Tag Archives: dark

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

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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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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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Release Blitz: Tainted Love Anthology

Tainted Tales | Various Authors

A Dark Folklore Anthology for Save the Children

Authors: Claire Marta, Anna Edwards, Faith Ryan, Sara Dobie Bauer, Emma Jaye, T.S. McKinney, Abrianna Denae, Leigh Kenzie, Jessica Collins, L. Ann.

Cover Artist: TRC Designs

Release Date: March 26, 2020

Heat Rating: Each story has its own flame rating.

Length: approx. 200 000 words/500 pages

Buy Links:

Available on Kindle Unlimited

Universal Amazon Link | Amazon US | Amazon UK

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Blurb

Some stories paint us sweet, told to children as they fall asleep.

Mother Earth she weaves the world with a whirl of her magic, and her kind embrace shapes us all. Father Time keeps us all, ever constant, ever moving onwards, for time never stands still.

Icy hands and a frozen touch, Jack Frost ushers in the cold snap, coating the earth with sparkly delights. If Jack brings cold, May Queen brings warmth, her delicate touch bringing forth the spring.

Follow the rainbow and maybe you’ll find, a Leprechaun with his lucky pot of gold.

The watchful eyes of Man in the Moon keeps all of the secrets of the night, shining down on us with his silvery light. The Sandman is here to soothe you to sleep, bringing all to slumber with a pinch of magic dust. Shhh, sleep now. Beware the Boogeyman lurking out of sight, waiting under your bed, to catch naughty children in the night. Be good little children, for Santa is watching, and he knows if you’ve been naughty or nice.

Tales of lore, fair music to our ears. Can you hear it? Did you know? Not every tale is sweet. The truth is darker, our stories more twisted, unlike the rhymes that children hear.

All proceeds will be donated to Save the Children.

This is a mixed M/F and M/M anthology that contains trigger warnings for its dark content.

It is intended for a mature audience of 18+.

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