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Blog Tour: Striking Balance by Jeanne G’Fellers

Striking Balance | Jeanne G’Fellers

Appalachian Elementals #3

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Publisher: Mountain Gap Books

Release Date: July 21st, 2020

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Blurb

Benjamin Schnell is the possessor of secrets he wishes he could bury beneath the rich Nolichucky river flat dirt he farms alongside his dear friend, Conall. But secrets lead to lies, lead to more secrets, and all eventually come home to roost in a bed of distrust, even on the 1779 Appalachian frontier.

After Ben is injured, he realizes there are odd things happening around him that others cannot see. Corner shadows take human shapes, lightning bugs dance in broad daylight, and the farm’s strange owner, Master Gow, returns with an offer Conall cannot refuse if Ben is to live. But making a deal with Master Gow will take them deep into the mountains to where a haunted king reigns and Fire balances Water in a delicate natural friendship.

Ben must learn self-acceptance and trust if he and Conall are going to survive because there can be no secrets in the mountains, only truth.

Another rich tale from the Appalachian Elementals world focusing on complex families containing rich LGBTQIA+ characters.

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Excerpt

I open my eyes to whitewashed walls and sunlight streaming through large open windows covered by gauzy curtains. This is a quiet space reminiscent of my youth. The window is wide to the afternoon air, my pillow is soft, my bed comfortable with sweetgrass, and I rest beneath the lightest of patchworks. And my shirt ‘tis cotton. Heaven. Yes, I am certain I have reached the hereafter. Perhaps I can see Mutti again and—

“Get back here ye’ fool!” I turn my head in time to see Alexandria pause before a window. Her face is flushed, and her hands are in fists at her sides. “Get back here wit’ mah pie!”

“Come get it, you flightless baggage!”

My thoughts of Heaven erode when Alexandria launches into a long line of Scots-Gaelic curses of the likes I have not heard since I left the mine. This is not the Alexandria I know and respect, not the voice of a proper lady at all. She hisses as she threatens to cut off his twiddle-diddles with her kitchen knife, cook them in the pottage, and feed them back to him.

“Return Lexy’s hard work, boy.” This is Master Gow’s voice, but ‘tis also not, higher in tone but equally powerful, and I wonder if he has a sister. “And the crust best not be broke!”

“But… ow!” I am unable to see what occurs next, but a man crosses in front of the window with a pie in his hands and something or someone I cannot see is dragging him. “Ow! King Dane, please! I am sorry, Lexy, real sorry!”

King? This woman who I suspect is related to Master Gow is named King Dane? Whatever… My cough returns, deep and fluidic, but ‘tis clearly not to be my death so I look for something to spit into.

“There’s a bucket of sawdust at your bedside, Benjamin.” Master Gow’s sister speaks from just outside the window. “I’ll be there shortly to talk with you.” Her voice turns away. “Go cut two days of wood for the main kitchen,” she tells the man who is still apologizing to Alexandria.

“But I got hides to scrape and…”

“Do it! Then scrape them hides.”

“Ow! Yes, King Dane.”

I crawl deep beneath my quilt when their voices fade. Where am I? At this point, I have no clue, but I believe I am alive. The table beside my bed is laden with bottles, jars, a fleam and cup, but there is also a mug so I sit up, examining the contents, water, before I drink.

I startle when the door to the apartment swings open. “Ah brought ye soup an’ tea.” Ceardach deposits a tray onto my lap. There’s also buttered bread on the tray, along with bacon, eggs, and a bowl of beans.

“Thank ye, but I need to…”

“Of course.” Ceardach pulls the tray away. “Th’ pot’s under th’ bed.”

I hesitate, but my need is too great so I swallow my pride, thankful when he moves to stand in the doorway with his back to me.

“Ye need tae drink more.” Ceardach returns to my side when I am abed and pushes the pot under the bed after he examines the contents. “An’ ye best get over bein’ bashful right quick. Someone will use it against ye.” He drops the tray onto my lap, “Eat.” pulls his pipe and pouch and begins filling the bowl, watching as I take up my spoon. The food has most certainly been made under Alexandria’s watch. I can tell by the seasonings, and… I am nearing famished.

“Slow an’ steady. Let one bite settle afore th’ next.” Ceardach lights his pipe so quickly I see nothing but a flash. The outside din continually grows while I eat, but Ceardach pays it no heed. I hear hammers striking anvils, a proliferation of swearing, wood being split and stacked, the sounds of a wider community. The smells coming through the door would be enough to turn my stomach if I was not so hungry. Baking bread, multiple privies, wood, ash, dirt, burning wood, herbs, and… I smell iron and sulfur, but none of it quells my appetite to the point I cease eating.

“Am I in a town?” I shovel more into my mouth.

“Of sorts. Ye will grow accustomed tae it all.” Ceardach blows out a billow of white smoke that rings his head then drifts away. “Yer cough an’ congestion will fade in time.”

I nod and bite into my bread. My appetite must be part of my recovery, a drive for nourishment so I might heal quickly. There is another bed I have ignored until now, unmade, with blankets folded neatly at the foot. “Where am I?”

“In the kingdom.” He points to my water. “Drink.”

“But…”

“Drink first.”

I am obedient, but he tells me to empty the mug before he will speak further. “Good, now—” Ceardach raises his head. “Ah, here’s yer answer.”

I attempt to sort through all I see, but ‘tis difficult. Is this Master Gow or—

“Stop gawkin’. ‘Twill get you slapped ‘round here.”

“If not hit or cut,” adds Ceardach. “Sit, Dane. Ah will step out but stay close.”

“Aye, Ceardach, thank you.”

I see a woman’s face, a man’s work cap atop her head. “You’re still under my protection. That hasn’t changed, but the rest…” She wears trousers and a calf-length smith’s apron over a man’s red check work shirt with rolled sleeves. “You’re starin’ even longer than Conall did.” She pulls a tobacco twist from her apron pocket and bites off a piece. “Are you as tongue-tied too?”

“I…” This woman bears the same tattows as Master Gow. “No, sir, I mean, miss, I mean…”

“You’ll address me as King Dane ‘til I tell you elsewise.” My spit bucket slides across the floor to her feet. “How will you address me?”

“I…”

“Say it, Benjamin.” She spits into the bucket. “‘Tis important you know my station ‘round here.”

“Yes, King Dane.” But this is a woman. How does she warrant the title of king?

“And you never disobey your king, right, Benjamin?”

“Yes… King Dane?”

“Smart man. ‘Tis why I chose you, but I made Conall in the process, an excellent deal I am pleased we could accommodate.” King Dane seems amused by my gaping mouth. “Calm yourself. I hear your heart poundin’ from here.”

About The Author

AUTHOR PIC - Striking Balance - Jeanne GFellers

Born and raised in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Science Fiction and Fantasy author Jeanne G’Fellers’ early memories include watching the original Star Trek series with their father and reading the books their librarian mother brought home. Jeanne’s writing influences include Anne McCaffrey, Ursula K. LeGuin, Octavia Butler, Isaac Asimov, and Frank Herbert.

Jeanne lives in Northeast Tennessee with their spouse and five crazy felines. Their home is tucked against a small woodland where they regularly see deer, turkeys, raccoons, and experience the magic of the natural world.

Author Website: https://jeannegfellersauthor.com/

Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/Jeannegfellersauthor

Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/jlgfellers

Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authorjeannegfellers/

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/kindle-dbs/entity/author/B01N0YWCT7?

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Series Review Tour: The Midwest Series by Brigham Vaughn

The Midwest Series | Brigham Vaughn

SERIES REVIEW TOUR BANNER

Overall Heat Rating: 4 flames

Publisher: Two Peninsulas Press

Cover Artist: Brigham Vaughn

Series Blurb

It was more than a decision, it was serendipity.

A former college hockey star’s decision to come out of the closet and reunite with his high school boyfriend does more than change the direction of their lives.

It sets into motion events that will lead to their respective best friends, a former hockey player and a psychology major, being stuck on a summer road trip together.

They cross paths with another old friend, an injured pro baseball player whose been forced to move in with his physical therapist. Old hurts are healed and the six become close friends.

When a night out for the guys leads to their meeting an Olympic hopeful swimmer who is fascinated by a drag queen it’s clear that none of their lives will ever be the same.

They are standalone stories featuring four different couples. Reading in order is helpful but not required.

Bully & Exit

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Length: 78 986 words/ 264 pages

Release Date: First edition – July 9, 2015 Second edition – June 30, 2020

Universal Link:

Available on Kindle Unlimited

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Blurb

It’s time to leave college and the closet behind.

Nathan Rhodes has put hockey first for most of his life, but as graduation looms, he has a different goal in mind. He needs to come out and reclaim his first love. If only Caleb will believe him…

Theater geek Caleb Stockwell gave up on love when his boyfriend chose the closet over being with an openly bisexual guy. Now, he hides his heartbreak behind a string of casual hookups. He loves the drama on stage, but he’s done with the drama of Nathan Rhodes. For good.

Nathan is determined to right the wrongs of four years ago, but the clock is ticking.

One month until he and Caleb go their separate ways. One month to take a final shot at winning Caleb’s heart back.

Win or lose, everything is on the line.

Excerpt

Bully & Exit

Nathan’s voice was soft when he spoke, gentle like it’d always been. “Caleb Stockwell. I’ve been looking for you.”

Caleb cleared his throat and ignored him, tipping the bottle up for another long drink. He licked the spiciness from his lips as he debated making another run for it. There was a shrub blocking his way in one direction and a hockey player in the other. Even if he hadn’t been drinking, the odds weren’t in his favor. “Nathan Rhodes,” he managed.

“Damn I can’t believe it’s you!” Nathan leaned in and Caleb pulled back, uncomfortable with him being so close.

Caleb laughed bitterly. “It’s me. Now that you’ve satisfied your curiosity, you can run along.” He motioned with his hand, encouraging Nathan to leave.

“It’s really good to see you,” Nathan said, ignoring him. He took a seat on the pile of discarded construction materials, his knees brushing Caleb’s as he lowered himself down. Caleb pulled away as if scorched.

“Yeah? Too bad I can’t say the same,” he muttered, his head swimming as the alcohol began to hit him. He eyed Nathan’s long, long legs and the way he was pinned in by them, remembering the way they’d felt tangled with his as they came, panting shallowly against each other’s skin. It brought it all back; the scent of Nathan’s cologne, the taste of his skin, the way Caleb’s heart raced in his chest when Nathan held him close. It brought back the memories the ones he’d worked so hard to run from. The good and the bad. The sharp, intense happiness of falling for Nathan. The aching, crushing hurt that paralyzed Caleb for months after Nathan was no longer in his life. Everything he’d buried four years ago and vowed never to touch again.

He caught the first glimpse of doubt on Nathan’s face. “Are you okay, Caleb?”

“Oh, I’m mother fucking peachy,” he snarked and took another long drink. “I’ve made it through four fucking years trying to ignore the fact we’re on the same campus and with barely a month left in my senior year, I thought maybe I’d managed to pull it off. But nooo, Lowell had to drag me to this goddamn party, and of course you showed up too. Just my fucking luck.”

He raised the bottle again, but Nathan wrapped a hand around the neck and tugged. He was stronger than Caleb, so Caleb let go, afraid he’d end up getting pulled into Nathan’s lap if he didn’t. Nathan took a drink and passed the bottle back, licking the taste of rum off his lips before he spoke. “You’re so angry at me.”

“Ya think?” Caleb snarled. “Didn’t it ever occur to you I would be? What the hell makes you think you can waltz in here and pretend like all the shit that went down between us didn’t happen?” He tried to stand, but Nathan’s dark denim-clad knees were on either side of his, pinning him in place. He pried the bottle from Caleb’s suddenly limp fingers and set it aside.

“I don’t think that,” Nathan protested. “I was just glad to see you and I … I wanted a chance to apologize. I didn’t … I wanted …”

Caleb’s lips parted in surprise as cool fingers framed his face and for the first time in four long years, Nathan’s lips were pressed to his again. Involuntarily, Caleb closed his eyes, feeling a rush of heat wash over him, taking him right back to the first time. Before Nathan broke his heart.

Push & Pull

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Length: 91 467 words/ 316 pages

Release Date: October 24, 2018

Universal Link:

Available on Kindle Unlimited

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Blurb

It was just supposed to be a road trip.

Former hockey player Brent Cameron has a plan now that he’s out of the closet. He’ll take a summer road trip, find a job, and settle down with a fellow jock. Lowell Prescott is not part of that plan, but when Brent’s travel companion bails, he’s the only option.

Out and proud, Lowell has a love of sports, a flair of fashion, and a disdain for anything conventional. Burned by past relationships, he’s wary of jocks who want to change him—and that includes Brent Cameron.

Tempers flare and sparks fly as the miles disappear behind them. Just as it seems they might be on a journey to something more than Lake Superior, Brent receives a phone call that could change everything.

Will Brent stay with Lowell and ignore a friend in need, or go sit by the bedside of the man who broke Lowell’s heart?

The stakes are high when you play for keeps.

Touch & Go

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Length: 101 817 words/ 410 pages

Release Date: September 27, 2019

Universal Link:

Available on Kindle Unlimited

mybook.to/TouchGo

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Blurb

It was supposed to be a secret fling.

Micah Warner spent his whole life dreaming of pitching in the big leagues. Signing with a minor-league team near Chicago puts him one step closer to making that a reality. But there are no out players in pro ball, so any involvement with a man must be discreet.

Physical therapist Justin Lamb loves his job with the Cougars. A romantic at heart, he wants to find lasting love—with a man or woman—but traveling with the team makes it difficult to maintain a long-term relationship.

Micah offers Justin a no-strings-attached way to blow off some steam, and Justin reluctantly agrees. It doesn’t take long before they’re both in over their heads but falling in love will risk everything.

With their careers and relationship hanging in the balance, they have one last play to make.

It’s time to take a swing for real and lasting love.

Advance & Retreat

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Length: 105 980 words/368 pages

Release Date: July 14, 2020

Universal Link:

Available on Kindle Unlimited

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Blurb

Olympic-size dreams come at a price.

Openly gay college swimmer Ian Harrington feels like he’s fighting against a current of tragedy. He’s grieving the loss of his parents and best friend, and now he’s dealing with a toxic coach and judgmental brother. But he won’t let that stop him from chasing his dream: Olympic gold.

Ricky Chavez has just about everything he wants in life: a great career, a supportive family, and a side gig as drag queen Rosie Riveting. The only thing he’s missing is a partner to share it all with.

When the two men connect after Rosie’s performance, they’re immediately drawn to one another. But it’s never that simple. Ricky isn’t the type of man to hide, and with Ian’s coach breathing down his neck, he can’t openly love a drag queen without making waves.

They’ll have to brave deep waters to make it to the finish line.

About the Author

Brigham Vaughn is on the adventure of a lifetime as a full-time author. She devours books at an alarming rate and hasn’t let her short arms and long torso stop her from doing yoga. She makes a killer key lime pie, hates green peppers, and loves wine tasting tours.

A collector of vintage Nancy Drew books and green glassware, she enjoys poking around in antique shops and refinishing thrift store furniture. An avid photographer, she dreams of traveling the world and she can’t wait to discover everything else life has to offer her.

Her books range from short stories to novellas to novels. They explore gay, bisexual, lesbian, and polyamorous romance in contemporary settings.

Social Media

Blog | Facebook | Facebook Author Page | Fan Group (Brigham’s Book Nerds)

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New Release Blitz: Out on the Serve by Lane Hayes

Out on the Serve | Lane Hayes

Out in College #7

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Release Date: July 10th, 2020

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 55K

Buy Link:

Amazon US

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Blurb

Roommates to friends to lovers…

Elliot-

I need a roommate fast. Even a temporary one. Beggars can’t be choosers. Going pro after graduation has been intense, and time is precious. Thankfully, Braden seems cool. He’s a little quirky…and very sexy. Of course, I would never get involved with a roommate. That’s a bad idea. Isn’t it?

Braden-

Moving to Long Beach seems like a no brainer. It’ll be a perfect chance to wind down before grad school and a nice respite from my folks. Plus, my new roommate is a great guy. A little messy, but sweet. Gotta admit, I like him more than I should. And we’re off to a strange start when a mutual friend hooks me up with his ex.

Elliot’s the one I want, but going from friends to lovers is a risk. We could end up out on the serve…or we could win it all.

Excerpt

Ten minutes later, I tied a towel around my waist and opened the bathroom door to release some steam just as Braden opened his bedroom door.

It might have been my imagination or wishful thinking, but I could have sworn he eye-fucked me before he met my gaze.

“Mornin’,” I said in a raspy voice.

“Good morning.”

“How’d you sleep?”

“Pretty good. Are you going to the beach today?” he asked awkwardly.

“Yeah. I’m leaving soon.”

“Hmm. I heard the swell is huge,” he said in a fast, clipped tone.

I crossed my arms and leaned against the doorjamb. “Yeah, I heard that too. There’s some big storm off the coast of Mexico.”

“Right.”

“Want to come with me?”

“To Mexico?”

I barked a laugh. “No, dork. To the beach.”

Braden chuckled. “Believe it or not, I’m going to the theater. Sophie talked me into trying out the assistant gig. Hopefully, it’ll keep me out of trouble.”

And there was the opening I needed. I wasn’t sure how to word it, though. The hint of unease between us told me that I should proceed with caution. We had to be on the same page and willing to try something new and—fuck. My window of opportunity was closing. Braden’s cheeks reddened as he mumbled a good-bye.

I grabbed his wrist before he closed his door, ignoring the spark and sizzle that zipped along my spine. “Hang on…thank you.”

“For what?”

“The cereal.”

“Oh.” He let out a half laugh and yes…his face went a shade pinker. Fuck, that was both cute and hot at the same time. “It was silly.”

“I love silly. I’m a huge fan of all things ridiculous. Ask anyone.”

“I believe you.”

“Good. So…let’s agree that this doesn’t have to be weird. We’re grown adults. Well, you are anyway. We can call it a celebratory kiss if you want and move on. What d’ya say?”

“Yes, okay. I’m—I’m sorry about”—he circled his wrist meaningfully—“everything. I overreacted.”

“You mean the part when you yelled at me for getting sand on the floor? I forgive you.”

“No, I was serious about that part.”

“I know. But don’t worry about the other thing. Boners happen.”

Braden sputtered. “I did not have a boner.”

“Liar. We both did. Might have been your mom’s fudge,” I teased.

“You think my mother’s homemade fudge gave you a hard-on,” he repeated incredulously.

“Dude, chocolate totally gives me wood. Or maybe she added a chemical substance that made us too relaxed.”

“Like what?”

“I don’t know…weed?”

Braden snickered. “Unlikely. My mom is very proper. I don’t think she even knows what weed looks like.”

“Hmm. You seem kind of proper too. Do you take after her?”

“Maybe, but I know what weed looks like,” he assured me. “My roommate in the dorms my freshman year was very fond of the stuff. We didn’t get along at all. He was a total—”

“Slob?” I supplied, quirking my brows.

“Yeah.” He shrugged carelessly. “I was probably overbearing, but in my defense, I come from a super rigid household. I’m an only child, and I was sick a lot when I was little. I had colic and sensitivity issues. I’d break out in rashes if I was in the sun for five minutes or if I ate citrus. My asthma was off the charts. I had a nebulizer at home, and I carried inhalers everywhere I went.”

“That’s a lot of information,” I said with a laugh.

He winced, then sucked in a deep breath. “Sorry. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. My geek is showing.”

“Ha. Nothing wrong with that. You like me, eh?”

Braden chuckled. Like I’d hoped he would. “What makes you think that?”

“You kissed me. Twice. We might as well get married and pick out His and His towels. Thoughts?”

“Great idea. Just don’t tell my mom. She’d have a heart attack. She was already worried I’d moved in with you because you were my…”

“Boyfriend,” I supplied.

“Yeah, except she has a hard time saying that word, so it comes out in a strained whisper like…boyfriend.” Braden modulated his voice to sound like a scared woman. He grinned when I busted up laughing, and I could have sworn a ray of sunshine burst through the wall of our apartment.

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About the Author

Lane Hayes 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. 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, 2017, and 2018-2019 Rainbow Awards. She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order).

Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in a newly empty nest.

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