Tag Archives: dark

Release Blitz: Shameful Scars

Shameful Scars | A L Williams

Scars #3

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Release Date: June 14th, 2020

Universal link: https://mybook.to/ShamefulScars

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Blurb

I can take care of myself…

Please help me…

Her lips are pure damnation…

I will never leave you…

Hayley is determined to achieve her goals even as overworked as she is. She is almost done with school and loves her new internship.

Everything is great. Except for a certain angel she wants gone. The others have forgiven Gabriel and Hayley doesn’t understand why. Worse of all she can’t reconcile her deep hatred and attraction to  them.

Gabriel has accepted their banishment, but every day on earth is increasingly tiresome. Nothing makes sense and they are unsettled.

Especially their growing attraction to Hayley. It contradicts their disinterest in physical pleasures. However, It doesn’t matter because she hates them and nothing is changing her mind. Gabriel has no idea how to convince her otherwise.

Meanwhile, a child has vanished from a local group home, leaving only a single clue. Despite the risk  to her life Hayley refuses to stand on the sidelines and Gabriel gets dragged into the chaos. Little do they know they are more involved than they think.

The hunt for answers only forces Hayley and Gabriel closer. They have to confront their demons all while navigating their intense attraction that is far beyond the vanilla. It’s a battle of dominance and submission, but it’s not what it seems.

Can they overcome their internalized Shame and allow themselves what they secretly long for or are the Scars too deep

Content warning: Explicit sexual content, Sexual child abuse (not on the page), Adult Sexual Abuse (brief), Mention of drug use.

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Excerpt

When Tammy and I stepped inside the fence, I inspected the building that looked like a large home bathed in shadow. Playground equipment peeked around from the back. A sign with guest hours was hung by the door as we approached.

We entered the quiet house and walked down the hall past several rooms with bunk beds pressed against the walls. A child filled each bed.

Some of the rooms had two or more single twin beds with older teens who looked like they were about to age out.

It was just as I remembered. I spent several years in a group home and being inside one made me sick to my stomach. I was really going to have to get over this. Weakness did these children no good.

The tension in my jaw increased as we moved further into the house. The home was filled with simple furniture, whiteboards in the kitchen with assigned chores next to posted house rules. Along the walls, ragged books stood together on old bookshelves.

I eyed the kitchen, trying to keep my nerves under control as memories threatened to take over. A woman stepped out into the hall, and I was grateful for the distraction. I could see the bags under her eyes and the slump of her shoulders. It was clear she was worried and exhausted.

“Thank you for coming so quickly,” she said when she reached us. Tammy nodded and pulled out a notepad. The woman glanced at me.

“She is my intern,” Tammy said. “When did you notice the child was missing?”

I looked back to the other woman.

“One of the other children came out and told us he was gone when she woke up to use the bathroom.”

Tammy scribbled something down. “Was there anything unusual about the child’s behavior or any clue that they might run away?”

She thought that the kid had run away. I narrowed my eyes. It was true that children ran away quite often. I was one of them, but did she have to assume it was their fault? They could have been kidnapped.

Blaming the victim was never okay.

No one will believe you.

My stomach churned as Tammy asked more questions. The conversation faded into the distance as my mind raced with a million thoughts. Was he okay? Did someone hurt him? Was he hungry and alone?

Acid rose in my throat as the memory of Eden returned. Eden was a child Tammy put in my care when it was discovered she was sick—which turned out to be the bubonic plague. They banished her from the house, not wanting the other kids to get sick. I took her to Adam, the only doctor I trusted, but despite his efforts and because of Lucy’s curse, she died anyway. Both blamed themselves. I wished they would realize it wasn’t their fault.

“I need to use the restroom,” I said. The woman nodded and pointed me in the direction of the nearest bathroom. I excused myself.

As I walked further down the hall, the soft snores of children drifted out of the rooms. Something flashed in my peripheral vision. I peered into the room, finding a little boy sitting on a bed with something in his hands. It glittered with an unnatural light that illuminated his face as he gazed at it in awe.

“Can I come in?” I whispered.

The child’s head shot up, fear in his expression. I softened my voice and asked again. He nodded, gripping the object.

When I stopped at his side, I studied it. It was a long branch twisting and curling in on itself in places. The wood grain was fine and barely visible through the white glow of its surface.

“Can I see it?” I asked. The child frowned and looked down, lost in thought for a moment, and then handed it to me. I inspected it, turning it around in my hand. It radiated a warmth as if it was alive.

“Where did you find this?”

“Bobby is missing, and I found it under his bed.”

That must be the missing child, I thought. I peered at the branch, then backed away. The child played with his hands like it was a nervous habit.

“You’re fine. You didn’t do anything wrong,” I said. The boy relaxed.

Kids got in trouble for everything in these places, and they had always been on high alert, expecting at any moment that they would be punished.

I plastered the best smile that I could muster on my face. “Thank you.” He grinned.

I left the room and entered the bathroom, pulling out my phone. “Hey,” James answered.

“Hey, I need to talk to Andy,” I said, leaning against the wall. I heard shuffling and mumbled voices through the receiver.

“Hey,” Andrew said.

“There’s a missing child.”

“I’m aware. It has been reported,” he replied. “That’s not my department.”

I bit the inside of my cheek. “This is not normal.”

“What do you mean?”

“Do you know any trees that glow?”

About The Author

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My name is Alec Lee Williams, a transgender non-binary artist. My pronouns are He/him/his or They/Them/Their.  I have loved creating things ever since I can remember. I spent my youth drawing fan fiction and art, as well as writing poetry.

My art is the visual and written expression of what is in my heart and mind. I have been diagnosed with Bipolar I and PTSD. Mental illness is the hardest thing a person can deal with and the journey to emotional stability is long and sometimes painful. Especially as a person of color.

My vision is to make myself face the pain and the struggle. To make the world see me and the rest of us and what social expectation and stigma have created. Mental illness and discrimination are a part of our history and it’s time the world sees it.  The beautiful and the dirty. The painful and the euphoric.

With my art, I want to show those who don’t have mental illness what it’s like. I want those that do have a mental illness, specifically queer POC, to relate and maybe even letting go of their trauma and triggers by seeing it displayed. I want them to know they are not alone. Now that I have decided to pursue writing my novels I hope will do the same.

Social Media

Website: www.alecwilliamscreativeworks.com

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/a-l-williams-b1889291-2780-4133-8a78-2156cec194a5

Williams Web Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/346828029575650/

Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/alwilliamsnovels/

Newsletter: https://mailchi.mp/c1767e66f30c/alwilliamsbooks

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ALWilliamsbooks

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/a.l.williamsbooks

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New Release Blitz: A Face Without A Heart by Rick R. Reed

A Face Without A Heart | Rick R. Reed

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Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: June 1, 2020

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 56,700

Buy Links:

NineStar Press | Amazon

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Blurb

A modern-day and thought-provoking retelling of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray that esteemed horror magazine Fangoria called “…a book that is brutally honest with its reader and doesn’t flinch in the areas where Wilde had to look away….

A rarity: a really well-done update that’s as good as its source material.”

A beautiful young man bargains his soul away to remain young and handsome forever, while his holographic portrait mirrors his aging and decay and reflects every sin and each nightmarish step deeper into depravity… even cold-blooded murder.

Prepare yourself for a compelling tour of the darkest sides of greed, lust, addiction, and violence.

Excerpt

A Face without a Heart
Rick R. Reed © 2020
All Rights Reserved

Prologue
GARY

There is blood on my hands. I look down at a body, a body that’s become a thing—monstrous, ugly, inanimate. It could be a sculpture, a figure formed from wax or porcelain. The soul inside is gone, leaving a shell. I wipe a line of sweat from my forehead with a trembling hand, trying to tell myself these things, trying to believe that what lies at my feet is nothing more than an object, something to be reviled, something not worthy of further consideration.

It’s not easy to believe. Although the corpse does not have a twinkle in its eye or the simple rise and fall of a chest, it’s hard to remove myself from the plain fact that the body possessed those movements, those simple signs of life, just minutes ago. Distance, for now, seems more a matter of location than of feeling. The body at my feet wears the badges of its untimely demise—a dented face, a split-open skull, blood and grayish-pink matter seeping out. The bruises have already begun to rise, ugly yellow-pink things all over the body.

I stoop, plunge my fingers into the deepest hole, the one on the belly, to feel the warmth and the entrails. Amazed that the breathing has stopped. Amazed that I have such power.

I lift a finger to my mouth and slowly run it over my lips, the blackish liquid warm and viscous, metallic to the taste. I recall the vampire films I loved as a youth, never really believing such a thing could exist.

Now I do.

I have stolen a life so that my own might continue. There is something vampiric in that, isn’t there? Because without this theft of a beating heart and an expanding and contracting pair of lungs, I would be unable to live.

Isn’t that the real essence of the vampire?

It seems too quiet here, deep in the basement of a high-rise. A dull clanging is my only accompaniment, pipes bringing warmth and water to tenants above, whose lives continue, ignorant, untouched by my murderous hand. And that’s the amazing thing, the thing that causes my breath, when drawn inward, to quiver.

Life goes on, in spite of this monumental act, just a quick, surprised scream and a heartbeat away.

There is blood on the walls, spattered Jackson Pollock-style. Who can say what is art and what is murder?

This so-called victim who now lies in final repose on a cold concrete floor, staring vacantly at nothing or perhaps at the hell that will one day consume me, can no longer chastise me, can no longer beg me to drop to my knees with him and pray, pray for forgiveness, imploring Jesus to lead me down the path of the righteous.

It’s not too late, he said before I brought the mallet down on his skull, cracking it open like a walnut, slamming it into his windpipe, his gut, an eye socket, his shoulders as he fell, anywhere the mallet would ruin, destroying, sucking life.

He was wrong. The final irony of his existence, I suppose, is that he thought he had the power to do anything, to change another person, whom, I must admit, he cared very deeply about.

No, that power rests in my hand, the death-dealing claw that changed him. And people whine about how change never really lasts when it comes to others, how they always unfortunately revert to their old ways, the ways you don’t want them to be. Anyone who has ever tried to change another knows this to be true. Oh certainly, the change may last a week, a month, even a year. But soon the real person comes back, the one who has been waiting in the wings for just the right cue, the one that will allow him to say “Ah fuck it, I’ve had enough.”

But the change I’ve wrought in my friend can never be undone. He is dead and always will be. I have a power of which psychiatrists and psychologists can only dream. And I accomplished my transformation in a matter of seconds, behind a red-tinged curtain of rage.

Pretty sly, eh? For a man who’s spent most of his life doing nothing but looking after his own selfish needs and pursuing his own pleasures, it’s a pretty accomplished thing. Decisive. For once, a man of action.

I nudge him with my foot and am amazed at the heaviness my friend has taken on in death. His body doesn’t want to give, to roll; it has become a body at rest…forever.

I turn and head back upstairs. There are matters to attend to…clothes to be burned, an alibi to be concocted. People will want answers. And conveniently, I will have none. Knowledge is a dangerous thing. What was it my other friend once told me? “The only people worth knowing are the ones who know everything and the ones who know nothing.”

I know nothing about this. And now I must go back into the realm of the living to ensure my ignorance remains secure.

But alone, I know that ignorance is one of the few luxuries I can no longer afford. Alone, I have only the luxury of time to contemplate how it all began.

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About the Author

Real Men. True Love.

Rick R. Reed is an award-winning and bestselling author of more than fifty works of published fiction. He is a Lambda Literary Award finalist. Entertainment Weekly has described his work as “heartrending and sensitive.”

Lambda Literary has called him: “A writer that doesn’t disappoint…”

Rick lives in Palm Springs, CA, with his husband, Bruce, and their fierce Chihuahua/Shiba Inu mix, Kodi.

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Face with a Heart Now Available

Release Blitz: Handsome Death by Sara Dobie Bauer

Handsome Death | Sara Dobie Bauer

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Publisher: Carnation Books

Release Date: April 10, 2020

Heat Rating: 5 flames

Length: 72 000 words

It is a standalone story

Buy Links:

Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US | Amazon UK

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Blurb

I’m not hunting him; I’m protecting him.

At least, that’s what I tell myself.

In New York City, a beautiful creature like Tristan Clement should not be walking the streets alone, and I’m the perfect vampire to watch his back.

But what if keeping him safe isn’t enough anymore? What if I want to touch? And taste?

I need him. But I’ve never needed anyone.

In a world where paranormal creatures live amongst us and must follow certain laws, living life as a dangerous loner works for vampire Ethan. Inhabiting his gleaming apartment, wearing his designer suits, jetting around the world as a fanged killer-for-hire, Ethan does it all alone.

That is, until he literally runs into Tristan. Tristan, who is clearly trouble wrapped in skinny jeans and an oversized sweater. Tristan, with his shock of angelic blond curls. Tristan, who plays piano more beautifully than the old masters– and Ethan would know; he saw Beethoven.

Tristan is gorgeous, a little sassy, and irresistible. Also, Ethan is horrified to note, Tristan has no idea how incredibly tempting he is to things that go bump in the night.

Overcome by the urge to keep Tristan safe, Ethan begins to… well, stalk is such a strong word. What starts as an obsession quickly becomes something more, something that Ethan needs. And to his surprise, Tristan seems to need him, too…

*This darkly romantic tale delivers steamy passion and a happily ever after. Be advised that Handsome Death includes explicit MM content, stalking, mentions of past abuse, and graphic violence.*

Excerpt

I feel an itch on the back of my neck so glance behind me, and indeed, there he is, the blond kid from yesterday. I must have caught him staring, because as soon as I turn to look, he ducks his head and goes back to reading.

I shouldn’t approach him. Granted, he’s stunning. Most vampires would love to get their hands on his bare skin, but I’m not one for picking up humans outside of blood clubs. I’m cautious. Vampires can get in a lot of trouble for biting a human without consent. Like sentenced-to-death trouble. The humans at blood clubs know what they’re getting into. This guy? He looks like a puppy in need of a cuddle. He has no idea what a vampire could do to him.

Maybe some reconnaissance is in order. Just to, you know, make sure he’s all right after yesterday’s altercation.

Or something.

I’m lying to myself. This isn’t a protective detail in Serbia, this is me away from combat too long and bored in New York.

Fuck it.

He sits at one of the heavy wooden tables with the lid off his cup. His hair hangs halfway over his forehead, tilted down over a paperback, but I can still see his mouth, the way he chews his bottom lip, making it pinker, fuller.

I walk right up to his table. I don’t wait for him to look up. I don’t wait for an invitation. I just sit.

He startles at my arrival. His eyes widen and stare at me.

“Who are you?” I ask. I’ve always been really good at openings.

“Uhh.” His forehead wrinkles.

I drum my fingertips on the table. “I’ve never seen you in here before.”

“You saw me yesterday.” He folds the top corner of a page in his paperback: Dracula by Bram Stoker. “You saved my ass yesterday.”

“Before yesterday,” I reply.

He sighs. “A Starbuck’s bought out my favorite coffee shop, so I guess this is now my favorite coffee shop. Buy local.” He scoops his messenger bag off the floor and shoves the book inside.

The kid has one of those runway model faces—gaunt if not so beautiful, sharp and yet soft. Freckles? Zero. Wait, no, he’s got just a smattering that you would only notice close-up … or with well-trained vampiric eyes. He has no shadow of recently shaved facial hair, and that’s no surprise based on the white-blond of his hair. He must moisturize those lips because nobody’s mouth just naturally looks like the perfect mixture of velvet and silk.

He sighs again, louder. “You’re staring at me.”

No, I’m studying him—checking out his vulnerable areas, which are pretty much everywhere considering he’s so thin and fragile-looking.

As for everyone else in the coffee shop, they’re looking at the kid like they want to take him to bed. I catch a girl at the next table over gawking. A big dude with a beard stands in line to our right, his mouth hanging half open as he admires.

“Everyone is staring at you,” I respond.

His pale cheeks burn bright red as he swoops his bag onto his shoulder and stands. “No, that’s …” He shakes his head. “Ha, no.” He doesn’t say goodbye. He even leaves his coffee, half-consumed on the table. He up and abandons me without a word, but I do watch him go—as does half of Inky Grounds.

Once he disappears out into the early October morning, I turn back around and stare at his deserted coffee. Granted, I’m not smooth—I get it—but he didn’t have to run out like that. I just wanted to see that he was safe. Shit, I don’t even know his name.

About the Author

Sara Dobie Bauer is a bestselling author, model, mental health speaker, and LGBTQ advocate with a creative writing degree from Ohio University.

She lives with her hottie husband and two precious pups in Northeast Ohio, although she’d really like to live in a Tim Burton film.

Her current obsession with Timothee Chalamet runs deep, and don’t even get her started on Call Me By Your Name.

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