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New Release Blitz: The Loyal Whispers by Kathryn Sommerlot

The Loyal Whispers | Kathryn Sommerlot

The Life Siphon #3

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Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: May 25, 2020

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 78,900

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Blurb

Ravee: a pious Rad-em merchant’s daughter sailing with her family’s goods

Mairi: the Runonian king’s advisor seeing the outside world for the first time

Alesh: an alchemist’s apprentice in Joesar with a past rapidly catching up to her

Three women find themselves caught in the threads of change as the world threatens to fall apart around them. From across the Oldal Sea, the southern kingdom of Dusset has declared war, and if anyone is going to survive it, the alliance between Runon, Chayd, Rad-em, and Joesar must be solidified.

But there are forces at work that could undermine all the progress King Yudai and Tatsu have made. Peace treaty negotiations between the four realms could crumble at any time beneath the building tension.

As the women’s paths converge, they must navigate the true meaning of loyalty to themselves, their countries, and their families, while at the center of it all, a shattered king, hellbent on revenge, threatens the world balance.

Excerpt

The Loyal Whispers
Kathryn Sommerlot © 2020
All Rights Reserved

One: Ravee
Choked with debris, the waves lapped at the fire-blackened hull boards left behind, and worse yet, bodies bobbed in the spaces between splintered wood. They quivered up, bobbing with each crest, clothing billowing around motionless limbs, and Ravee had to turn away with one hand pressed to her mouth to keep her meager breakfast down. The air smelled of burning softwood and singed flesh interwoven into an overpowering and inescapable tang which did nothing to help her constantly queasy belly.

“Gods above,” Captain Wret hissed under his breath. When Ravee peeked over her shoulder, she couldn’t miss how his knuckles had blanched white, his fingers clamped around the deck rail. “What happened here?”

The answer seemed very obvious: the worst. The lingering fear of anyone who took to the seas was a shipwreck, whether it be by pirate attack or by the unforgiving elements, and the evidence of just such a tragedy lay strewn around their vessel in the whitecaps. But no storms had darkened the sky in the past week, only a clear blue horizon with favorable winds. Pirates tended to strip the ships of both treasure and hostages before destroying them. Broken shards of porcelain dishes floated among the wood, and anyone searching for profit wouldn’t leave something of value like that behind. The knowledge should have helped to ease Ravee’s nerves, for they were far less safe with their trade cargo if pirates roamed the Oldal Sea. Still, the uneasiness was slow to dissipate.

As her stomach settled and stopped roiling at the grisly aftermath, Ravee turned back to peer over the ship’s side. If it hadn’t been pirates and couldn’t have been the weather, few other possibilities made sense. Ships didn’t simply spontaneously break apart, and the sea serpents had already entered their dormant months. A horrible stillness settled over the remains, as though not even the sun’s bright rays could touch the bloody mess.

“Look!” one of the deckhands yelled. “Rad-em colors!”

The man’s outburst prompted a scrambling of boots across slick boards as the sailors searched for something to reach the silk with. Eventually, the cloth floated near enough for a man to fish it out with one of the long deck mops, and while Ravee’s heart skipped at the sight of her countrymen’s flag, the shock paled in comparison to what came up after it. More silks, strung together on the single rope line, tangled together in a mess of clumped, torn fabric. Ravee had never heard of the countries sailing under a united banner, not even in the oldest orated history lessons. She whispered a prayer under her breath as the crewman struggled with the cord, grateful her hands weren’t visibly shaking.

Captain Wret pushed the sailor aside to grab at the bulk, and his hands were steadier than the deckhand’s had been. He pulled the Rad-em colors free, and then the rest one at a time, peeling the sopping layers apart until four flags lay spread across the deck. Four silk banners, fraying and burned on the right side as though they’d caught fire as the ship went down and only the briny seawater had stopped them from being completely devoured.

Four silk banners representing the kingdoms of the southern coastline.

Ravee’s stomach twisted again with a painful throb.

“Rad-em,” Wret said, pointing, “Chayd, Runon, and Joesar.”

“Impossible,” one of the men argued. “They’d never sail together like this, and under united colors?”

All the flags had been displayed on a single vessel, and to have such a bold showing could mean only one thing.

“They were on official business,” Ravee whispered, speaking before she could stop herself. Wret’s head snapped in her direction, his eyes sharp, but he didn’t stop her from continuing, which was something. “In an official capacity.”

“Yes,” Wret said. “They were traveling as ambassadors. Peaceful ones, likely, given the treaty negotiations.”

“Who would attack a ship containing peaceful representatives from all four of the coastal kingdoms?” the sailor nearest to Ravee asked.

Wret’s gaze shifted to the broken, charred pieces of the ship still floating out on the sea. “The easiest way to answer that is to figure out where they were going.”

Then his expression morphed, cycling through surprise and shock before hardening in resolve. He crossed to the rail with long steps and hesitated only for a moment, scanning the water before shouting, “Get a lifeboat dropped! Someone’s alive down there.”

In the resulting chaos, Ravee was pushed back, shoulders bumping into her arms with such force her skin would bruise. She couldn’t see around the sailors to confirm for herself, and she knew better than to try to fight it; Captain Wret was displeased enough already to have her aboard his ship accompanying her family’s goods and hadn’t bothered to keep his feelings quiet. Making her presence known could result in banishment to the belowdecks sleeping quarters afforded to her.

A lifeboat splashed down into the sea and a few of the sailors started up nervous muttering, but it wasn’t until several moved to the rigging that Ravee felt confident enough to slip through the small crowd to the railing again.

The sailors in the lifeboat were pulling a body out of the water, and despite Wret’s earlier outcry, the man looked very dead to Ravee. He didn’t so much as twitch as the sailors rowed toward the ship’s side and prepared the dinghy to be lifted back up. When one of the crew hauled the man over the rail and deposited him onto the deck, his head lolled lifelessly to one side. Bits of his shirt had been eaten away by the flames and a nasty-looking cut sliced across his forehead, the red of the still flowing blood mingling with the sea water clinging to his skin. The sailors spent a long moment staring at him in silence.

In the stillness, the air above the ship’s deck shimmered as shivers ran the length of Ravee’s spine in a familiar tremble. Bithlad, God of healing, appeared behind her with all four of his hands ghosting over her biceps as he whispered, He’s alive. Help him.

Ravee darted in between the sailors, nostrils burning with the lingering smell of the less fortunate passengers and her feet propelled by the murmured command. She pressed her head to the injured man’s chest, shoulders sagging at the muffled breath sounds. He was alive, but only barely so.

“How did you know?” she asked Captain Wret, who had advanced to hover uncomfortably over her shoulder.

“He was clinging to one of the bigger pieces of the ship’s hull, and his position was too unnatural to have been the result of post-death rigor.”

Ravee studied the man’s body. “I doubt he would’ve lasted much longer out there in this state.”

“He may not be the only one. The lifeboat’s already prepared—we should search the area for more survivors,” Wret said, and he walked away to bark the orders at his crew.

Ravee stayed where she was kneeling with one hand on the man’s shoulder, wishing she could will him to wake up. His eyes stayed closed, though it was comforting to see his chest rise and fall, even if the breaths were shallow. The lack of movement gave her a better opportunity to check him for injuries. Though bleeding steadily, the cut on his head wasn’t deep, but as she peeled back the soaking layer of clothing from his torso, she exposed a fresh wave of crimson. Along his side darted a dark gash, and it seemed his shirt had been the only thing holding what remained of the skin together. Ravee clasped her hand against the wound in shock.

“Please!” she called, and one of the crewmen thrust a rudimentary first aid kit into her open hand.

At least she had a needle and thread, even without time to sterilize the metal. Ravee sent up a quick prayer to Urutte, God of fate. Her family sold leather goods, and while she’d never had to sew flesh before, her needlework skill ranked high. Her hands trembled so badly she pricked her own finger trying to stitch the wound, and all she could think of was how thankful she was the man remained unconscious. It would’ve been agony if he’d been awake to feel the needle threading through his already flayed skin.

She wanted to vomit, and somehow managed to keep all the bile in until she’d finished. Running to the railing took two heart-pounding moments, and she only barely made it in time to avoid her breakfast splashing across the deck. Her cheeks warmed, but there wasn’t time to be embarrassed; the lifeboat was hauling another body from the sea, and Ravee wiped her forehead with her shirt sleeve before moving to the newest one. Bithlad’s presence behind her faded, but she murmured a prayer the God might watch over the rest of the poor souls fished out from the brine.

By the time the entire area had been scoured, the sailors had found two more survivors, and Captain Wret called the search off as the sun set bright behind the wreckage. Fewer pieces of the unfortunate ship remained than had floated earlier along the whitecaps, and even many of the dead had been pulled beneath by the undertow. Wret’s men found four survivors total, including the first man: two more men and one woman. The crew carried the limp bodies to the bulkhead closest to the rudder and did what they could with the extra bedding supplies. But it wasn’t much, and as Ravee stood looking over the remnants of the ship’s unfortunate passengers, she could hardly breathe.

The man whose side she’d stitched closed seemed to have stabilized, and the woman had surface burns seemingly unrelated to her head trauma, but the last one, an older male whose arm had been severed at the wrist, was unlikely to make it through the night even with the tourniquet and linen wrapping they’d employed. Knowing the background of their survivors was impossible. They could have been crew on the ship, servants accompanying the envoys, or the dignitaries themselves, but until one of them woke with a clear enough head, Wret’s Sheersilk was sailing blind.

An entire ship destroyed, with nothing stolen and the passengers left to bloat.

“Where was their course?” Ravee asked as Captain Wret’s heavy footsteps sounded down the wooden stairs behind her.

“This far south? Dusset, probably, the same as us.”

Ravee swallowed hard. “You said earlier we’d know who did this by studying their heading. What does this mean?”

Wret’s face, almost unrecognizable without its usual sneer, was grim. “It’s possible someone has declared war on us all.”

The man missing his hand let out a low moan, and Ravee wrapped her arms around her chest to try to fight the sudden chill sweeping through the bulkhead.

About the Author

Kathryn Sommerlot is a coffee addict and craft beer enthusiast with a detailed zombie apocalypse plan. Originally from the cornfields of the American Midwest, she got her master’s degree and moved across the ocean to become a high school teacher in Japan.

When she isn’t wrangling teenage brains into critical thinking, she spends her time writing, crocheting, and hiking with her husband.

She enjoys LGBTQ fiction, but she is particularly interested in genre fiction that just happens to have LGBTQ protagonists.

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New Release Blitz: Broken Warrior by Jocelynn Drake & Rinda Elliott

Broken Warrior | Jocelynn Drake & Rinda Elliott

The Weavers Circle #1

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Publisher: Drake and Elliott Publishing LLC

Release Date: April 24, 2020

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 97,304

Universal Buy Link: getbook.at/BrokenWarrior.

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Blurb

Clay Green

A brotherhood? Monsters? Goddesses? Magic?

The world has become a strange place.

After a life on the run, Clay Green is rescued by a crazy old lady with a shotgun and an even crazier story about monsters, goddesses, and a secret brotherhood.

Gifted with the power of the earth, Clay must locate his missing “brothers” before invading monsters can destroy everything.

As if that’s not enough to contend with, Clay can’t keep his hands off the man trying to rebuild the plantation house he’s temporarily living in.

Dane Briggs

Something strange is going on…

Dane knew restoring the old plantation house wasn’t going to be an easy job, but at least none of the clients were going to be underfoot. Since losing his wife and child, the only way Dane can keep going is to focus on the work.

But that focus crumbles the second Clay appears covered in blood and barely hanging on to life.

Mystery and danger cling to Clay and the other men who suddenly show up. A smart man would walk away.

Dane chucks smart out the window in favor of hungry kisses and the silken slide of skin against skin. He doesn’t understand what’s happening, but there’s no question that Clay needs him.

He’s just not sure his heart can survive being broken again if something happens to Clay.

Broken Warrior is the first book in The Weavers Circle series. It includes fast-paced action, explosions, hurt/comfort, sexy times, animal shenanigans, wounded hearts, three crazy old ladies, and magic!

Excerpt

“And were you attacked on your walk? Some kind of flying suckerfish? Because that’s definitely not a hickey on your neck,” Baer continued.

Grey lifted his mug of coffee to his lips again, but he paused long enough to agree. “Definitely not a hickey.”

Without thinking, Clay slapped his hand to the spot Dane had sucked on during round one—or was it round three? Fuck, he’d come so many times last night, his balls should need a week to recover, but his dick was refusing to take orders from his brain or balls. The damn thing wanted to say “Fuck coffee” and crawl back into bed with Dane.

Laughter rang out in the kitchen, and Clay groaned. He’d never had a roommate, but he sort of imagined this was what it was like. Fuck, when all six of them were in the plantation house, it would be like a goddamn frat house.

Grabbing a mug out of the cabinet, Clay continued to ignore the duo at the table as he poured himself a cup of liquid sanity. He took his time, adding a little sugar, and then turned to the table. Before he took one step, he lifted a hand, and whatever Baer had been about to say stopped in his throat.

“I won’t discuss it. Not one word,” Clay said firmly.

Baer’s shoulder’s slumped, and his mouth snapped shut. He looked like a sad puppy for all of two seconds before he was up and happy again.

“I’m sure Grey is one of us,” Baer announced, moving on to an entirely new subject. At least this was one Clay was willing to tackle, even if he wasn’t sure he had the brainpower for it yet. If anything, it gave him something to think about besides Dane.

“Yeah, I kind of thought that last night too.”

Clay settled into a chair across from Baer and Grey. He could use a long, hot shower and a clean set of clothes, but one look at the eager expression on Baer’s face and he knew the man would follow him to the bathroom to discuss this. He could do without them sharing the bathroom with him.

“When I saw him running with you toward the Jeep last night, I swear I got the weirdest feeling of déjà vu. I know we’ve done this all before. Well, maybe not at that club, but the running together, the fighting together.” Baer rested his forearms on the table and leaned forward. “Even when we got back to the house, I felt like I knew him. Known him my whole life.”

“The same way you feel with me?”

Baer nodded.

Clay looked over at Grey, who had both hands wrapped around the dark-blue coffee mug resting on the table in front of him. A deep frown was pulling at the corners of his mouth and drawing lines between his thick eyebrows. Without the threat of death and destruction looming over their heads, Clay took a moment to actually look at the man. Gray hair highlighted his temples, and more of it flecked the closely trimmed beard lining his jaw and chin. He was paler than himself and Baer, as if he were more likely to spend long hours inside the house, but there was no missing the lean muscles that filled out his wrinkled button-down shirt. Maybe a swimmer. Or a runner.

“What do you think?” Clay prodded when Grey remained silent.

“That this is all stupid, ridiculous, and utterly impossible,” Grey grumbled. His hands tightened on his mug, but he didn’t lift it back to his mouth.

“But?”

“I can’t deny I have the same feeling of déjà vu with both of you. Something-something inside of me keeps claiming that I know.”

Clay glanced over at Baer. “Did you tell him?”

“Oh, he fucking told me so much,” Grey answered for him with a rough bark of laughter. “Powers and goddesses and other dimensions with alien monsters trying to kill us so they can destroy the world. I heard plenty last night.”

Closing his eyes, Clay pinched the bridge of his nose and sighed heavily. Yeah, that was pretty much how it all sounded. Insane and impossible. That was his life now to a T. Opening his eyes again, he stared at Baer. “And you told him all this stone-cold sober?”

Baer’s chest puffed up and he grinned broadly at his friend. “No!”

Clay rolled his eyes.

“I found that cheap bottle of whiskey we lost. I think Jo hid it. But anyway, we killed that bottle, and I explained about the pestilents, Weavers, and the Circle.”

Clay looked over at Grey, waiting for his response on how the hell he took this information while loaded up on cheap whiskey.

“And then he turned into an ostrich,” Grey said in a deadpan voice.

“I was trying for a peacock. Something flashy,” Baer commented in a low voice.

“Broke the coffee table.”

“I panicked!”

“You were drunk!” Clay shouted.

“Birds are hard,” Baer muttered under his breath, his eyes locked on his coffee mug in front of him in a pout.

About the Authors

Rinda&Elliott

Jocelynn Drake and Rinda Elliott have teamed up to combine their evil genius to create intense gay romantic suspense stories that have car chases, shoot outs, explosions, scorching hot love scenes, and tender, tear-jerking moments.

Their first joint books are in the Unbreakable Bonds series.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | eMail

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Blog Tour: To Target The Heart by Aldrea Alien

To Target The Heart | Aldrea Alien

Spellster #2

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Cover Artist: Leonardo Borazio

Release Date: April 15, 2020

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 226,000 words

It is a standalone book

Buy Links:

Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US | Amazon UK

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Blurb

How can he win with the odds stacked against him?

Prince Hamish has no interest in fulfilling his duty of marrying. Not to a woman, at least. That doesn’t stop his mother, Queen Fiona, from presenting him with every eligible noblewoman that enters their castle. He’s certain it’ll be no different with the representative of the Udynea Empire.

So when they do arrive, Hamish is relieved the imperial prince, Darshan, is not the woman everyone expected. Until the man kisses him and Hamish is confronted by the very emotions he has been forced to conceal or be punished for. Emotions he is eager to explore.

But the kiss proves to be a little too public and leads his mother to take drastic measures to ensure Hamish adheres to her family vision. The contest of arms will force Hamish to make a choice: give up his happiness for convention’s sake or send the kingdom spiralling into civil war for the right to love his own way.

Excerpt

The whole pub seemed to grow still the longer Darshan stared at the man, his expression blank.

“Bill,” Hamish hissed at the dockmaster. “That’s enough.” The man must have realised it would be the grandsire of all bad ideas to piss off someone capable of setting things on fire with a thought.

Ignoring Hamish, Billy continued to give the spellster a smarmy smile.

Darshan returned the grin, his tongue snaking out to run along the underside of his teeth. He calmly unhooked his glasses from behind his ears. “Hold these, will you?” he asked, waving the frames in Hamish’s general direction.

Hamish took a cautious step backwards. He couldn’t be certain if Darshan was merely posturing or actually planned to attack the man, but it would be better if he stayed out of it. After all, he couldn’t haul Darshan back to the castle if they were both unconscious.

He delicately reached for the glasses.

Darshan barely waited for Hamish to properly grasp them before he swung at Billy, clearly aiming for the man’s head.

Billy jerked back, too late in mounting a defence against the attack.

The spellster’s fist—heavily bedecked in jewelled rings—connected with Billy’s face like a hammer. The definite snap of breaking bone was almost an exhalation.

The dockmaster fell back, howling. Blood poured from beneath the man’s fingers, staining his blonde beard. At first, Hamish thought the ambassador had only broken Billy’s nose, until he caught sight of the dockmaster’s jaw. One side bulged alarmingly, whilst the right, the side Darshan had hit, was caved in.

The two men flanking Billy lunged at the spellster.

Sneering, Darshan flicked both his hands as if brushing the dust from his outfit. The men went flying, smashing into the walls. Neither one got up.

More men jumped up from their seats, agog. One ran out the door screaming. Not a one of them seemed to know what to do about the spellster who had made short work of three men; a foreigner who still stood over Billy without a care as to the bleeding state of his hand. Hamish wasn’t entirely certain it was even Darshan’s blood. Surely, with the force he’d hit the dockmaster, he must’ve broken something.

Darshan turned. He squinted at Hamish, then held out his bloodied hand. The fingers and knuckles seemed normal enough. No twists or swelling that suggested any harm had come to them. “My glasses, if you please?”

Hamish returned the item in question back to their owner. “I think this might be the best time to leave.” There’d be trouble once word of this got out—and a lot of questions Hamish wasn’t looking forward to answering. But if they returned to the castle now, then Gordon might be able to help him wrangle a more palatable version of events for his mother.

With the glasses once more firmly in place on his face, Darshan glared at Billy. “One moment.” He strode over to the howling man and grabbed his head. “Do not move or I will leave you injured. And I would advise against trying to talk.”

Billy stilled. Panic and fear flashed in his tear-redden eyes.

It had been some years since Hamish had last been in the presence of healing magic. But he’d been in no position to objectively watch either. Seeing the man’s face slowly reform to its previous state was something he’d never thought he would witness.

Billy’s cheeks shifted alarmingly, like a bubbling pot of porridge. The skin constantly changed colour, from the pinkish-red of freshly-struck to the bruised rainbow hues of blue, purple and green, then fading to trout-brown before regaining its natural wrinkled and heavily-tanned state.

Throughout it all, Billy’s eyes grew wider. He whimpered and fisted at his trousers. If Darshan hadn’t already stipulated stillness, he likely would’ve bolted from the spellster’s grip.

When Darshan was done, he released Billy’s head and let the man tumble onto the floor. “Call me that again and I shall do the same,” he snarled as he bent over the dockmaster. “Only next time, you can keep the broken jaw. Understood?”

Billy nodded. “Aye, your lordship.” He back-crawled across the flagstones, pausing only to rub his jaw and standing once Darshan was well beyond physical reach.

Dusting his hands, the ambassador returned to Hamish’s side. “As entertaining as that was, I think you are right, we should return to the castle.”

About the Author

Aldrea Alien is an award-winning, bisexual author of fantasy romance with varying heat levels. Born and raised in New Zealand, she lives on a small farm with her family, including a menagerie of animals, who are all convinced they’re just as human as the next person. Especially the cats.

Since discovering a love of writing at the age of twelve, she hasn’t found an ounce of peace from the characters plaguing her mind with all of them clamouring for her to tell their story first.

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Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win an ebook copy of In Pain and Blood or one of two ebook copies of An Unexpected Gift

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Release Blitz: This Dark Mirror by Tricia Owens

This Dark Mirror | Tricia Owens

Juxtan #4

RELEASE BLITZ

 

Cover Artist: Tricia Owens

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 60,000 words

Release Date: April 14, 2020

Buy Links:

Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US | Amazon UK

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Blurb

The mystery of Hadrian ni Agthon unsettles Caled to his core. He fears he will never learn the truth about the young sorcerer’s reasons for betraying him.

Though there are an increasing number of hints that Hadrian was a victim of his father, Hadrian himself suggests that every step he took was taken deliberately. When their group is contacted by a sorcerer who not only knows Hadrian but claims to be his friend, Caled is hopeful for a chance to finally separate fact from fiction.

Instead, he’s served a greater mystery: Hadrian appears to hate this supposed friend. Caled needs to learn more, but he worries that his quest for knowledge will come at the expense of their safety, for the road ahead looks to be riddled with traps not only physical, but emotional.

Excerpt

Hadrian was certain he would go mad with the depth of his lust. He parted his lips and helplessly mouthed Caled’s shoulder as his own hips pushed forward against the mercenary’s backside. He wanted Caled’s bare flesh in his naked palm. He wanted to hold that velvety heat and stroke it. He wanted to taste it. Oh, gods, he wanted it inside him.

“Please,” he groaned.

“Easy,” Caled murmured, though his voice sounded deeper. “This is enough, Hades. This is more than I should.”

Hadrian didn’t want him thinking about that. Caled was finally giving in. Caled was finally giving him what they both wanted and Hadrian wasn’t about to let the other man change his mind when Hadrian had waited so very long for this.

They were at the back of their line, the others riding ahead, so Hadrian squeezed his thighs together and lifted himself high enough to put his lips on the sun-warmed skin of Caled’s nape. Caled flinched, but Hadrian persisted, moving his lips over that warm, golden skin and finally touching his tongue to it. The moment his tongue made contact, Caled’s entire body shivered and his hand crushed Hadrian’s against him.

“Hades,” he groaned.

Hadrian shut his eyes and savored the lust riding in waves through his body. Courage which he hadn’t known he possessed fueled his hands and his words. He leaned up and whispered, “What you did to me in that boat was not unwanted.”

Caled’s entire body stiffened. Their horse bobbed its head, sensing the new tension.

“Damn you, Hades.”

“My body still aches from how you took me. It’s an ache I take into my dreams.”

“We’re not doing this,” Caled panted, sounding almost angry as he continued to thrust into Hadrian’s hands. “Not here. Not now.”

“You have become my master in torture,” Hadrian ground out. “Grant me relief.”

“I would master you in many ways.” Caled shook his head. “But it’s not that easy. Not—for me.”

About the Author

Tricia Owens has been writing MM fiction since 2000, after stumbling onto the term ‘slash’ and thinking it referred to horror stories.

She is the author of the Sin City, A Pirate’s Life for Me, and Juxtapose City series, among several others. She lives in Las Vegas.

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Release Blitz: A Vigil in the Mourning by Hailey Turner

A Vigil in the Mourning | Hailey Turner

Soulbound IV

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Release Date (Print & Ebook): April 6, 2020

Length (Print & Ebook): 102,951

Buy Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0852P8F13/

Author Site: https://haileyturner.com/book/a-vigil-in-the-mourning

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Blurb

The devil you know is never the one you should trust.

Special Agent Patrick Collins is dispatched to Chicago, chasing a lead on the Morrígan’s staff for the joint task force. Needing a cover for his presence in the Windy City, Patrick is ordered to investigate a politician running for mayor. In the lead up to election day, not everything is what it seems in a city where playing to win means appeasing the gods first and the electorate second.

But Chicago brings its own set of problems outside the case: a stand-offish local god pack, a missing immortal, and Patrick’s twin sister. Fighting Hannah and the Dominion Sect provides Patrick with a sinister reminder that some blood ties can never be cut.

Left behind in New York City, Jonothon de Vere finds himself targeted by hunters who will go through anyone to kill him—including the packs under his protection. With a bounty on his head, Jono is forced to make a choice that Patrick would never approve of. Doing so risks breaking the trust he’s built with the man he loves, but not acting will give the rival New York City god pack leverage Jono can’t afford to give up.

When Patrick and Jono reunite in Chicago, Patrick must confront the fraying of a relationship he’s come to rely on for his own sanity. But fixing their personal problems will have to wait—because Niflheim is clawing at the shores of Lake Michigan and the dead are hungry.

A Vigil in the Mourning is a 102k word MM urban fantasy with a gay romantic subplot and a HFN ending. It is a direct sequel to A Crown of Iron & Silver. Reading the first book in the series would be helpful in enjoying this one.

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Excerpt

Patrick shoved the TSA badge, a set of janitor keys, someone’s paper boarding pass, and a lanyard with LaGuardia printed on it into his jacket pocket, fingertips glowing from a look-away ward. Sparks of his magic twisted through the air in their immediate area as the ward directed everyone’s attention away from them.

“I told you to keep your hands to yourself when we went through security,” Patrick hissed.

“Maybe people shouldn’t leave stuff lying around waiting for someone to take it,” Wade muttered.

“They were wearing the damn things!”

Wade shrugged, gaze darting around as they walked through O’Hare, apparently unrepentant of his thieving ways. “I want a hot dog.”

Patrick rolled his eyes and kept walking. “I spent fifty dollars on the plane feeding you. Can we get out of O’Hare first?”

“But Chicago Style Hot Dogs is right there.

Hailey

About The Author

Hailey Turner is big city girl who spoils her cats rotten and has a demanding day job that she loves, but not as much as she loves writing.

She’s been writing since she was a young child and enjoys reading almost as much as creating a new story.

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I have feelings, I need there to be loads of revenge in book three!

ThePrincesDragon-coverThe Prince’s Dragon by W.M. Fawkes & Sam Burns

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I need book three like right now because I have feelings, feelings about people who need to have very horrible things happen to them.

This book nicely takes off very soon after the end of book one with the Kingdom in chaos and Tris not knowing where to turn.

There’re dangers lurking around every corner but there’s also unexpected allies and new friendships forming too.

This book has multiple POVs and I love that I get to see inside the head of lots of different people, not just Tris and Bet.

I also love that there is a strand of FF romance running through the narrative as dragon emissary Rhiannon continues her journey with Sir Sidone, the beautiful knight who helped her escape.

With new secrets being revealed, new characters entering the plot and an enemy determined to take all, the pacing rattles along like a train hurtling to a broken bridge but never veered too far away from the central thread as Tris and Bet navigate their relationship further.

#ARC kindly received from the authors in return for an honest and unbiased review.

View all my reviews

New Release Blitz: The Prince’s Consort by Antonia Aquilante

The Prince’s Consort by Antonia Aquilante

Chronicles of Tournai #1

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Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: March 16, 2020

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 103,300

Buy Links:

NineStar Press | Amazon

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Blurb

Legends tell of large cats defending the principality of Tournai, but such creatures are only myth.

Or are they?

Prince Philip inherited the throne of Tournai at a young age, and since then, his life has centered around ruling his country and resisting those pressuring him to do as they want both in matters of governance and those more personal. He’s become isolated and lonely. Amory is the second son of a wealthy merchant who has never approved of anything about him or had any use for him. Until now.

When kind-hearted Amory is offered to the prince in exchange for more time for Amory’s merchant father to complete a commission, both Philip and Amory are horrified. But Philip agrees to keep Amory at the palace, where they gradually become friends, then lovers. For the first time in his life, Philip is free to share not only his heart, but the magical shape-shifting ability that runs in the royal bloodline—something the royal family has kept secret from all but those closest to them for generations.

Neither Amory nor Philip imagined falling in love, and they certainly don’t expect what those who oppose their relationship will do to keep them apart—maybe even resorting to murder.

Excerpt

The Prince’s Consort
Antonia Aquilante © 2020
All Rights Reserved

Amory giggled as he and Tristan practically fell through the garden gate. He slapped a hand over his mouth, but Tristan must not have heard. If he had, he would have teased without mercy, as was his right as Amory’s closest friend. But Tristan tugged him along, barely giving him a chance to latch the gate behind them so the lock spell would reengage.

All morning, Tristan had been in high spirits—unusual as he was usually the more focused one in classes. But when Amory asked him what was going on, Tristan only shrugged. Maybe it was the weather. All of Jumelle seemed livelier since the warmth of spring had burst over the city.

He let Tristan pull him down the stone path to a secluded corner of the garden shaded by large trees. The walled garden was blooming, giving them plenty of dense foliage to duck behind. With a wicked grin, Tristan turned and pushed him back against a sturdy tree. Before Amory could say a word, Tristan sealed his mouth over Amory’s in a breath-stealing kiss.

The kiss wasn’t a surprise, not then. They had been kissing a lot over the past year or so. The first time had been a surprise, even for Tristan who’d seemed shocked at his own actions. Amory never thought his friend would want to kiss him. He hadn’t thought Tristan saw him in such a way, was attracted to men at all. Their first kiss had been tentative and awkward. They’d gotten better at it quickly.

Much better.

He moaned into the kiss and pulled Tristan closer, urging him to settle his weight against Amory and relishing the feel of Tristan’s firm body against his even as it pushed him into rough tree bark. But who cared about tree bark when Tristan was kissing him as if he wanted to consume him? Deep and passionate, with tongues tangling and teeth nipping. Yes, they had definitely gotten better with all the practice.

“Tris,” he gasped when Tristan pulled back. He wasn’t done with the kiss. But Tristan said nothing, just began kissing along the line of Amory’s jaw. The light little kisses made him shiver and stifle another moan. Though they were in a back corner, away from the house, they were still in his family’s garden, and he didn’t want anyone finding them. They should go somewhere else. A nip to his earlobe made him shudder, and a nuzzling kiss under his ear drove the thought right out of his head.

He grabbed the back of Tristan’s neck and pulled his lips back to Amory’s own for another kiss. Tristan’s slightly larger frame still pressed him into the tree, but Amory took control of the kiss, deepening it and exploring Tristan’s mouth with his tongue. He nearly laughed when Tristan whimpered, loving his ability to provoke such a reaction in the other man. Tristan pulled back with a gasp, and they leaned there together, panting.

“I love kissing you,” Tristan gasped.

Relief exploded in Amory’s chest. Tristan hadn’t said he loved Amory. Tristan was his best friend, but even with all the kissing, Amory wasn’t in love with him. “Me too.”

Tristan grinned and dropped a quick kiss on Amory’s lips. “I want to do more.”

“M-more?” His cheeks heated at the stutter.

Tristan grinned and kissed him again. “Yep. More.”

Amory’s nerves didn’t abate at the confirmation, though he wasn’t sure where they came from. In all the time since that first awkward moment, they hadn’t done anything but kiss. Oh, they touched a little, but never on bare skin and never below the waist. They’d never discussed the concept of “more” before.

The idea did intrigue him. It wasn’t as if he hadn’t thought about what it would be like—he had. But imagining it and doing it were two separate things, and the idea of doing more with Tristan made him vaguely uncomfortable. He wasn’t sure why. They were best friends, and they’d come this far. There was no reason not to go a little farther.

Tristan watched him, his blue eyes intense and a little quizzical. How long had Amory stood there, not saying anything? He smiled past his nerves. “Like what?”

Tristan grinned, slow and wicked, and reached out to unfasten Amory’s pants without a word. Before Amory could protest, before he could decide whether he wanted to protest, Tristan had his hand inside Amory’s pants. He gripped him and began a tight, slow stroke. The feel of another man’s hand on him for the first time stole Amory’s breath, and when he got it back, all he could do was moan.

Tristan’s grin widened at the sound, and his hand sped up, working Amory faster. After a few moments standing there, struggling to breathe, Amory realized he wasn’t doing anything for Tristan. He scrambled to unfasten Tristan’s pants with fumbling fingers as Tristan whispered encouragement. Finally, Amory wrapped his hand around Tristan’s hard member and began to stroke him in time with Tristan’s strokes. It felt awkward at first, different from touching himself yet not so different, but Tristan didn’t voice any objections.

“Yes, yes, yes. Amory,” Tristan gasped into Amory’s ear.

It didn’t last long. Amory might have been embarrassed at how quickly he found his release if Tristan didn’t finish just as fast, spilling over Amory’s hand, and collapsing against him. He was glad of the tree at his back, rough bark and all, because his wobbly knees didn’t have a chance of holding both of them up.

He didn’t know what to think about what they’d done. He’d enjoyed it, but the uncomfortable feeling still plagued him. Before he could begin to analyze it, Tristan was chuckling, low at first, quiet in Amory’s ear, his body shaking against Amory’s chest. Tristan pulled back enough to look at him. His eyes sparkled with happiness, and Amory’s laughter bubbled up to join his friend’s.

The laughter eased the way as they fumbled for handkerchiefs, cleaned themselves up, and neatened their clothes again. Then they leaned against each other and the tree, still laughing a little. It was Amory who moved for another kiss. Both of them were grinning when their lips met, and they couldn’t seem to stop laughing as they kissed, as they kept kissing. But the laughter was soft and light, like the kisses, and Amory relaxed into them, wrapping his arms around Tristan. Telling himself he would think about everything later.

“Good afternoon, brother.”

The unexpected voice and its snide tone had Amory jerking away from the kiss. The back of his head thunked into the tree trunk behind him. Tristan jumped back, separating them much more effectively. Amory almost wished he hadn’t. The short distance between them seemed like a vast gulf, and Amory felt very alone as he straightened away from the tree and turned to face his older brother.

Alban’s handsome face was twisted in a sneer even more disgusted than the one he habitually wore when looking at Amory. He studied Amory and Tristan in silence while Amory struggled not to squirm. No use saying anything to Alban, he knew from bitter experience.

“Now I know why you wanted no part of that pretty little maid last week.” Disdain dripped from Alban’s every word. “You’re more of a disappointment than I thought. Worthless. How are you even my brother?”

With a shake of his head, Alban turned and strode away, likely heading directly for the house. Amory remained frozen for a long moment, not even blinking.

“He’s going to tell your father.” Tristan’s voice was flat, so different from its usual exuberant, almost musical quality. The shock of it broke Amory’s paralysis, and Amory turned to face him. Tristan still stared at the spot where Alban had stood.

“Yes, he is.” Amory ran a shaking hand through his hair and slumped back against the tree. Alban hadn’t hit him, which was a pleasant surprise, but the consequences were still going to be bad. How would Father react? With disappointment, certainly, but that was nothing new. Most likely with anger as well. However disgusted Alban was, their father would be ten times more so.

“Do you think they’ll tell my father?” Tristan turned fear-filled blue eyes on Amory.

“Tris.” Amory reached out. He couldn’t bear seeing him so afraid, and though he couldn’t say much to reassure him, he couldn’t stand by while Tristan was upset either.

But he stepped out of Amory’s reach. “Do you?”

Amory tried to hold back a flinch. “I don’t know.”

Tristan groaned and scrubbed his hands over his face. “He can’t. I don’t know what my father will do if he finds out I prefer men. I’m his oldest son. I’m supposed to take over for him in the business, get married. Have sons to take over the family business after me.”

“You still can. All right, the children part would be difficult if you don’t marry someone who can carry them, but you can still take over the family business.” He didn’t bother mentioning that Tristan had four younger brothers and a younger sister. Surely at least one of them would have children someday who could inherit the family’s business if Tristan never had any of his own and his father insisted on an heir of their blood. But Tristan took his responsibilities as first son seriously. Too seriously. He wouldn’t want to hear that at the moment.

“Not if he disowns me.”

“Now you’re being dramatic. Preferring men is not illegal. It’s not wrong. Your father loves you. He’s proud of you, and you’ll be the same son he’s proud of after he finds out.”

“You don’t know that, Amory.”

No, he didn’t. But Tristan had a better chance of everything working out fine than Amory did. Tristan’s father was proud of his accomplishments, which was more than Amory could say.

“I may not, but I believe it will be all right. Don’t borrow trouble. My father and brother might be too busy killing me to remember to tell your father.”

Tristan huffed out a half laugh and whacked him on the shoulder. “Don’t joke about that.”

“Who’s joking?” Amory smiled crookedly. “Seriously, though, I do think everything will be all right with your father.” He took Tristan’s hand and squeezed and then let go before Tristan could pull away.

“Maybe. I need to go.”

“All right. I’ll see you soon.”

“See you.” Tristan slipped out of their little corner of the garden and was gone before Amory could get another word out. He tried not to think about how unsure Tristan’s parting words sounded. He didn’t want to lose Tristan. Not when he would likely need his friend more than ever.

He didn’t think Father would kill him, but he couldn’t rule out Father hitting him. It was partly why he was so surprised Alban hadn’t—his older brother was a perfect replica of their father in every way. But even without actual murder, Father could make Amory’s life miserable, and Amory wouldn’t be able to do anything until he came of age next week. A week seemed like a short time but was long enough for his father to…

He needed to think about his options. Father would never accept his preferences. Once his father knew, Amory’s time in his family’s house was limited. He hated to leave his younger siblings, especially Adeline, but he doubted he would have much of a choice. It might be best to leave before he was thrown out.

Sighing, he pushed himself away from the tree and started for the house. He hoped he could avoid Father long enough to spend a little time with Adeline and make some plans. And to get his hands to stop shaking.

About the Author

Antonia Aquilante has been making up stories for as long as she can remember, and at the age of twelve, decided she would be a writer when she grew up. After many years and a few career detours, she has returned to that original plan. Her stories have changed over the years, but one thing has remained consistent—they all end in happily ever after.

She has a fondness for travel (and a long list of places she wants to visit and revisit), taking photos, family history, fabulous shoes, baking treats (which she shares with friends and family), and of course, reading. She usually has at least two books started at once and never goes anywhere without her Kindle. Though she is a convert to e-books, she still loves paper books the best, and there are a couple thousand of them residing in her home with her.

Born and raised in New Jersey, Antonia is living there again after years in Washington, DC and North Carolina for school and work. She enjoys being back in the Garden State but admits to being tempted every so often to run away from home and live in Italy.

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