Tag Archives: contemporary

Release Blitz: Who We Used To Be by Dara Nelson

Who We Used to Be | Dara Nelson

Do-Over Series #1

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Publisher: Dare Publishing

Cover Artist: Dara Nelson

Cover Photo: Dan Skinner/DWS Photography

Release Date: June 15, 2019

Genre/s: Contemporary, MM, Romance

Heat Rating: 5 flames

Length: 51,356 words/280 pages

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Available on Kindle Unlimited

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Blurb

Ten years ago Zeke Malloy had everything:

A happy childhood, a shot at a state championship wrestling title, a best friend, a boyfriend (albeit a secret one but that was okay because, once they graduated, that would change).

He had love, happiness……a heart.

All of that changed in the blink of an eye.

One moment he was deliriously happy, looking forward to a future with Digger Brandt, building a life, a home, a forever, with him.

And then it was gone, disappearing like the tears that flowed down Zeke’s cheeks as he watched from the back of the church as Digger married Lisa – with his father sitting proudly in the front pew. Those tears were still flowing when he walked out of that church and went directly to the nearest recruiting office. Because he didn’t just lose the love of his life that day, he lost his hopes, his dreams, he lost…..himself.

For the next ten years he was a machine – the best Marine, the best friend, but like a machine, he did it all without a beating heart. His was dead…..or was it?

Was ten years too long?

Was a broken heart too much?

Zeke didn’t know. Hell, he wasn’t even sure he wanted to know.

From the moment Digger walked up behind him and said in that smooth, sexy voice that used to light Zeke up six ways from Sunday, “The man I knew never had a problem with it,”, the only thing Zeke knew now was that he was about to find out.

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Excerpt

Zeke stared at the amber colored liquid in his glass while trying to figure out what he was feeling. That was just the thing. He wasn’t feeling anything.

He was numb.

If he really allowed himself to think about it, he’d been numb for a decade. Since the day he’d opened his front door and had seen that invitation sticking out from under his doormat. That was the last day he’d felt anything at all. And what he’d felt then was total, utter devastation as he collapsed onto the porch swing as those words penetrated his brain. Such a profound sense of not only sadness, but the devastating knowledge that life as he knew it was over.

Everything he thought he knew was shattered.

How could he do this?

Everything he thought he could have was gone.

Did he know her? Had he been cheating the whole time?

And anger – god there was so much anger.

The cowardly fucker didn’t even have the balls to look him in the eye when he destroyed him.

He swore he could feel his heart shattering into a million pieces. It was also the day that he lost all hope of finding his happily ever after.

It was the day he was forced to come to terms with the fact that he and Digger were not meant to be.

Shit. Every time one of Zeke’s crappy relationships ended, he always thought of Digger.

Digger Brandt. The first boy he’d kissed. The first boy he’d touched. The first…and only…. boy he’d ever loved.

Digger Brandt. The man who had destroyed Zeke Malloy. Ruined him for all others.

“Fuck,” he mumbled as he scrubbed a hand over his face. He really needed to stop doing this.

He had to find a way to get over Digger Brandt once and for all.

But how?

As he brought his glass up until it touched his lips, he felt a presence behind him, the heat of someone close, someone big, someone strong, someone that Zeke might be able to get lost in.

“I don’t bottom,” he said, getting that shit outta the way right quick.

A deep chuckle rumbled out of the man’s chest. It was so sexy it made Zeke’s balls tingle.

“The man I knew never had a problem with it.”

Zeke’s eyes squeezed shut.

He knew that voice.

He’d felt that voice.

He’d swallowed that voice into his body when the man came, dozens of times.

He still heard that voice every time he jacked off, despite trying to fight it with everything he had.

If he allowed himself to, he could easily get lost in that voice again.

He shook his head.

No. Not again. Never again.

“The boy you knew doesn’t exist anymore,” he growled and then he tipped back his glass, welcoming the burn as the liquid slid down his throat.

He felt the change in the man behind him, knew without looking that he’d gone from self-assured, cocky even, to unsteady, remorseful…..guilty.

Good.

“Zeke, I….”
“Don’t, Digger. Just fucking don’t. Go back to your perfect house, your white picket fence, your beautiful wife, your two point five kids. Go back to whatever fake little happy life you built and leave me the fuck alone.”

God. Ten fucking years of trying to forget him erased in sixty seconds.

He signaled to Joe, the bartender, for another and tried to ignore the fact that he could still feel Digger behind him.

When Digger slid onto the empty stool next to Zeke, he wanted to turn and walk out.

But he couldn’t.

He felt like he was anchored to his spot with a one-ton boulder.

To be honest, he was anchored, but not by a boulder; by a six-foot-one heart-breaking asshole named Douglas Digger Brandt.

Zeke refused to turn and look at the man.

Truth be told, he was afraid to look.

Afraid that he just might drop to his knees and beg the man to love him, to really love him, the way Zeke thought he had all those years ago, the way Zeke had loved him, the way a still fucking loved him.

Hell, he’d probably even offer to be his dirty little secret if Digger asked him to.

Just anything to get the man to touch him one more time.

Nobody had ever touched Zeke the way that Digger had, like he was trying to fuse them together, like he was pulling whatever it was that made Zeke, Zeke, into himself. He didn’t even have to touch Zeke’s dick, although that was amazing too. Just the tips of his fingers on Zeke’s skin or the brush of his lips on his neck made Zeke feel like he was the only thing in the world that mattered.

Everything that was Digger slid effortlessly together with Zeke like the pieces of a perfect puzzle.

A puzzle whose pieces Digger had scattered to the wind the moment he had walked away.

Maybe nobody had ever touched Zeke like that since because he’d never allowed it, because he’d never let someone get that close.

Never again.

A heartbreak like that was something you never forgot – it changed you.

About the Author

I did not choose to write…..writing chose me

Kendel Duncan is the pen name for Dara Nelson. Why a pen name? I first chose it because I was initially writing in two different genres (M/F Paranormal and Gay Romance). I’ve since transitioned into a strictly gay romance author – writing romance, action, suspense and second chance romances.

I’ve tackled subjects that I’m very proud of, including losing a spouse, living with HIV, among other things.

I was born and raised in the Bay Area of Northern California but have made my home in the Pacific Northwest for more than two decades. My husband & I live on a small farm surrounded by chickens, goats, 5 dogs, and a cat, in the shadow of stunning Mt Rainier.

With my grown children and grandchildren nearby, my life is always busy, happy and full of laughter.

I am an active Blogger, having created Love Unchained Book Reviews out of my love for all things reading – mostly MM books.

Owner of Dare Publishing & Design – Offering quality, affordable services for indie authors, including:

Editing, Publishing, Book Cover Design and more!

When I’m not on the phone with my best friend (which is at least once every day) – I am an avid, addicted reader. It is my passion, my escape, my joy
And I am most definitely a writer. The characters in my head are constantly demanding that their story be told.
But above all that – I am a human being. My passion for people is unparalleled, my firm belief in Love is Love unwavering, my hope that all can be accepted, undying. I do not write because I want to, I do it because I have to. I write because these voices, these beautiful men, have chosen me to tell their stories – and how damn lucky am I for that?

As an author, I write under both my name and my pen name (Kendel Duncan), with total transparency and honesty.

Dara Nelson is the author of:

Author of the successful ‘Healing Hearts’ series (Love in the Aftermath, Love After Chaos, Love Worth Fighting For – and more to come soon)

Under the pen name Kendel Duncan:

Author of the popular & critically acclaimed ‘Black Ops Heroes’ series and the new top-selling ‘Doyle Global Securities’ series

Social Media

Blog/Website

Twitter: @daranel

Facebook

Instagram: @daranel1

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Blog Tour: Melting For You by A.M. Arthur

Melting For You | A.M. Arthur

Neighborhood Shindig Series #1

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Contemporary MM Romance

Release Date: 13.06.19

Cover Designer: Sloan J Designs https://www.facebook.com/sloanjdesigns/

Universal Link: getbook.at/MeltingForYou

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Blurb

After his father’s heart attack, Isaiah Morrell gave up cooking in his own high-end Atlanta restaurant to return home to Reynolds, North Carolina, in order to help his father Thomas heal and to keep an eye on his business Neighborhood Shindig.

A collection of food trucks and other small businesses, Shindig is a popular destination in this college town, but Isaiah longs for the fast pace of a big-city kitchen. Until he meets Joel…

Joel Fisher has been out of commission from a serious illness for the better part of a year, but now he’s ready to reclaim his life—except his apartment has been sublet, his partner is missing, and their shared food truck is stripped of everything not attached. In short, Joel has nothing.

After an uncomfortable night sleeping on the food truck floor, Isaiah and Thomas Morrell give Joel an offer he can’t refuse: a rented room in their house, as well as their help creating a new food truck concept. Joel hates accepting charity, but he’s hit rock bottom and has nowhere to go but up.

Working with seemingly uptight Isaiah is actually pretty fun, and the pair bonds over a challenge to create a unique grilled cheese sandwich. Light flirting melts into a deeper connection neither man expects, but Isaiah isn’t in Reynolds for much longer, and Joel can’t get attached to the gorgeous professional chef.

As Isaiah’s feelings for Joel strengthen and grow, he entertains the idea of staying in Neighborhood Shindig for good—but Joel hasn’t asked him to…

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Excerpt

Joel found a parking spot near his building and got out, grateful to stretch sore, aching limbs. Long car rides were more difficult for him now, and he’d tried to stop as infrequently as possible, so eager to surprise Steve. Joel scanned the lot for Steve’s hatchback. It was midday on Tuesday, so the Shindig lot was closed—it gave not only the small business owners who rented pods, but also the owner/manager one full day off a week. Didn’t mean Steve had to be home, though.

Their unit was on the fourth floor, no elevator, and Joel hated that he was panting a bit by the time he got there. Definitely needed to start working out more, get back into shape. He was already tall and lean, but he’d lost about fifteen pounds of muscle this past year.

Excitement rolled through his belly as he put his key into their unit’s lock and turned—except it didn’t unlock. He double-checked, but yeah, right door and right key.

That’s weird.

Maybe Steve had needed to change the locks for some reason? He pushed the doorbell and waited, trying to fight back a big smile. The knob rattled and a chain slid back. The door opened about a foot and a dark-haired woman stared at him. “Can I help you?” she asked.

Joel blinked hard. “Um, does Steve Winslow live here?”

Don’t I live here?

“Not since the first of the month,” the woman replied. “He had to move suddenly, so I’m sub-leasing it through the end of the month, until my place is ready downstairs. Who are you?”

“Joel. I live here.”

“Oh, right, you’re the ex he mentioned.”

“Ex?” Ex what? He’d texted Steve yesterday about frivolous things, and Steve hadn’t said a damned thing about sub-leasing their place. A place Joel had paid this month’s rent on. “What do you mean ex?”

“He said you guys broke up, so you moved back to live with your parents in Virginia, and he’s moving…somewhere, I don’t think he said where. But your stuff is still here. He packed it up and left it in the hall closet.”

Joel did not understand what was happening right now. “We didn’t break up. We have a business together for God’s sake. I don’t understand.”

“Listen, do you want to come inside and sit? You look pale.”

“Um, yeah, thanks.”

The apartment was small, one-bedroom and only about six hundred square feet. It had come furnished, so none of the big stuff was his, and he’d taken clothing and his electronics with him to Virginia. Those personal things were in his car right now, waiting to be unpacked.

He sat on the familiar sofa, legs suddenly trembling, and tried to wrap his brain around what was happening.

The woman appeared with a bottle of water. “Here. I’m Emily, by the way.”

“Joel.” Had he already said that? “Steve never told me he moved out.”

“Oh, wow, that’s harsh. He ditched your place without telling you?”

“At least the lease isn’t up until August.” It gave him time to plan, even if it meant a strange female roommate for a few weeks. He couldn’t really afford the place on his own, and he still had no clue what was going on with the food truck.

“Um…” Emily chewed on her bottom lip. “The lease is month-to-month. It’s over in, like ten days, and I have a document with the landlord stating I’m the tenant.”

Joel gaped. “But…this is my place.”

“My place, dude, and no offense, but I do not know you, and I make it a point not to live with strange men.”

“How the hell can he change the lease without me…signing…? Fuck.” Because he dealt with college students, the building’s manager had multiple lease options. Year-long, which is what Joel always signed, but also college-term leases that lasted the length of the college’s school year, and then month-to-month options for the summer, or for temporary tenants. When Steve said he’d renewed the lease last summer while Joel was sick, Joel had assumed he’d done another full-year contract.

Joke’s on me.

“If you don’t believe me, I can get a copy of the lease,” Emily said.

“I believe you. I just don’t understand why he’d do this. Why he wouldn’t at least call and tell me he was leaving, or that if I came back I’d be homeless.”

About The Author

AM Arthur Avi Logo

A.M. Arthur was born and raised in the same kind of small town that she likes to write about, a stone’s throw from both beach resorts and generational farmland. She’s been creating stories in her head since she was a child and scribbling them down nearly as long, in a losing battle to make the fictional voices stop.

She credits an early fascination with male friendships (bromance hadn’t been coined yet back then) with her later discovery of and subsequent love affair with m/m romance stories. A.M. Arthur’s work is available from Carina Press, SMP Swerve, and Briggs-King Books.

When not exorcising the voices in her head, she toils away in a retail job that tests her patience and gives her lots of story fodder. She can also be found in her kitchen, pretending she’s an amateur chef and trying to not poison herself or others with her cuisine experiments.

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Email: am_arthur@yahoo.com

Site: http://amarthur.blogspot.com/

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Cover Reveal: Love’s Glory by Janice Jarrell

Love’s Glory | Janice Jarrell

Revolutionary Heart Series

Cover Artist: Robin Vuchnich / mycustombookcover.com

Release Date: June 29, 2019

Genre/s: Contemporary, MM, Romance

Heat Rating: 4 flames

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Blurb

They did it all for the glory of love.

In October of 2017 cocky, alpha-male Irishman, Colin Campbell, Sergeant in Charge of the Special Assault Unit of the University of Virginia Campus Police Force, dove in front of a bullet meant for a University of Virginia student. The bullet shattered his thigh and severed his femoral artery, a wound which nearly took Colin’s life and left him temporarily disabled. His infirmities robbed him of the strength and athletic prowess which had been his for most of his life leaving him humiliated and bereft.

When Colin was shot, his partner, Joshua Abrams, a Doctor of Psychology at the Rainier Clinic in Charlottesville, never once left his side. He poured every ounce of strength and love he possessed into healing the magical Irishman whom he adored and was overwhelmed with relief and gratitude when Colin was taken off the critical list. Thinking that they had survived their trial, he took Colin home, believing that their happiness was now assured.

But like many injured police officers, Colin subsequently withdrew from his partner. Overwhelmed by feelings of shame and embarrassment, he devoted himself almost obsessively to the physical therapy with which he hoped to rebuild his strength and reclaim the life he had lost. Unable to share his pain and feelings of inadequacy, he shut Joshua out, leaving him to cope alone with the post-traumatic stress he suffered as a result of Colin’s shooting.

In the following months Colin and Joshua fought to keep their relationship alive. Although deeply in love, they felt powerless to cope with the after-effects of Colin’s injuries both to his body and to his pride as a man, and to heal the emotionally devastating PTSD with which Joshua suffered.

Love’s Trials tells the story of this painful and challenging time in Colin and Joshua’s life. As we join them now, Colin is still walking with a cane and still suffering the physical after-effects of his injuries. But he and Joshua are both in therapy and are now dealing positively with the emotional and psychological damage they both endured.

They face their future side by side, determined to stand or fall together, as soul mates and lovers. This book follows them on their journey as they move toward the happy future they both long to share.

You can count on a happy ending. In fact, you can count on a happy read. In this book, Colin and his beloved Joshua have left their trials behind and now revel in Love’s Glory.

About the Author

My name is Janice Jarrell. I am a retired grandmother who lives in Seattle, WA. I have two children and three grandsons. I’ve been writing gay romance since I was twelve years old, only back then it wasn’t called ‘gay romance’. In fact, it had no name at all. It was the fifty’s, and it was worth your life to admit to being gay, let alone confess to being a girl who constantly fantasized about relationships between gay men.

Hell, I didn’t even know what a homosexual was. I lived on a farm out in the sticks in a tiny Michigan village and I’d never, to my knowledge, even heard the word. I just knew I loved the thought of boy on boy romance. I just knew that there was something hot going on between Tom Corbett and his Space Cadets and all those guys on ‘Combat’.

I wrote slash fanfiction for 30 years, writing over 337 stories, some as short as 100 words (a drabble) some as long as a series which was over 119,012 words. I enjoy writing my stories. I enjoyed the feedback I received from my readers. It was a creative release I’d been searching for my entire life and I blessed the Internet for leading me to this artistic oasis for my spirit.

Love’s Magic was my very first step into writing my own characters. I will always be grateful the slash fanfiction community for nurturing the budding author until she was ready to blossom into a fully realized novelist. It’s been an amazing thing to watch the gay community’s growth over these past twenty years. My own journey has echoed theirs in many ways, and I’m grateful to all those gay activists who fought to give the gay community the rights and privileges they always deserved.

My second contemporary gay romance novel, Love’s Trials followed Colin and Joshua on their journey as men and as a couple. The readers who fell in love with them in Love’s Magic were thrilled to see their romance continue to grow and blossom, but were forced to watch our beloved boys go through some pretty traumatic trials in this book, trials which nearly shattered their relationship. But their love proved stronger than any troubles in the end and they now move forward into the happiness they know they deserve.

Love’s Glory, my newest release,

I’m also grateful to the gay romance community, readers, authors, publishers and promoters, who are making these, my retirement years, the most creative ones of my life. When I’m not writing, I’m traveling, walking, hiking, knitting, crocheting, and weaving, and enjoying my life here in the heart of the Pacific Northwest.

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New Release Spotlight: Arctic Wild by Annabeth Albert

Arctic Wild by Annabeth Albert

Frozen Hearts #2

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Publisher: Carina Press (Harlequin)

Release Date (Print & Ebook): eBook June 3, 2019 / Print MMP June 25, 2019

Length (Print & Ebook): approx. 105,000 words / 400 pages

Subgenre: Contemporary Romance

Order now:

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/arctic-wild-2

iBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/arctic-wild/id1449963570

Google: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Annabeth_Albert_Arctic_Wild?id=Gfp_DwAAQBAJ

Harlequin: https://www.harlequin.com/shop/books/9781335006905_arctic-wild.html

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/arctic-wild-annabeth-albert/1129779447

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Arctic-Frozen-Hearts-Annabeth-Albert/dp/1335006907

READ MY REVIEW

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Blurb

When a plane crashes in the Alaskan wilderness, the best place to land is in the arms of a younger man…

Hotshot attorney Reuben Graham has finally agreed to take a vacation, when his plane suddenly plunges into the Alaskan wilderness.

Just his luck.

But his frustrations have only begun as he finds himself stranded with the injured, and superhot, pilot, a man who’s endearingly sociable—and much too young for Reuben to be wanting him this badly.

As the sole provider for his sisters and ailing father, Tobias Kooly is devastated to learn his injuries will prevent him from working or even making it back home. So when Reuben insists on giving him a place to recover, not even Toby’s pride can make him refuse. He’s never been tempted by a silver fox before, but something about Reuben is impossible to resist.

Recuperating in Reuben’s care is the last thing Toby expected, yet the closer they become, the more incredibly right it feels, prompting workaholic Reuben to question the life he’s been living. But when the pressure Toby’s under starts closing in, both men will have to decide if there’s room in their hearts for a love they never saw coming.

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Excerpt

“Doing better?” Toby’s voice was kind, and Reuben couldn’t help but enjoy the way he really did seem to care about whether Reuben was miserable or not.

“Yeah. I am. Thank you.” And he could admit that he’d used his phone at the restaurant in part to avoid staring at the handsome guide—a trick he’d used before to keep from revealing more than he wanted to. Because Toby truly was that attractive with those soul-deep dark eyes and chiseled face and lean body, and the more time he spent around him, the more Reuben found himself caught up in his charms. He had to keep reminding himself that arousal was every bit as unwanted as airsickness.

“We’re turning into Harris Bay now. You should have a good view of the glacier field.”

Field turned out to be something of a misnomer, as it was more like undulating rivers of snow and glaciers. The whole region reminded Reuben of a giant bowl, only the walls were granite and lined with hanging glaciers and impossibly tall. It was like something out of a movie, and for the first time, he understood why Craig had been so keen on coming. The scenery was unlike anything he’d seen before, and he’d seldom felt so small and insignificant as he did when confronted with the vastness of the landscape. He was more used to feeling like the gear in the center of a machine, everything else rotating around him. These sensations of having shrunk and being a speck in time compared to eons of ice were more than a little disconcerting, but also riveting at the same time.

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About the Author

Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer.

Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two children.

Social  Media

Website: http://annabethalbert.com/

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Twitter: https://twitter.com/AnnabethAlbert

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

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/annabeth_albert/

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Win one paperback set of Arctic Sun, Arctic Wild, and a swag prize pack!

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Release Blitz: The Scarecrow & George C by Mia Kerick

The Scarecrow & George C | Mia Kerick

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Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: June 3, 2019

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Length: 65,700

Buy Links:

NineStar Press | Amazon

Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

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Blurb

High school senior Van Liss is barely human. He thinks of himself as a scarecrow—ragged and unnerving, stuck and destined to spend his life cold and alone. If he ever had feelings, they were stomped out long ago by his selfish mother and her lecherous boyfriend. All he’s been left with is bitter contempt, to which he clings.

With a rough exterior long used to keep the world at bay, Van spooks George Curaco, the handsome new fry cook at the diner where he works. But George C senses there is more to the untouchable Van and refuses to stop staring, fascinated by his eccentricity. When Van learns that George C is even more cold, alone, and frightened than himself, Van welcomes him to his empty home. And ends up finding his heart.

Their road to trust is rocky and, at times, even dangerous. And looming evil threatens to keep them apart forever.

Fair warning: You may want to strap in. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Excerpt

The Scarecrow & George C
Mia Kerick © 2019
All Rights Reserved

Do us both a favor: check this out before you read

If you’re looking to read a story about a sassy teenage gay boy who refuses to behave until he meets Mr. Wonderful in Senior Honors Physics, and then is dazzled into improved conduct and future monogamy, I highly doubt this is the book for you. Believe me when I say you should close the book right now—drop it into a recycling bin if you’re all about keeping the earth green—and walk away. To this point, my life hasn’t run according to a predictable romantic formula. I don’t see a reason for this status to change.

Maybe you think you’re into something darker, so an unconventional story will suit your offbeat mood. News flash, reader: loners spend significant time in bookstores. I’m aware of the kind of books that consider themselves dark, at least in a carnal sense, and many are categorized as “New Adult,” just like this one. Between lewd front and back covers featuring tits, tats, and torsos, a threadbare plot is woven into a heavy fabric of inspired sex. You’re not likely to find that shit in here, either—but don’t I wish?

By now, you’ve probably noticed I possess a flair for the dramatic. Well, I look at it like this: creating drama staves off boredom. Not that I need to justify myself. But if you’re still with me, you’ve earned a shred of my respect. So on second thought, maybe you should keep reading.

Stick along for the ride if it pops your cork…

Friday
I towel myself off after my second, extremely necessary, shower of the morning. Mom’s cast-off pale pink towel is history thanks to unsightly smudges of black dye. Whatever. I did what I had to do, even if it was messy.

This morning, you see, I woke up and dyed my roots black. The urge to do it had been gathering steam for a few days—ever since the new kid started working at the diner. I picked up the dye on a rather compelling whim at the 24-hour pharmacy on the corner of Depot and Wilder Streets after work on Tuesday night. The rest is well-planned history.

I had to refer to a YouTube video so my roots would appear intentional, rather than a result of lazy grooming. And you may think I seem like a hot mess, but my crime against hair color has been done by careful design. Don’t delude yourself—I wasn’t going for the chic ombré look. Believe me, there’s nothing trendy about me. I want bold black roots with zero transition to the rest of my white-blond hair.

I glance in the mirror over the bathroom sink and see the male reverse of Cruella DeVil. And I smile, having achieved the “what the fuck’s up with his hair?” vibe I desire.

I suppose you want to know why I did it. That’s an easy one, and I think you’re going to appreciate my total candor. Drumroll, please: It’s because even if I’m a loner, I’m not heartless. I’m different, and I flaunt it, which is my way of keeping it real with the world. FYI: “Different” is my PC way of letting the public know I’m strange, frightening, and maybe even slightly dangerous. So, it’s better if that kid at the diner, and everybody else, looks away.

And you know what, boys and girls? I can help with that…

Here’s how: I dress like a Halloween scarecrow. Yeah, yeah… You’re wondering what, exactly, constitutes “scarecrow attire”? Go ahead, bookworm, google it. I did—I’m a visual sort of guy. You’ll see images of rigid figures, some stuffed with hay, others skinny as the barn boards they’re made of, clad in an unfortunate variety of secondhand clothing. I wear plaid flannel button-downs and overalls—yes, even to the wedding of a random second cousin last summer—peplum shirts of coarse fabric, and baggy, worn-out jeans, cinched at the waist by knotted burlap belts. Countless patches, Western bandanas, and an antique, oversized top hat finishes my retro cast-off style.

I laugh as I pull on today’s hokey duds. I’m not what you’d call the picture of fashion. In fact, I’d wager guys rarely fantasize about their boyfriends sporting dirty, patched overalls and a hat like Abraham Lincoln’s. But even if I take the hat off, you’ll see my new jet-black roots—hard as hell to appreciate on a bleached blond. Dedicate the hair color upgrade to that guy at work who won’t look away.

He probably considers himself eclectic and likes to think he appreciates life’s more unusual things. Or maybe he’s merely a Halloween maniac who is turned on by scarecrows with hair like straw. Incidentally, when I stripped my hair of color, I hoped it would further shock those around me into keeping their distance, but it seems to attract a certain fry cook.

I have fifteen minutes before I have to leave for the torture chamber most people refer to as high school, so I kneel in front of the coffee maker and brew a pot. I’ll check over my take-home Euro History quiz while it brews. No, I’m not a nerd, but I want better options for the future than I’ve had in the past.

Before you ask, I have my reasons for wanting to appear shocking to the point of repellant. And for the most part, I’ve gotten my wish. Teachers and students at school, coworkers and customers at the diner, not to mention Mom and Jake downstairs, all glance at the floor when I walk by. But this guy fixes his gaze on me. Maybe my unnatural black roots will scare him off, the way a good scarecrow stuck in a vast cornfield scares away so many crows.

I just don’t understand why he can’t see how frightening I am.

You can see it, can’t you?

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Meet the Author

Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—one in law school, another at a dance conservatory, a third studying at Mia’s alma mater, Boston College, and her lone son still in high school.

She has published more than twenty books of LGBTQ romance when not editing National Honor Society essays, offering opinions on college and law school applications, helping to create dance bios, and reviewing English papers. Her husband of twenty-five years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about this, as it is a sensitive subject.

Mia focuses her stories on the emotional growth of troubled young people and their relationships. She has a great affinity for the tortured hero in literature, and as a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with tales of tortured heroes and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to NineStar Press for providing her with an alternate place to stash her stories.

Her books have been featured in Kirkus Reviews magazine, and have won Rainbow Awards for Best Transgender Contemporary Romance and Best YA Lesbian Fiction, a Reader Views’ Book by Book Publicity Literary Award, the Jack Eadon Award for Best Book in Contemporary Drama, an Indie Fab Award, and a Royal Dragonfly Award for Cultural Diversity, among other awards.

Mia Kerick is a social liberal and cheers for each and every victory made in the name of human rights. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology.

Contact Mia at miakerick@gmail.com or visit the below links to see what is going on in Mia’s world.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

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Blog Tour: Third Time’s The Charm by K. Evan Coles

Third Time’s The Charm  K. Evan Coles

Boston Seasons #1

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Publisher: Pride Publishing/Totally Entwined Group

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 68,000 words

Release Date: May 28, 2019

Buy Links

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Amazon US | Amazon UK

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Blurb

Luke Ryan’s life is too chaotic for romance, what with running his business and being the legal guardian to his ten-year-old niece, but he’s hopeful he’ll find the right man.

Trauma surgeon Finn Thomason recently relocated from Chicago to Boston, where his focus on medicine leaves him little space for a personal life. Making a commitment to find a better work-life balance, Finn hopes he’ll also find a relationship.

Caught in an evening rainstorm, Luke shelters under a sidewalk awning…and encounters a handsome stranger. The two strike up a conversation and Finn offers to walk Luke under his oversized umbrella. Charmed, Luke accepts and asks Finn out for coffee in thanks.

Luke and Finn quickly grow close, but, as the summer draws to an end, Luke struggles to keep his connection with Finn while Finn tries to come to terms with caring for a man whose attention is pulled in many directions. Both men are scrambling to get it right, but only time will tell if they’ll learn there is more than enough room in their hearts to go around.

This is book number one in a series. It can also stand as its own story.

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Excerpt

“Hey, Luke, I’m going to Starbucks to buy coffee for everyone. You want?”

Luke Ryan stared at the code on his computer monitors and nodded absently. “Sure.”

“Okay. Grab your stuff and come with me.”

Luke blinked. “What do you need me for?” He turned away from the monitors and faced his best friend and business partner, Simon Martin.

Simon stood and eyed Luke across their shared office. “To help me schlep back the orders.”

“Ugh.” It was nearly two p.m. and Luke’s concentration was flagging. As much as he wanted to keep working, fresh coffee sounded wonderful. The idea of going to fetch it, however, not so much. He stood and picked up his wallet and phone from his desk. “We wouldn’t be having this conversation if you’d let me buy a new coffeemaker.”

“I said I’d buy it, didn’t I?”

“Yes, you said that two weeks ago. And here we are, making the trek to Starbucks once again.”

Simon sighed at Luke’s grumbling. “Oh, goodness. I’ll buy one this weekend, I promise. In the meantime, you could stand to go outside for a few minutes. Your ass has been bolted to that chair all day. You didn’t even break for lunch.”

“Yes, I did.”

“You ate a plastic squeeze tube filled with something green.”

“It was yogurt,” Luke said. “I bought a box of mixed flavor tubes but Ella doesn’t like lime, so they’re all mine.”

Simon grimaced. “That sounds appalling. Serves you right for feeding that girl junk.”

Luke chuckled as they started for the door. His niece, Ella, was ten years old and particular about what she ate. Luke had been stuck eating food she’d rejected before, but he didn’t mind—weird foods came with the territory of raising children. Or helping to raise them, anyway, as Luke had been helping his brother, Peter, do for the past several years, ever since Peter’s wife had walked out on her family and Peter had moved Ella from the Marine base in Virginia back to Boston and into Luke’s Back Bay apartment.

Once outside, Luke and Simon walked a block and a half to Winter Street, navigating around shoppers and tourists. The line at Starbucks stretched nearly out of the door, and they stepped up to its end while Luke read over the orders his coworkers had scribbled on a scrap of paper.

“I don’t know what this says.” He pointed at one messy line. “This looks like Klingon.”

Simon squinted. “You would know, I suppose. I’m fairly sure everyone ordered cold brew, by the way. That’s all those hipster punks drink anyway.”

Luke laughed. “Good point. Gillian wants an almond milk Macchiato, though.” Gillian Vasquez was the third partner in their software development business. Petite, red-haired and whip-smart, her easygoing personality provided an excellent foil for Simon’s brashness and Luke’s hyperfocus. Gillian kept Simon and Luke in line and they knew it.

“Is she still doing the dairy-free thing?” Simon asked.

“I’m not sure. I think she just likes almond milk, to be honest. Ella’s the same.”

“That doesn’t make those bowls of sugar cereal you feed her any healthier, you know.”

Luke rolled his eyes. He’d never understood why kids’ cereals got such a bad rap. Beyond the high sugar content and their dubious nutritional value, that was.

“I found a recipe for Cap’n Crunch cookies,” he said. “I was thinking Ella and I could make them over the weekend.” He snorted with laughter at Simon’s obvious disgust.

“Where on earth would you find such a thing?”

“Pinterest. It’s loaded with all kinds of questionable recipes.”

“Oh, Pickle.” Simon made a sympathetic noise. “This only underscores what I’ve been telling you for months—you need to get out more.”

Luke winced. “Please don’t call me Pickle in public.” He glanced around, hoping no one had overheard the ridiculous nickname, and met the gaze of a dark-haired guy standing behind them.

Well, hello there.

Luke flashed a grin and the guy blinked, clearly surprised. He offered Luke a shy half-smile of his own just before the line shifted.

Luke faced forward. “You know I don’t have time to go out,” he said to Simon. “Even if I did, the men I’d meet would take one look at Ella and run for the hills.”

“Surely not every man you meet is averse to the idea of family.” Simon frowned. “I like children. Or Ella, at least.”

“Yes, but you and I are not dating.”

“Not since I kicked you to the curb a decade ago, true.” He smiled at Luke’s laughter. “Still, I can’t imagine anyone you meet not being charmed by Ella. She’s loveable even when she’s being difficult.”

They stepped forward as the line moved again. Luke hazarded another glance back and felt a pang of disappointment to find the cute guy talking on his phone. He met Luke’s eyes again, however, and Luke smothered a curse when Simon nudged him with his elbow.

“Ella likes you, so of course you think she’s fun,” Luke said. “Not everyone thinks the way you do or wants to stick around while I fill in for her dad, though.”

“Are you so sure?” Simon asked.

“I’m still single, am I not?”

“Yes, though I confess I don’t know why. It’s not because you’re lacking in looks and your personality is certainly adequate.”

“Nice.” Luke shrugged off both the compliment and the tease. He knew he was easy to look at. He was tall and fit with a heart-shaped face and gray-green eyes, and his friends joked he couldn’t take a bad photo. Luke didn’t suffer for lack of attention from men. Keeping a man’s interest presented the real challenge these days, and that had a lot to do with the fact that he was taking care of a young child.

“I’m thirty-two years old,” he said. “The men I meet who want children are either already parents or in committed relationships and headed in that direction.”

“This is why you need to meet new men,” Simon replied. “Ella isn’t your daughter, Luke. Pete’ll be back from deployment in a couple of months and that’ll take some of the pressure off you. There’s no reason for you to be celibate until then, either.”

“I’m hardly celibate,” Luke muttered, his cheeks hot. “And please keep your voice down.”

He paused as they approached the counter. Simon placed the order and Luke glanced at the guy behind them again. Thankfully, he was still on his phone instead of being forced to eavesdrop on the saga of Luke’s sad single life.

“I know I haven’t had a boyfriend since Ella moved in with me,” Luke continued while Simon paid for the order. “Taking care of her complicates my life, but it’s nothing compared to Pete’s wife taking off on them. And I do go out on occasion, Simon. I date.”

Simon cocked a well-groomed eyebrow at him. “Okay, and when exactly? Because we both know you don’t have time to yourself anymore.”

Despite Simon’s gentle tone, Luke winced. Even with help from his parents and his babysitter, Melissa, he rarely had a minute to himself outside his own bathroom. Even then, odds were Ella would knock on the door and blithely ask questions while Luke showered or shaved.

“In all seriousness, when did you last go out with a man?” Simon asked. They moved aside so the baristas could mix up their magic, and he patted Luke’s arm. “Hell, when did you last pick someone up?”

“I met someone while I was grocery shopping last week, believe it or not,” Luke replied. “We emailed a couple of times, but he dropped off the map. I picked someone up a couple of months ago, the last time Pete came home on leave.” He grinned at Simon. “You and I went out for dinner and drinks, then over to that bar in Back Bay named after Oscar Wilde. Remember?”

“That’s the bar with the boozy milkshakes?”

“Yes! I met Jeremy that night.”

Realization flashed in Simon’s eyes. “I’d forgotten that’s where you met. Where was I?”

“Sucking face with some bartender, I think.” Luke smirked at Simon’s raucous laughter.

“Oh, God, that’s right. Those milkshakes are lethal!”

“Believe me, I remember.” Luke reached up and ruffled Simon’s hair. “Anyway, I didn’t take Jeremy home that night, but we exchanged numbers and spent time together for a couple of weeks.”

“What happened between you two, anyway? I don’t think you ever said.”

“There was nothing to tell. Pete’s leave ended and I canceled a couple of dates because Melissa was busy and I couldn’t find a sitter. Jeremy just faded out.” Despite his careless tone, Luke’s heart twinged a little. He’d enjoyed spending time with Jeremy and watching him withdraw had stung.

Simon clasped Luke’s shoulder with one strong hand. “I’m sorry. It doesn’t have to be that way all the time, you know. I can watch Ella for you if Melissa is busy—I just need some notice. Gillian will, too. Hell, ask around the office if you need someone for a couple of hours. I’m sure at least one of the kids on staff is the babysitting type.”

“I know, and thanks. It doesn’t matter, though. The reality is I’m with Ella a lot because I want to be and guys usually bolt after they figure that out.”

Simon’s gentle scowl warmed Luke’s heart. He loved that his friend cared enough to listen. Then Luke saw the cute guy with the dark hair pay for his single coffee and leave. Damn. Once upon a time, Luke would have struck up a conversation with him instead of watching the opportunity slip away. Maybe Simon had a point.

“It’s fine,” he said. “And you’re right. I should make an effort to get out there and meet new men. Especially since things will go back to normal after Pete gets home. For a while, anyway.”

“That ‘for a while’ is kind of a problem.” Simon’s expression sobered. “Your brother will still be at Quantico more rather than less. I don’t even mean that in a bad way because I know you love having her here.”

Luke nodded. He’d never thought twice about welcoming his niece into his home. “I do. All the more reason to find someone who’s okay with Ella being in my life.”

Is that such a bad thing to want? Luke didn’t think so.

The barista called their order and Luke handed Simon the bags he’d been holding. “At any rate, it’ll be great having Pete back, even if he’s not in Boston. Ella hasn’t been the same since her dad was deployed.” Carefully, he collected the trays of cups.

Simon led the way out, talking over his shoulder as he held the door for Luke. “You think so?”

“Oh, yeah.” Luke sighed. “She really misses him, and it’s not like we can visit. She worries about his safety, just like my parents worry, and I do, too. Life will be a hundred times easier for all of us with Pete on US soil, whether he’s at the Marine base or not.”

“I understand,” Simon replied. “I’m just sorry I can’t do more than listen.”

Luke smiled. “Don’t be. I’d have gone bananas a long time ago without you and Gillian around to listen and keep me sane.”

“Girl, you’ve always been bananas,” Simon said, his tone airy. “But we’re used to it and don’t love you any less.” He shot Luke a wink and they headed for the office.

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About the Author

K. Evan Coles is a mother and tech pirate by day and a writer by night. She is a dreamer who, with a little hard work and a lot of good coffee, coaxes words out of her head and onto paper.

K. lives in the northeast United States, where she complains bitterly about the winters, but truly loves the region and its diverse, tenacious and deceptively compassionate people. You’ll usually find K. nerding out over books, movies and television with friends and family. She’s especially proud to be raising her son as part of a new generation of unabashed geeks.

K.’s books explore LGBTQ+ romance in contemporary settings.

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Release Blitz: Out Of The Shade by S.A. McAuley

Out Of The Shade | S.A. McAuley

 

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Release Date (Print & Ebook): May 21, 2019

Length (Print & Ebook): 332 pages (print), 103k words

Pre-order: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07QBNNR5N

Blurb

Jesse Solomona has always tried to be the perfect straight guy—a cocky sports fan who drinks more than he did in his fraternity days and an expert at one-night-stands. That he hooks up with just as many men as he does women is a secret Jesse’s been hiding for years, fearful of losing his family and tight group of friends. He’s a Kensington boy—a group of guys that grew up in the same neighborhood and somehow all ended up back in their hometown. They, and his family, are the only things that still matter in his otherwise soul-sucking life.

Chuck Dunn, a tattooed and pierced sports photographer, has refused to step back into the closet since he was disowned by his family, but he keeps choosing men who can’t fully be with him. Finally free from a long-term relationship he should’ve ended years ago, he quits his high-profile gig in favor of getting back to the art of sports photography—documenting a local boxing club that works with at-risk teenagers. He may not have the same swagger any more, but he’s working to be happy with who he is.

When Chuck joins one of the Kensington boys’ community center sports leagues, Jesse’s self-imposed rules are systematically demolished. But there’s one barrier Jesse can’t find the strength to break through—coming out to the other Kensington boys. Chuck knows hooking up with Jesse is a bad idea. Falling for him even worse. But he can’t stay away.

Chuck is damaged by his past. Jesse is frightened about his future. But, together, they may just be able to come out of the shade.

Warnings: alcoholism, mentions of sexual and physical abuse, mentions of drug addiction, mentions of rape, attempted suicide by a minor character, violence, homophobia, closeting

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Excerpt

Another week, and another league game, but this time it was indoor soccer. Jesse wiped his brow and struggled to keep up. He may have had more stamina than Chuck when it came to distance running, but Chuck was outmaneuvering him every step of the game. They were on opposite teams again—the usual of Matt versus Kam, the high school quarterbacks who couldn’t let go of their rivalry—and although Jesse hadn’t played soccer in high school, Kam had him playing defense against Chuck.

And Chuck, like usual, was kicking his ass.

Jesse couldn’t wipe the grin off his face. In this position he got to tussle with Chuck, put his hands all over him, and eyefuck him every single chance he got. Every chance he got.

The man looked like a professional athlete as he moved around the field. He wore blue soccer shorts, white and blue striped socks pulled high over his shinguards, and beat to hell cleats. His chest was bare, that barbell glistening in the indoor stadium lights, and sweat dripped off his forehead. He slicked back the loose strands of hair hanging in his eyes and winked at Jesse before stealing the ball from him and scoring. Again.

That cut body was Chuck’s best offensive weapon.

Jesse couldn’t wait to get him home and in his bed. Naked except for maybe those socks.

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About The Author

S.A. McAuley is a wandering LGBTQ author who sleeps little and reads a lot. Happiest in a foreign country. Twitchy when not mentally in motion. Her name is Sam, not Sammy, definitely not Samantha. She’s a dark/cynical/jaded person, but hides that darkness well behind her obsession(s) with shiny objects.

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