pressure on my most sensitive parts rose. I wanted to shout and push him away, punch him in that bristly pug face. I’d trained in hand-to-hand combat and swordplay, but that was of little use to me now that I had no sword and was cast as naught but a commoner myself. I stood frozen to the spot with fear, my cock, and balls in the hand of this brutish man. I was sure that clutching my nethers was not the best way to test if I would be a good apple picker.

The farmer let go, stepped back, and looked me over again like he was sizing up a prize pig. I wanted to keel over, hold my sensitive parts and howl, but, with my eyes watering, I kept my back ramrod straight and looked past the farmer, using his son’s regretful, pretty green eyes as my focus.

I appeared to be a boy, but I am nineteen and about to make my majority. I have a tall, willowy frame, and little muscle to show for my near twenty summers. Weeks before, I was clothed in the silken garb of a lordling, but all I wore now were my stinky silk britches and a once-white linen shirt. I’d even had to sell my fine leather boots. My flaxen hair hung loosely to my shoulders and was bedraggled. My mother had always told me my hair shone like a golden halo. I guessed that was no longer the case. I had not seen my reflection in two weeks so I could only imagine how frightful I appeared to onlookers. My circumstance was terrible, but I refused to let it defeat me. I was a son of Thorn, I was a gentleman, damn it, and I was prepared to do whatever it took to do to find my way to my destination and seek justice for all the ill-luck that had befallen me.

“Right, scrote, up on the wagon,” the farmer declared. “We can always do wit a few extra scurrier’s fer the windfalls.”

I had no idea what that actually meant, but strangely relieved to be selected, I nodded subserviently and then, ducking my head to avoid the farmers’ glare, I scurried to the wagon where I surreptitiously gave my aching intimate parts a gentle rub.

I’d heard from a fellow in the tavern that harvesting wheat at Robinswood Farm was backbreaking, as was digging root vegetables at Windy Oakes Farm. He advised that apple picking was easy work and if I could get employment at Weatherby’s or Blackdown Farm, they paid good coin. He said the mistress at Blackdown was particularly well-liked and always gave laborers a bread and cheese luncheon with last season’s cider. I was so hungry that bread and cheese sounded like a banquet. The fellow had neglected to tell me that the farmer was a brute!

The farmers’ son met me by the wagon and offered to help me aboard. For a moment, from the look of consideration in his eyes, I thought he could see past the disheveled state of me to the gentleman I’d once been. But that was ridiculous. The farmers’ son hopped up onto the back of the wagon with dexterous athleticism, and then offered me his hands. I took them without a thought. His warm touch and the strength in those work-roughened fingers twisted my gut into uncomfortable knots. He fixed my gaze as he gripped both of my hands and tugged me up as easily as if he were lifting feather down. He pulled me closed and pressed me to his hard chest.

“Don’t back chat him or it’ll be the worst fer you,” he whispered the warning to my ear. Alarmed, I eased back from him and cautiously met his eye for a split second. In the look he gave me I saw that the warning was well-meant. Bewildered, I nodded in thanks and understanding. I had no idea why this stranger was looking out for me, but the fact he was warmed my heart. I choked back a tear. No one had looked out for me over these past weeks, and I had been so terribly lonely. I’d learned some hard life lessons on this leg of my journey, and I’d come to understand that here my title was irrelevant, and without money I was suddenly invisible; therefore small kindnesses meant more than I could say.

My adventure into the provinces had been made to appease my father for my supposed ‘lack of direction.’ I’d become bored with my easy life in Thorn, and not intending to marry; I’d told my father that in-light of my upcoming twentieth Bloomsday I wanted to tour the Empire. If I were to one-day become Duke of Thorn, I needed to know a little of the politics of each province and so, pleased with my initiative and happy to be rid of me for a while, he’d set me on my way. I’d toured the provinces of Terria, Corvay, and Reuss and then continued to the province of Osia, spending time in the capital city Altea, at the court of the Twin Kings, Kristoff, and Fabian Von Harte. With this journey to Erias, I was to have the full set of provinces under my belt. But fate was not on my side.

On benches affixed to either side of the farmers’ wagon sat fourteen men morosely staring at their bare, filthy feet, not a word of chatter between them. They each owned a small pack of belongings and a wrapped blanket that each had stowed beneath the bench. At this moment they were better-off than me, for I did not even have a blanket to my name. There was space for me and five more, totaling twenty men. The farmer chose from the remaining laborers with less consideration than I had been afforded.

“Right… I’ll take Allin, Jed, Arthur, Bartram, and Matty, that’ll do me fer the week,” he hollered decisively.

The week? I thought I’d promised myself for a hard day’s labor? But then again, I considered the harvesters who were sitting in the wagon, and yes, they appeared to have prepared for an overnight stay. Confused, I sat down as the other laborers were pulled up onto the wagon by their comrades, and then we shuffled along the benches until we were all seated. I noticed the shoulders of the remaining men in the market square sag a little in apparent relief as if some mighty weight had lifted from them. I didn’t understand it. I thought they’d wanted to work?

The farmers’ son clambered over into the front of the wagon. His father climbed on, the man’s bulk shaking the timbers of the rickety wagon as he settled on the bench beside him. The son handed his father the ribbons, which the farmer greedily snatched up, and then with a fearsome bellow of “Geddup” and a thunderous whip crack, the large mottled grey workhorse began its cumbersome trot down the main street and onto the dusty road to Blackdown Farm.

 

About the Author

Isobel Starling spent most of her twenty-year professional career making art in Ireland. She relocated to the UK and, faced with the dreaded artist’s creative block, Isobel started to write and found she loved writing more than making art.

Isobel is currently working on her nineteenth book.

“As You Wish” (Shatterproof Bond#1) narrated by Gary Furlong won the Audiobook Reviewer Award for Romance 2018. It is the first M/M Romance audiobook to win a mainstream audiobook award.

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Release Blitz: Salute to the Stud by Beth Laycock

Salute to the Stud | Beth Laycock

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Publisher: Rainbow Romance Press

Release Date: February 21, 2019

Subgenre: Contemporary Romance

Order here: Amazon only.

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07NGRFKG9

US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07NGRFKG9

The novella will be only $0.99 on ebook during release-week and tour, February 21-27!

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Blurb

Jasper is licking his wounds in paradise after being dumped, according to his ex, for someone more adventurous. The romantic Hawaiian getaway for two he booked hadn’t featured his sister as his plus one, but sometimes real life sucks.

For the two weeks he’s there his plans include hot dates with a sun lounger and working his way through the local craft beers. Nothing more.

Until he receives a sext from a wrong number. A mystery yoga instructor offering a private session to teach him the plow, and maybe even get plowed. Jasper’s never had a hookup with anyone before, but perhaps it’s time to prove his ex wrong.

One night with Tamal, no matter how hot it is, isn’t enough, yet that doesn’t change the fact this thing between them can’t last. Because time is running out. Jasper has to leave, has to return to London and real life.

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Excerpt

I had talked myself in then out of meeting up a thousand times. Then back in, because I wanted to see Tamal again – more than I probably should. But then the thought of seeing him again – of what we might do – had my breaths coming far too quickly and my skin itched like it had been stretched too thin. I knew nothing about the man I was meeting apart from the yoga and plowing bit if Tamal and the sexter were one and the same person. If they were then I was worrying unnecessarily because Tamal had been… A sigh escaped as the word ‘everything’ flittered through my mind. Stupid, getting carried away, and I

didn’t know what to wear. What if Tamal expected to give me an actual yoga lesson? What if I’d misunderstood the whole conversation?

My sister texted me to let me know she was having a great time at the waterfalls. So I texted her I was going out for a wander down the beach and would see he in the morning. Not a complete lie but not the whole truth. But some things my sister didn’t need to know.    

My bare feet sank into the sand as I strolled along the water’s edge. The waves crept up the beach and lapped at my feet. Goosebumps erupted up my legs, the water cool now the sun had disappeared. The tops of the waves glinted where the moonlight caught them, and a few stars twinkled like they were winking at me and in on my secret. The further I wandered the quieter the sounds of the hotel became, to be replaced by the quiet rush of the sea and the high-pitched whistle of the frogs calling to each other that I still hadn’t got used to.

Once I passed the bar lounge, there was nothing but palm trees and beach until the sand disappeared beneath a stretch of rocks. I climbed over them to find a single wooden shack with a coconut-style thatched roof, and the only thing visible in the secluded cove. If it hadn’t been for the window that glowed brightly against the inky night sky I’d have thought it was abandoned.

I hesitated. In or out? Told myself it was like a gay rite of passage – had to have at least one hookup in my dating life. And I wanted to see Tamal again. Fuck it. I strode up the beach like I owned the goddamned place. Like I would have done before Sam. Fake it till you make it, right?

About The Author

Beth Laycock’s books are influenced by her time living overseas as well as the gritty, urban landscape of the North of England where she grew up. She has been reading romance since she was old enough to tell herself that line every book lover does—just one more chapter.

As a teenager, she attempted to write her first novel, and many more since then are still gathering dust on her bookshelf. It wasn’t until she discovered the MM genre that her muse showed up and refused to quit telling her stories about beautiful men finding love together. She hasn’t stopped scribbling them down since.

Beth’s muse usually shows up when she is in the shower, is allergic to cleaning, rarely lets her watch TV, and insists she drinks copious amounts of coffee so she can turn caffeine into words.

When not writing or reading, Beth can be found procrastinating on social media or being dragged around the English countryside by her dog Freddie.

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Author links:

Instagram: www.instagram.com/bethlaycockwrites

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Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18580707.Beth_Laycock

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BethLaycock_

Website: https://bethlaycock.com

Newsletter: http://bethlaycock.com/newsletter

Pinterest: www.pinterest.co.uk/BethLaycockAuthor

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Release Blitz: Step Up With Me by Kris Jacen

Step Up With Me | Kris Jacen

With Me #5

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Buy Links:

Amazon US | Amazon UK | MLR Press

Length: 45,000 words approx.

Publisher: MLR Press

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Blurb

Richard “Tank” Martin was a big boy from the start. Born weighing over 11 pounds, he didn’t stop growing.

When he was in middle school, a football coach took him under his wing and finally explained to him the mystery of calories in, calories out and from then on it was all good for him. At least he thought.

Being called to meet with his platoon sergeant and told that he was now part of the Army’s overweight program, sent him into a spin that only his crews can help him out of.

Dr Jack Dillon thought his life was good and finally settled. Part of an active veterinarian practice, volunteering with a service dog organization, spoiling his sister’s triplets and training in sports jiu-jitsu…the only this missing was a partner.

He never thought that his world could be shattered with just a phone call even after being around his military friends.

Tank and Jack have been dancing around each other for months until Tank takes a chance and kisses Jack at their friends’ wedding, moving their slow dance into a heated bump and grind.

Can these two survive the changes coming their way together or will all the changes break them apart?

With Me Series

Book #1 – Wait For Me – Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book #2 – Explore With Me – Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book #3 – Learn With Me – Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book #4 – Challenge Me – Amazon US Amazon UK

About the Author

Kris Jacen grew up just north of Boston, Massachusetts, met her soldier in high school but didn’t marry him until almost ten years later. She moved around with him and their daughters (born in two different states thanks to the Army) for the first 19 years of their marriage (they celebrated their silver anniversary in 2018) before settling in western New York.

She has been the Editor in Chief and Formatting Director for ManLoveRomance Press and its imprints since January of 2008 and has never looked back. Working with the amazing authors at MLR has allowed her to both hone her editorial skills and indulge her inner fangirl.

She also acts as editor, mentor and sounding-board for newcomers which lets her “pay-it-forward” and help authors realize their dreams.

You can find out more about Kris on her website www.krisjacen.com


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Cover Reveal: Blindsided by Eden Finlay

Blindsided | Eden Finlay

Fake Boyfriend #4

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Release Date: March 20, 2019

Cover Design: Kellie Dennis / Book Cover by Design

Goodreads

Blurb

Miller:
When Talon left to play pro ball six years ago, the hole in my chest confused me. I focused my heartache into making my own NFL dreams come true, and by the time I was drafted, the longing I had for my best friend was buried deep.

Now he wants everything to be like it was in college, but we can’t have threesomes and be reckless like we once were. The media storm would be enough to break both our careers.

That’s not my biggest concern though. The torch I had for him burns brighter after so long apart, and there’s nothing I can do about it. Marcus Talon is straight.
I need to stay away from him.

Talon:
Years ago, Miller and I made a pact that we’d win a Super Bowl together. When I’m offered a position on his team in Chicago, I don’t hesitate. I move across the country to chase a dream that’s a decade old.

Only, now that I’m here, he’s avoiding me every chance he gets. If he was anyone else, I’d cut my losses.

But this is Shane Miller—the guy who makes everything better just by existing in my universe. The guy I’d do anything for. The guy who’s more to me than a brother, a friend, or even a teammate.

I’m not going to let him get away.

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Excerpt

“God, I wish I was there,” Miller says. His solemn face fills my phone screen, and I wish he was here too.

“Here?” I croak. “Why?”

Scenarios run through my head of what Miller could do if he were here right now, and not one of them is PG-rated.

“Why do you think? I’m going batshit and my leg is messed up. I wanna be back on the field.”

Ah, he’s still talking about football. Duh.

“I’ll get you there,” I promise.

“You’re really going to spend your off season training me? Shouldn’t you be taking a jersey chaser or two to a sex island?”

I perk up. “There are sex islands? Think we could recondition there?”

“On second thought, I don’t think you should be let loose on a sex island. You’d probably forget to do important things like eat and drink water, and then you’d die of dehydration.

“Like those animals who literally fuck themselves to death?”

“What?” I ask.

“There are these rat-looking things from Australia. The males literally stop eating so they can have sex until they die. Something about their need to keep their gene pool going.”

“I shouldn’t be shocked about your weird knowledge of animal sex, but I am.”

“Just trying to find my spirit animal.” I sigh. “Although lately I’m more like a panda. If I go much longer without sex, I’ll forget how to do it.”

Why my brain thinks that’s a good idea to tell Miller, I have no idea. Maybe I’m fishing for him to agree with me or maybe I want him to know that I’m not fucking around with anyone else. Not that I’m fucking around with him either.

“Aww, how long has it been? A few days? A week?” He smiles but there’s something in it that makes me think he’s gritting his teeth while he does.

“Try months. That night … with you and those two girls. That’s the last time I …” I wave my hand in a you know what I’m trying to say gesture.

“Holy shit, how are you surviving? And what about your pregame ritual?”

“The new calluses on my hands aren’t from throwing footballs.”

Miller cracks up laughing, and something inside me breaks. What it is, I don’t know, but it’s like charging the field at the beginning of a game. It’s a touchdown in the last minute. It’s putting that championship ring on for the first time. It’s … everything.

“Shane,” I say, my voice coarse.

His eyes flick to mine through the small screen, and his laughter dies.

My confession is a whisper. “I chickened out.”

Miller’s brow furrows. “Chickened out of what?”

“This. FaceTiming you.”

Miller looks like he’s trying to decide to mock me or let me off the hook. I beat him to talking so he can do neither.

“I’ve wanted to. You have no idea how much.”

His expression softens. “I think I have a fair idea. I wasn’t calling you on your bluff or taunting you.” He lowers his voice and whispers, “I wanted it. I want this.”

Miller’s gaze burns so hot I expect my phone to overheat. How I’ve never seen him this way before now is confusing, but not really when I dissect it.

I uprooted my whole life for him. Moved to Chicago to be near him. All because I missed what I had with him, which up until recently, I thought was just a solid friendship.

Friends don’t give up what I did just so they can see their college buddy again. That’s illogical. That doesn’t stop me from trying to make sense of it. And to make sense of it, I need to do something I’ve been putting off. For fear of rejection, fear of discovering some unknown truth that’s always been a part of me, I don’t know. But I do know Miller doesn’t scare me. Doing this with Miller doesn’t scare me.

“Take your shirt off,” I rasp.

“Talon—”

“Take. Your. Shirt. Off.”

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Giveaway

One of Five ARC’s for Blindsided

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About the Author

Eden Finley is an Amazon bestselling author who writes steamy contemporary romances that are full of snark and light-hearted fluff.

She doesn’t take anything too seriously and lives to create an escape from real life for her readers. The ideas always begin with a wackadoodle premise, and she does her best to turn them into romances with heart.

With a short attention span that rivals her five-year-old son’s, she writes multiple different pairings: MM, MMF, and MF.

She’s also an Australian girl and apologises for her Australianisms that sometimes don’t make sense to anyone else.

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Blog Tour: Loving Again Series by Mel Gough

Loving Again Series | Mel Gough

January 25, 2019 – A World Apart

February 22, 2019 – A New Life

March 22, 2019 – A Broken Promise

NEW RELEASE

A New Life | Mel Gough

Loving Again Series #2

Cover Artist: Black Jazz Design

Genre/s: Contemporary, romance

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 49,000 words/188 pages

Release Date: February 22, 2019

Buy Links

Available on Kindle Unlimited

http://mybook.to/anewlife

Add on Goodreads

Blurb

New apartment, new job, new love – Ben and Donnie’s life in Atlanta is everything they dared to hope for. And when Zac, a baby in need of a home, comes to live with them, their family is complete.

But caring for a little one is hard work, and Donnie’s fragile health soon suffers. And then certain criminal elements from Donnie’s past turn up again. Ben and Donnie fight hard to preserve their little piece of heaven, but the destructive forces are determined to pull their happiness to pieces.

Can the two men prevail, or will they lose their baby son and everything they’ve fought for?

Excerpt

A drowsy post-lunch hush hung over the large, comfortable room. Small clusters of kids sat around low tables, drawing pictures or building models with brightly-colored Legos. Late fall sunlight dappled little faces and danced over the playful wall murals the community center volunteers kept adding to, whenever someone with a smidgen of artistic talent joined the team.

Donnie glanced through the glass doors into the courtyard. It was a beautiful day, mild for so late in the year. He planned to go outside with the kids for some sandbox playtime soon. He wondered if he could sneak into the staffroom and put the coffeemaker on for an afternoon cup before that, but just then, a small, dark-haired girl at a table near the back looked up from her drawing. “Donnie, can you help me?” she called in a stage whisper that made Donnie smile.

“Sure, Padma.” He wended his way through the other tables and kneeled next to the girl’s child-sized chair. “What’re we doing?”

She held out an orange crayon for him. “Can you draw a lion?”

Donnie glanced down at her paper. “Course. Where d’you want him?”

“There.” Padma pointed at a gray box with bars across the front. “Into the lion cage.”

The girl had drawn a zoo. There were cages for the animals, and enclosures with green grass and landscaping. A big red house had a stick figure outside. Donnie pointed at it. “Who’s that?”

Padma said proudly, “That’s the zookeeper.”

“But where are the animals?” Donnie asked. “Did they all run away?”

Padma shook her head and gave a tragic sigh. “I can’t draw animals.” Her big, dark eyes shone. “Can you do it for me?” she wheedled.

“All right, let’s see.” Donnie settled down on his haunches and pointed at a patch of gray and blue on the paper. “What’s that?”

“That’s the Arctic enclosure, where the penguins go, and the polar bear,” Padma said.

Donnie nodded, keeping his expression serious. This would take a while, but he didn’t mind. “Makes sense. Right, lion first.”

They had drawn the lion and four penguins, and were just getting started on a zebra, when Arthur came into the daycare. Arthur was the community center’s director, a retired high school teacher who had come from England to Atlanta with his wife almost forty years ago. After Bess’s death, Arthur had decided to stay. Donnie couldn’t imagine the center, and his own life, without the old man.

Arthur was accompanied by a young woman Donnie had never seen before. Arthur looked around, and when he spotted Donnie, he and the woman started to make their way to him and Padma. The woman carried a baby in her arms. They stopped in front of Padma’s table. Arthur leaned down to admire Padma’s drawing. “That’s a very nice zoo,” he said kindly. “Well done!”

“Donnie did the animals,” the girl informed him.

“Well, he did a jolly good job, too,” Arthur said, nodding.

Donnie smiled gratefully. Arthur was good with people, and he always took time with the kids, even though running the community center kept him busy. He treated the children as if they mattered as much as the adults, and Donnie tried his best to emulate him.

Arthur addressed Padma again. “I need to borrow Donnie for a little while, is that okay?”

The girl nodded, pleased to be asked for permission.

Donnie got up, shaking the pins and needles from his legs. He loved being with the kids, but maybe he was getting too old to crouch on the floor so much.

The woman by Arthur’s side gave Donnie a quick, nervous smile, and Arthur said, “Donnie, this is Celia.” He indicated the baby. “And this is her son Zac.”

Donnie gave Celia a nod and a smile. Small-boned and no taller than five-two, she seemed to be barely twenty. Donnie had worked at the center for long enough to know that her slenderness and pallor were due to drug abuse. But her eyes were clear, and she seemed alert. She clutched her child to her like a shield. The little boy watched Donnie with big brown eyes for a moment and gave a happy chuckle. Donnie estimated her son to be about six months old.

“Celia has a new job,” Arthur explained. “She’s starting at JFK High tomorrow, with the school lunch team. Zac will be with us when she’s at work.” Arthur took hold of Zac’s foot and jiggled it. The baby grinned at him with toothless gums.

“Thanks, Arthur,” Celia said in a quiet, musical voice. “I’m so grateful. This’ll work out, I promise.”

“Of course it will, my dear,” Arthur said.

So Celia was another one of Arthur’s foundlings. Whenever the old man wasn’t at the center, keeping an eye on things and leading the AA meetings, he walked the streets of downtown Atlanta, talking to homeless young people, junkies and anyone looking as if they might be in need of a square meal and a bed. He would find them a shelter place and then, once they were willing and able, a spot in a detox program or a job, depending on their wishes. Arthur had the biggest heart of anyone Donnie had ever met. He had saved Donnie’s life in more ways than one, and Donnie would be forever grateful.

“Now, then,” Arthur said, turning to Donnie. “Can you show Celia around the daycare? And explain to her about the medication protocol, too. Zac’s positive.”

The protocol held details of all the medication and healthcare needs of the kids at the center. The daycare had been established as a safe place for the children of drug users, rough sleepers and low-income single mothers, and many kids brought their very specific challenges. Several were HIV positive, or suffered from developmental problems related to fetal alcohol syndrome, or showed severe signs of ADHD. No child was ever refused a place, if they had room.

“Sure thing,” Donnie said, and beckoned to Celia. “C’mon, I’ll show you the place.”

“Thanks, Donnie, I appreciate it,” Arthur said. “I’ll leave you to it.” He nodded at Celia, patted Padma on the head, then left.

Donnie showed them around the large main space first. He pointed out the play areas, the row of cots where the smaller kids and the toddlers slept after lunch, and the outside yard with its playsets and swings. He introduced the other volunteers by name, and everyone exclaimed over Zac, who smiled at everyone and babbled away happily.

Only when they went into the quiet staff room and stopped before the medicine cabinet did the little boy begin to fuss. He seemed to miss the attention from the other volunteers already. Donnie held out a finger. Zac took it and put it into his mouth. A warm feeling flooded Donnie as the tiny, wet mouth closed around his knuckle. “He’s a cutie, all right,” he said to Celia.

“He’s my heart,” she said very quietly, more to herself. “I have to make it, for him. He needs a better life than what I can give him right now. The shelter…well…”

She wouldn’t meet Donnie’s eyes, and her face crumpled as if she might start crying. Donnie felt uneasy. He didn’t have a lot of experience with women, or people he didn’t know well. He had no problem relating to kids, but adults were a different matter. He would’ve liked to say something nice, but nothing appropriate came to mind.

“Err, right…this is where we store the meds,” he said, hoping Celia would be okay. He pointed to the locked cabinet. “I’ll add Zac onto the protocol. When you bring him in tomorrow, bring all his meds along, all right? I’ll help you figure out which ones we need to keep here. Then I’ll give you a receipt. At the pharmacy down the street they’ll give you extra refills with that.” That arrangement was another of Arthur’s triumphs. He was amazing at finding donors for the center children’s particular needs.

Celia nodded, back in control. “Thanks, Donnie. You and Arthur, you’re real nice. Do you,” she hesitated. “Do you get a lot of kids with HIV?”

“We got a couple at the moment,” Donnie said. He was about to tell Celia not to worry, that the volunteers were all trained to handle kids with special health needs, and that he was positive himself. But Arthur stuck his head through the door.

“Celia, the AA meeting’s about to start. Do you want to come upstairs and attend?” He nodded at Zac in her arms. “You can leave the little guy with Donnie for an hour. Like a trial run?”

Celia glanced up at Donnie, uncertain. “That okay with you?”

“Course,” Donnie said. “Me and Zac, we’ll get to know each other, and he can meet some new friends, too.”

“Okay,” Celia said, still hesitant. But then she squared her shoulders and handed Zac to Donnie. “He’s had his lunch, he shouldn’t need anything, really. Oh, except this…” She dug in her bag for a moment and pulled out a purple stuffed dinosaur toy. “It’s his favorite. If he gets grizzly, that’ll calm him right down.” She also pulled out a small baby bottle with water and handed that to Donnie, together with the toy.

Donnie held the dinosaur out to Zac, who grinned happily and put the toy’s head into his mouth right away.

“He sure is precious,” Arthur said, smiling.

Donnie nodded. “Yeah, he is.”

Arthur beckoned to Celia. “Let’s go up. Zac’s in safe hands.” Celia took one last, nervous glance at the baby, then let Arthur lead her away.

Donnie watched Zac’s expression as his mom disappeared from sight. The little guy seemed unperturbed, and looked around with interest. It was a nice feeling, holding him. Donnie liked babies. The daycare didn’t often have the very small ones, and Zac was cute. Donnie stroked his back. “D’you wanna meet your new friends, huh?”

He walked back into the main room. One of the volunteers, a bright, bubbly woman called Sonia, was gathering the kids for story time. They clustered around her chair on the floor, fidgeting and nudging each other. Donnie sat in a threadbare armchair to one side. Some of the kids observed Zac with curiosity, but it was Padma again who spoke up. “Who’s that, Donnie?”

Donnie turned his upper body, so Zac could see the children. “This is Zac, everyone. Say hello!”

Many of the kids called, “Hello Zac!”, a few waved, and one of the older girls said, “Aww, he’s so cute!”

Zac grinned at them for a moment, but then twisted in Donnie’s arms and, suddenly shy, buried his face against Donnie’s shoulder. Donnie rocked him, and stroked his soft curls. He could smell baby powder. The little body relaxed.

“All right, everyone,” Sonia called, and the children’s attention returned to her. “Who wants to hear the story of Toothless the dragon?”

Donnie settled down to listen. Zac had snuggled up against his shoulder and seemed very content there, sucking on his purple dinosaur.

It was peaceful, sitting in the sunlit room and listening to Sonia’s cheerful voice as she read the story. When Arthur and Celia returned after the AA meeting, Donnie was amazed to find that an hour had passed. He found it hard to let Zac go, and had to remind himself that it was a very short separation. The little guy would be back the next day, and every day after that.

About the Author

Mel was born in Germany, where she spent the first twenty-six years of her life (with a one-year stint in Los Angeles). She has always been fascinated by cultures and human interaction, and got a Masters in Social Anthropology. After finishing university she moved to London, where she has now lived for ten years.

If you were to ask her parents what Mel enjoyed the most since the age of six, they would undoubtedly say “Reading!” She would take fifteen books on a three-week beach holiday, and then read all her mom’s books once she’d devoured her own midway through week two.

Back home in her mom’s attic there’s a box full of journals with stories Mel wrote when she was in her early teens. None of the stories are finished, or any good. She has told herself bedtime stories as far back as she can remember.

In her day job, Mel works as PA and office manager. No other city is quite like London, and Mel loves her city. The hustle and bustle still amaze and thrill her even after all these years. When not reading, writing or going to the theater, Mel spends her time with her long-time boyfriend, discussing science or poking fun at each other.

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Review Tour: Eagle In The Hawthorn by Sam Burns

Eagle In The Hawthorn | Sam Burns

Rowan Harbor Cycle #7

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Buy Links:

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2WUnrxk

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2E9XuT8

Exclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow with Kindle Unlimited

Length: 45,000 words approx.

Cover Design: Melanie Farlow @ Clause & Effect

READ MY REVIEW


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Blurb

Rowan Harbor has had a tough winter, and Devon Murphy wants nothing more than to make it better. When he proposes a solution to the town’s low morale, it creates a rift in his relationship with his boyfriend, Wade.

They’ve hardly ever argued, and when things get tense, Devon has no idea how to handle it.

But an evil presence in his town targets the people Devon loves, he has to put his personal worries aside and face danger down again.

Will he be able to protect his town, and if he can, will Wade be waiting for him when it’s done?

The Rowan Harbor Cycle Series

Book #1 – Blackbird in the Reeds – Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book #2 – Wolf and the Holly – Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book #3 – Fox and Birch – Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book #4 – Hawk In The Rowan – Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book #5 – Stag and the Ashe – Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book #6 – Adder and Willow – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #6.5 – In Any Light – Amazon US | Amazon UK

TourGraphic-22.jpg

About The Author

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Sam wrote her first fantasy epic with her best friend when she was ten. Like almost any epic fiction written by a ten-year-old, it was awful.

She likes to think she’s improved since then, if only because she has better handwriting now.

If she’s not writing, she’s almost certainly either reading or lost down a Wikipedia rabbit hole while pretending to research for a novel.

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Release Blitz: Slammed into You by C.M. Valencourt

Slammed into You | C.M. Valencourt

Coffee & Cardigans #1

slammed into you promo graphic

Length: 52,000 words

Release Date: February 21, 2019

Cover Design: James @ GoOnWrite.com

Buy links:

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/Slammed-into-Coffee-Cardigans-Book-ebook/dp/B07NSFQKG6

Amazon UKhttps://www.amazon.co.uk/Slammed-into-Coffee-Cardigans-Book-ebook/dp/B07NSFQKG6

Add to Goodreads:

 https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43924671-slammed-into-you

Slammed into You cover.jpg

Blurb

They were like two hurricanes, touching down on the same shore.

Amir is a rising slam poet who wants to make it big. While he works a day job at a café, he writes poems like his life depends on it and performs at a local poetry slam every week.

But then Landon comes to a slam, and he’s not impressed by Amir. When he joins the slam team, he jeopardizes Amir’s chance to go to Nationals, all Amir’s been dreaming about for the past year. He vows to show Landon that he is the better poet.

As Amir and Landon clash to get the last spot at Nationals, their bickering and attempts to undermine each other quickly turn into angry lust. Amir’s priority is to win, but he can’t seem to get Landon out of his head…

Excerpt

He wasn’t expecting to find Landon in the hotel room when he unlocked it. But there he was, pacing back and forth in front of the beds, his footfalls heavy. Amir quietly closed the door behind him, and Landon didn’t notice as he stepped into the room.

He had unbuttoned the pink shirt, revealing a heather grey muscle tank underneath. His shoes were still on and there was no doubt he was bothering the people in the room below them. But as he turned on his heel again, this time facing Amir, he could tell he was absolutely livid.

“You okay?” Amir asked, his voice surprisingly small.

Landon stopped pacing and looked up. His eyes narrowed. “Yes, Amir. I’m fantastic.”

Amir felt anchored to the spot. “Look, I’m sorry that happened-”

“No, you’re not,” Landon bit back. “You just want to hear me say it. That’s why you followed me back.”

“Say what?”

Landon chuckled darkly. “That you were right! That I shouldn’t have done that poem at all!”

Amir looked right at him. He tried to be diplomatic. “I think it can serve as a learning experience.”

Landon shook his head. “God, just tell me off already!” His voice was growing louder with every word he spoke. “Blame me for crushing your dreams. I can take it.”

“You need to chill the fuck out. I’ll leave.” But Amir didn’t move.

“No,” Landon said. “We need to deal with this. It’s gone on too long.”

Amir almost asked what, but he knew what he was talking about. The constant conflict between the two of them, the way they were at each other’s throats all the time. But Amir didn’t really think Landon was in the mood to build bridges.

“Fine. Here it is. Maybe if you’d just listened, you wouldn’t need to be so pissed off at me! You could have done your other poem, and we could have won the whole damn thing!”

“There we go!” Landon yelled. “I knew you blamed me.”

“Who else would I blame?” Amir asked, feeling his own temper begin to build. “Everyone else got decent scores except for you!”

Landon took two steps forward towards him. “I know. I should have listened to the All-Knowing Amir! If only you’d shown me the way!”

Amir stepped forward, too. They were only about a foot apart now. “But you can’t deny I was right! You weren’t confident in that poem, didn’t know it as well. You didn’t even know it well enough to remember the goddamn words!”

Then Landon’s finger was jabbing into his chest. Amir was surprised that the distance between them had closed. Despite himself, he could feel how close Landon was, thinking of the scene at the club.

Without even thinking about it, he leaned in and kissed him, the need too great. Landon was still so warm, though this time it was probably from righteous fury. Landon was stock still for a few seconds before he pushed him backwards, just enough so their bodies were no longer touching.

“Fuck you,” Landon said, but this time he wasn’t yelling. His voice was almost a whisper.

Then he grabbed Amir’s shirt collar and pulled him back in, kissing him roughly.

About The Author

C.M. Valencourt is a new MM romance author. They started devouring queer fiction when they still had to smuggle it into their parents’ Catholic household and dreamed of writing books about queer people finding love ever since.

They like figure skating, ghost hunting shows, and Carly Rae Jepsen.

You can find out more about their books and learn about upcoming releases at cmvalencourt.com

Follow them on Twitter: https://twitter.com/cmvalencourt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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