Tag Archives: alternative universe

Audio Tour: Mastering the Flames by S.J. Himes

Mastering the Flames | S.J. Himes

The Beacon Hill Sorcerer Series

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Audio Release Date: June 16th, 2020

Narrator: Joel Leslie

Length: 14 hours and 52 minutes

Publisher: Tantor

Universal Link: https://books2read.com/MasteringTheFlames

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Blurb

Guilt-ridden after the massacre of his family, Isaac Salvatore turned to binge drinking to escape the pain. Now twenty-four years old, Isaac is a recovering alcoholic woefully out of practice in the magical arts, leaving his fire affinity hanging on the edge of disaster. After a month of rehab, he returns to Beacon Hill and his family, determined to remain sober, learn to control his magic, and figure out a plan for his life that doesn’t involve drinking.

Constantine Batiste is the oldest, most powerful vampire in the city. Born in ancient Gaul, the bastard son of a Celtic king, his long life has been shrouded in tragedy and horrors. Recent mistakes have left him wary and determined to guard his clan from all foes. When two of his clan members fall victim to an ancient evil, he summons the Necromancer of Boston for aid. Accompanying his older brother to the Tower is the handsome young fire mage once wounded by Constantine’s arrogance, and their encounter reignites an attraction that burns within both Constantine and Isaac.

The answer to who is targeting the vampires of Boston is buried in the dark, early days of Constantine’s transition to an immortal life. Isaac finds himself saddled with a painful insight into the evil cutting a swath through the supernatural population of Boston. While his brother, Angel, takes over the hunt to find and stop the threat to the city, Isaac struggles to find a balance between helping his brother and finding his own purpose and place in the world, free from his brother’s shadow.

Falling in love wasn’t part of his plan, but mastering the flames that burn between him and Constantine soon becomes the most important thing in his life, even as an ancient evil seeks to destroy them.

Mastering the Flames is the fourth book in The Beacon Hill Sorcerer series and is not a standalone. The series should be read in order for maximum enjoyment and understanding of the plot and characters.

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Audio Excerpt

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Excerpt

“Thank you for letting me stay here last night, and for giving up your bed.”

Constans only nodded again, then gestured elegantly to a door off to the side. “The bathroom is through there. Fresh towels and toiletries await, and while you slept, I had your clothing laundered. If you like, I can call for breakfast while you get cleaned up.”

“Um, yes. Thank you.” Isaac threw back the blankets and carefully got to his feet, happily surprised that he wasn’t feeling like he would fall over or stumble. Being sober still felt weird, even after more than a month of it. Waking up in someone else’s bed and not having a hangover from hell was a rather novel experience.

Constans gracefully exited the bedroom, and Isaac went to the bathroom, finding a white marble and dark wood bathroom that was spotless, elegant, and understated while still screaming luxury. The toilet and nearby bidet were marble as well, and he chuckled at the thought of someone carving marble toilets for a job as he relieved his bladder. Probably paid extremely well. The rainfall spout showerhead and the four pulsating jets in the stone tile shower stall were an indulgence he’d sell his soul for and he stood under the pounding spray for longer than he needed, soaking up the relaxation.

He eventually dragged himself out of the shower, brushed his teeth and hair, used the unscented toiletries, and headed out to get dressed. His clothes were clean, and the frayed seam on his jacket was so expertly repaired that he might have been hard pressed to remember it had been damaged during the argument with Angel the night before. Isaac pulled on his clothes, grabbed his stuff, and headed out of the bedroom, following his nose to a small dining table in another glass-walled room, this one with a view over the harbor.

The view was slightly diminished and as gray-toned as the rest of the vantages in the penthouse. Very different from the specialized sunlight wards Angel fashioned to keep Simeon safe at the Beacon Hill apartment. There the light was golden and bright, with only the barest hints of magic on the windows to prove the protections were in place at all. Here in the Tower, the glass was chemically treated with industrial strength ingredients that blocked the radiant magic and UV rays that burned vampires. Despite the windows, he could tell the sky was bright and clear, and the view was still something to admire.

Two bloodclan donors were arranging the table with food, giving him polite hellos when he came in, and he waved awkwardly, not used to having what amounted to servants doing anything for him. When he was a kid, they had staff in the Mansion, but they died in the Massacre, and when Angel moved the two of them to Beacon Hill, they were alone, and Angel never hired a cleaning service. It had taken some getting used to for sure, a spoiled rich kid learning to do everything for himself, but trauma was a great leveler of privilege. The servants left once he sat, and he ate alone, though he had a concrete suspicion that if he were to whisper Constans’ name the vampire would appear immediately. He wasn’t far—and that didn’t bother Isaac at all.

Bacon crisped to perfection, a sweet onion and sesame seed bagel and smoked salmon flakes with cream cheese was his breakfast, a side of chopped fresh fruit and yogurt to finish it off. Earl grey tea with honey and a tall glass of lemon ice water complimented it all, and Isaac devoured the entire lot of it in minutes, hungrier than he’d expected to be. But then despite eating supper at the Italian place, he did empty his stomach the night before. He pillaged the tiny mints in a glass bowl near his water, crunching on the sweets, and he sipped his water, content to just wait and see what happened next.

“Was it enjoyable?” Constans asked as he materialized in the room, coming out of nowhere like some special effect in a movie. Isaac set his water down with a sharp thwap and laughed, startled.

“Fuck! Seriously? You did that before, when Simeon was hurt, didn’t you?” Isaac got up and walked around the table, stopping a foot or so away from Constans and squinting at the undead man. “How did you do that? It wasn’t moving in a vampire blur—the air is displaced when Simeon moves super-fast—always a breeze. No wind this time.”

Constans shrugged a single shoulder, casual and a bit teasing. “I am old. It comes with perks. How was your breakfast?”

Isaac hummed, biting his lips before answering. “It was perfect, but you knew that. You know exactly what I like to eat for breakfast. I bet you know what I like to eat for lunch, and my favorite meals.”

Constans didn’t even look abashed or ashamed—he shrugged again, and Isaac poked one rock-solid pec with his finger. “Are you stalking me?”

“No?” Constans sounded like he was thinking about it and might not be sure. “Not me. I pay many people in this city to do many things, and I know all sorts of things as a result. Not just you—I know your brother prefers things to be pine-scented, and that your best friend has excellent taste in porn. I watched a few myself.”

Isaac snorted. “I have no idea why I’m not mad.”

Constans leaned forward a bit, and Isaac turned slightly so he could whisper lightly in his ear. “I think you like it, mon coeur.

“Maybe. I’m also not the most stable of people, so there’s that.” Isaac turned so he could look in Constans’ bright blue eyes. “Or maybe I know it’s because you care about Simeon, and so you had us all investigated when Angel and Simeon hooked up.”

Lush pink lips twitched, and a beautiful smile broke free, made all the better by the fangs on display before Constans chuckled. A cold finger brushed along his cheek and Isaac’s skin tingled, and his breath caught in his throat. “Sharp as a dagger, mon coeur.”

“You shouldn’t call me that,” Isaac said softly, turning into the caress that slipped from his cheek down his neck. It didn’t bother him at all that Constans could snap his spine with a flick of his fingers or drain him in seconds. Once upon a time, not too long ago, he would never have been so calm near a vampire, despite frequenting their bars for the last few years. Maybe alcohol-induced paranoia was something he should consider. “I’m not your heart.”

“You know French, mon petit feu?” His hand, cold at first but warming with every second in contact with Isaac’s body, slipped around to the nape of Isaac’s neck and pulled him gently forward. Isaac breathed through parted lips, eyes locked on Constans’ mouth. He wanted a taste.

“I do, not a lot, but enough to manage. I’m not a ‘little’ anything, either,” he whispered. He couldn’t stop the grin at Constans’ low growl in response, a sexy rumble that lit a fire low in his belly. “Kiss me.”

His mouth was claimed before his finished the words, and he pushed into it, arms around Constans’ neck while firm hands on his ass. He groaned, tilting his head, and kissed back with everything he had. Constans gripped his buttocks hard and Isaac was lifted to sit on the table, legs spread, Constans between them. He ran his hands through soft, silky strands of thick blond hair and gripped tight, swallowing the sharp growl from the predator devouring his mouth.

About The Author

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My name is Sheena, and I have more pen names than I probably should. I write as SJ Himes, Revella Hawthorne, and Sheena Himes. I reside in the mountains of Maine (closer to Canada than I am to fresh lobster) on a 300-year-old farm beside a river in the woods.

My companions are my furbabies: Micah, my large dog who hates birds; and Wolf and Silfur, two cats who love me but hate each other. I write romances with an emphasis on plot and character development, and almost all my characters are LGBTQ+ and that’s on purpose.

To keep current on what I’m working on and where to find me on social media, go to my website: www.sjhimes.com

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Release Blitz: Avalon’s Last Knight by Jackson C. Garton

Avalon’s Last Knight | Jackson C. Garton

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Publisher: Pride Publishing

Cover Artist: Louisa Maggio

Release Date: April 28, 2020

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 80,000 words/ 291 pages

It is a standalone story.

Buy Links:

Pride Publishing/First for Romance

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Blurb

Lance has loved Arthur for nearly a thousand years but has never had the courage to act on it—‘til now.

After being away at college for a year, Lance Lotte returns to Avalon, Kentucky for the summer.

Due to self-imposed isolation, he hasn’t seen anyone in months, but all that changes when Arthur–his closest friend, and the love of his life–shows up to his new job with a big toothy grin.

The last time Lance saw Arthur, the two had not parted on the best of terms–with Arthur’s father finding them asleep on his bed, and physically wrenching Lance away from Arthur. The incident put a strain on their relationship, and convinced Lance that they will never be allowed to be together.

But then Arthur sends Lance a text one night, telling him that he’s in love with him–a text Lance rereads at least a hundred times, but isn’t brave enough to mention when they’re alone. Lance has fought his attraction to Arthur for the past five years because as a budding brujo, he believes in magick, destiny, and fate–that everything happens for a reason–that nothing good will come of an Arthur Pendragon-Lance A. Lotte pairing.

With the help of his sister, Gwen Lotte, Arthur, and two twins visiting their uncle for the summer, Mordy and Morgan Lafayette, Lance learns the true meaning of friendship, and just how far he will go to save the people he loves.

Excerpt

Arthur laces up his other boot and says, “I asked if you were seeing anyone at the moment.”

The question slithers its way up my neck and squeezes at my throat, cutting off my oxygen. Arthur has a way of doing this to me, and I know by the way he asked the question that it’s been on his mind for some time now.

“I don’t really have time to do much other than study, you know?” I say, taking a seat on the black futon in the living room. “I’m kind of boring.”

Arthur straightens his back and unbuttons his pants, then tucks in his shirt. “Well,” he replies, “I don’t plan on doing anything this summer other than working, and trying to spend as much time with you as I can. How does that sound?”

My phone buzzes and I pull it out of my pocket. Gwen has finally responded, but instead of an apology, she’s texted a picture of two men dressed in black leather, kissing. I roll my eyes and shove the phone back into my pocket. Ass. When I raise my head, I see Arthur staring at me.

“What?” I ask, hoping that he didn’t see Gwen’s text. “What is it?”

He sits down beside me on the futon and fixes my shirt collar.

I’m just waitin’ for you to ask me if I’m seeing anyone,” he says, not meeting my eyes.
Arthur hasn’t always been so forward, but in the year that I’ve been away, he’s become a proper man. Working a full-time job, living by himself, driving his own car and paying all of his bills—a truly admirable thing for a man who’s not quite nineteen years old. I don’t know how he does it.

I swallow and look down at the relatively fresh tattoos on my knuckles. They’re not peeling anymore, but they have started itching, and I silently chide myself for not keeping lotion in my bag. The moon on my thumb is the worst offender.
“Are you seeing anyone?” My question is barely audible.

“Nope,” he says, buttoning and unbuttoning my collar. “I’m as single as it gets.”
“That’s not what your Instagram suggests,” I say, catching his hands mid-buttoning. Our eyes finally meet. “Looks like you have a different girl every week.”
Arthur bites his bottom lip and wags his head. “You know everything posted on the Internet ain’t real life. And besides, I wouldn’t lie to ya.”

Arthur has asked me out twice now, and both times I have turned him down because I’m not ready for a relationship. Or rather, I’m not ready to have my heart broken by this man. It’s one of the reasons why I didn’t come home this past year. Actually, he’s the main reason, if I’m being completely honest with myself.

The moment I first laid eyes on Arthur, I knew he would be my undoing. I can’t resist a man with blond hair and brown eyes—they make for a deadly concoction when combined.

About the Author

Equal parts dandy and disaster, Jackson C. Garton is a writer and LGBTQ activist hailing from the hills of Appalachia. He currently resides in Central Kentucky with his husband, child, and four cats.

When Jackson isn’t reading or writing, you can find him examining people’s natal charts, researching queer history, planning his next ghost hunt, or milling about the supernatural section of his local bookstore.

Social Media

Blog/Website | Facebook | Twitter @jacksoncgarton | Instagram

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New Release Blitz: Winter Masquerade by Kevin Klehr

Winter Masquerade | Kevin Klehr

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Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: January 20, 2020

Heat Level: 2 – Fade to Black Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 32,800

Buy Links:

NineStar Press | Amazon

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Blurb

Ferris wakes on the Sea Queen, an enchanted cruise ship sailing on a chocolate sea. He has no idea how he got here, but he desperately wants to go home to his boyfriend.

The alchemist is the only person who can help Ferris, but he’s been kidnapped. The ransom is high tea with scones and jam.

Meanwhile, the passengers are gearing up for the Winter Masquerade, a ball where love and magic reign.

With a murderous musician, an absent boyfriend, and a mystical party, Ferris soon learns that Wednesday is not the day to fall in love.

Excerpt

Winter Masquerade
Kevin Klehr © 2020
All Rights Reserved

Pitch black. Then candlelight. One lonely flame lit the face of a plump-faced man in a robe.

“How did I get here?” I asked.

“That’s not important right now,” the monk replied. “It’s where you’re going.” He reached for a journal, which sat on the stool to his right, and set the candle in its place. He flipped several pages and held it to the flame. “Are you fond of voyages?”

I shook like nervous prey. “I really need to know how I got here.”

“You’re a troubled man in need of rest and recreation. And a healthy dose of self-reflection.”

“But—”

“I wish you’d stop asking questions. You’ve never bothered listening to those who’ve responded.”

Harmonious chants filled the silence. These men’s voices calmed me, even though a dozen questions still needed answering.

Another light appeared coming from a round window. I shuffled toward it. There I was in the dark on the other side. I lay sleeping.

About the Author

Kevin lives with his husband, Warren, in their humble apartment (affectionately named Sabrina), in Australia’s own ‘Emerald City,’ Sydney.

His tall tales explore unrequited love in the theatre district of the Afterlife, romance between a dreamer and a realist, and a dystopian city addicted to social media.

His first novel, Drama Queens with Love Scenes, spawned a secondary character named Guy. Many readers argue that Guy, the insecure gay angel, is the star of the Actors and Angels book series. His popularity surprised the author. The third in this series, Drama Queens and Devilish Schemes, scored a Rainbow Award (judged by fans of queer fiction) for Best Gay Alternative Universe/Reality novel.

So, with his fictional guardian angel guiding him, Kevin hopes to bring more whimsical tales of love, life and friendship to his readers.

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