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New Release Blitz: Torn by Rick R. Reed

Torn | Rick R. Reed

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Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: June 29, 2020

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Length: 63,300

Buy Links:

NineStar Press | Amazon

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Blurb

Ever been torn between two lovers? That’s Ricky Comparetto’s problem.

It’s 1995, and Ricky is making his very first trip across the pond with his best friend. Ricky, hungry for love and looking for it in all the wrong places, finds it in the beach city of Brighton. His new love has the curious name of Walt Whitman and is also an American, which only serves to make him sexier and more intriguing. By the time Walt and Ricky part, promises are made for a reunion in Boston.

But the course of true love never runs smoothly. In Chicago Ricky almost immediately falls in love again. Tom Green is a sexy blue-collar beast with the kindest heart Ricky has ever run across.

What’s he to do? With a visit to the East Coast on the horizon and a new love blossoming in Ricky’s home of Chicago, Ricky truly is torn.

Excerpt

Torn
Rick R. Reed © 2020
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One

It was the cheapest flight we could find. Air India, round trip, O’Hare to Heathrow, around seven hundred bucks. We snatched up the fare because my best friend, Boutros BinBin, was homesick and wanted to show me his homeland, “the place that made me who I am.” If you know Boutros, you know this is a scary thought. And yet I still wanted to go.

We snatched up our tickets because we were both sick of Chicago, dreading the humid summer we knew was in store, and because I had done about every guy on the North Side.

Joke. Now Boutros, hush. And stop rolling your eyes!

We’d do London (and EuroPride). We’d do Brighton (Boutros called the seaside town the San Francisco of England because it was so gay—in a good way). We’d do Boutros’s ancient hometown, Bath. Honestly, one of us would do just about any attractive male within the age range of eighteen to, oh, sixty-five—but the latter part was always negotiable. In the dark, a hard dick is a hard dick.

Or maybe I’d find Mr. Right. “You’ll find a hundred Mr. Right Nows if I know you,” Boutros said. Boutros could always see through me like I was made from glass. It was this attribute that I both loved and hated about my best friend—and probably what drew us together when we’d met a couple of years before at a gay writers’ group called the Newtown Writers, in Chicago. I was drawn to his sense of humor, and he was appalled by the Daisy Dukes I wore to the first meeting.

Just a few short years later, we were both summarily thrown out of the writers’ group. Boutros said it was because we were the only two who’d been published, and I argued that it was because we appeared at a meeting at his house wearing nothing but a smile. Gay men! They’re always trying to get you naked, and then, when they succeed, they get offended!

We agreed to lick our wounds over coffee. Compounding the pain of being ousted from the writers’ group, I had recently ended a relationship. Boutros lent a sympathetic ear to my man troubles, which were then all about my indolent, smart, perpetually stoned, and job-challenged boyfriend, Henry, whose life revolved around marijuana—growing it and smoking it morning, noon, and night. I wondered what it was he needed to escape. When I asked Boutros, he told me, “Probably because he can’t stand waking up sober next to that face. And I can’t blame him.” Only Boutros could say such things to me, knowing I would somehow interpret them as demonstrations of love and caring. When we finally broke up after Henry had quit yet another job that was way beneath him, I cut ties.

And yet, I was devastated. Boutros led me through mourning the end of my first gay love with a firm hand, a lot of sarcasm, and a willingness to listen while I rambled on and on into the phone, wondering if I’d done the right thing. After all, Henry could be sweet, although he’d never admit it. On the day Henry moved out (while I was at work—a concept foreign to him), he left the CD player on and Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” playing on infinite loop. Even though I knew Boutros was probably appalled by the sappiness of this gesture, he listened as I choked out words of devastation through sobs, and demonstrated admirable restraint when he could have cut me down to pathetic size with a couple of bon mots. Support like his, coming at a crucial time, often cements two people together.

It did us.

So when Boutros proposed we jet off across the pond together, I was beyond thrilled. Even though I knew I couldn’t afford it on my catalog copywriter salary, which barely paid my rent, going to Europe, especially England, had always been my dream. I’d grown up with a pen pal from the West Midlands and had developed a keen interest in the place from her long letters describing Cannock Chase and the little Staffordshire village in which she lived. Perhaps I could see her, too, while I was there. It would be our first meeting in person.

Boutros convinced me to clean out my bank account for the trip by saying that once we got there, we could stay with friends and family wherever we went. All we’d have to pay for was food (fish and chips!) and drinks (Guinness!). We’d get around via the tube, and for longer distances, we’d take advantage of England’s very user-friendly trains that went just about everywhere.

I desperately needed a break from my boring job and from nursing my broken heart (even if I was the one who technically broke it), so I was on board.

Well, actually, I was on board right that very moment, Boutros next to me. We were on a double-decker plane that was enormous, much bigger than anything I’d ever flown on—not that I’d flown much, just a handful of flights between Chicago and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which had the closest airport to my hometown of East Liverpool, Ohio.

The flight attendants, all women, wore saris. The plane was filled mostly with eastern Indians. Heathrow was a layover for them, not a destination, as this flight continued on to New Delhi.

“Ah, the sweet smell of curry is in the air,” Boutros whispered, leaning close to my ear.

“Hush.” I looked around, praying no one had heard him. I got his sense of humor—which involved saying a lot of things simply for their shock value—but I doubt that anyone else on the plane would.

I already felt as though I’d stepped into another world. I couldn’t wait to get to our destination and see what adventures were in store.

One of the flight attendants came around pushing a trolley. On it were small Styrofoam cups and full-size bottles of whiskey.

“Would you like?” The dark-haired woman smiled at Boutros and me, gesturing toward the bottles and cups.

Indian custom? I shrugged. What the hell? “Yes, please. One for me, and one for my friend here.” I leaned back a little so she could see Boutros in the middle seat. I doubted she could miss him, though, dressed as he was in palazzo pants with a yellow-and-purple paisley pattern, and a white muslin peasant shirt. His black hair stood up in a multitude of directions, and his mustache, waxed, stuck out so far, he could make the truthful claim that one could see the mustache from behind him. The goatee below the mustache was just beginning to gray. His earring and nose ring were connected by a dangling silver chain. He liked to say his face was “done up like a Christmas tree.”

Sometimes I wondered if people even saw me when I stood next to him.

“One?” Boutros scoffed. “Amateur. Could we have two?”

She nodded, smiling, and poured us each two shots of whiskey. She handed them over, and we both quickly downed the first and then handed the cups back to her. Boutros belched and said, “Check back on us, would you?”

The flight attendant’s smile didn’t waver. Serenely, she moved on to the next row to ply the whole plane, I presumed, with strong spirits.

Boutros reached for his leather backpack, which he’d stored under the seat in front of him. “Surprise! I’ve got a little something here that will help shorten the flight, if you know what I mean.” He grinned mischievously as he groped around in the bag’s outer compartment. He brought out a prescription bottle and shook it. A couple of pills rattled.

“Morphine, sweetie, from when I had that cyst out in hospital. Remember? I punched that nun when they started cutting before the anesthetic set in.” He leaned close, rubbing up against my shoulder. “I saved these two just for you and me, darling.”

“You’re too good to me. They say time is the most thoughtful gift, but I beg to differ. I say it’s drugs.” I returned the shoulder nudge, then held out my hand like a beggar.

We popped the morphine, washing it down with our second shot of whiskey. The unvoiced plan, of course, was that we would sleep on the overnight transatlantic flight, arriving in London the next morning refreshed and ready to begin our sightseeing after dropping our stuff off at Boutros’s friend Trevor’s place in Westminster.

Maybe I was too excited to sleep, but even after a third shot of whiskey and morphine, I was still wide-awake for the full eight-hour flight. And perhaps my excitement was contagious, because Boutros couldn’t catch a wink either. We watched our flight’s progress on a screen on the back of the seats in front of us. I thought, Hurry, hurry.

If anything, the drugs and alcohol had the curious effect of making us even more bright-eyed and bushy-tailed than either of us usually were. After trying fitfully—and desperately—to sleep, fluffing the thin and starchy pillows our flight attendant had given us, we passed the night talking about what we’d see and do, following the vivid colors and subtitles of the inflight movie, Raja, which was, from what I could gather from the subtitles, a romance about a young man reuniting with the woman he was supposed to marry years earlier. We ate the meals the airline offered—chicken tikka masala and basmati rice for me and saag paneer and rice for him. Even though it was Indian food, which Boutros and I both adored, it was airline food…and thus barely edible. Fortunately, they brought out the complimentary whiskey cart again near the end of the flight.

And, at around 10:00 a.m. London time, we touched down on the runway at Heathrow International Airport.

About the Author

RickRReed-524x749

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…” Find him at http://www.rickrreedreality.blogspot.com.

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

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Torn Now Available

My favourite in this series and possibly my favourite Vicki character in Kye!

orange moon ebookSlow Dances Under an Orange Moon by V.L. Locey

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Easily my favourite in this series from Vicki and Kye is possibly my favourite character from her too, beating out even the awesomeness of Victor Kalinksi 😂

Kye is just so deliciously single minded and just the right side of arrogant to push all my buttons and I loved how dedicated he was to getting his man back.

This book also took me down a twisty path I hadn’t expected which just added another layer of excellent storytelling.

Davy was a fine man too, I liked that he had lots of stored up anger with Kye that needed to be worked out.

A fabulous set of supporting characters and a whole bunch of hilarious wildlife extras made this book a joyous reading experience.

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

View all my reviews

Release Blitz: The Students of Barrenmoor Ridge | Jackson Marsh

The Students of Barrenmoor Ridge | Jackson Marsh

Barrenmoor Ridge #2

BANNER1 - The Students of Barrenmoor Ridge

Release Date: Monday, February 17 2020

Length: 86,000

Cover Artist: Andjela K

Buy Links:

Amazon Print

 Amazon US | Amazon CAN | Amazon UK

Amazon AUS | Amazon GER | Amazon FRN

Amazon SPN | Amazon ITA | Amazon NL

Amazon JAP | Amazon BZL | Amazon MX | Amazon IND |

COVER - The Students of Barrenmoor Ridge

Blurb

Liam has set himself a goal. To come out to his best friend, Casper, before his 18th birthday while hiking at Fellborough in the Yorkshire Dales.

Things don’t go according to plan, and when a violent storm hits, the camping trip takes a potentially fatal turn. Local mountaineers, John Hamilton and his husband Gary are called to help, but it soon becomes apparent that the rescue is more than physical. Liam and Casper both have secrets that when known, have the potential break or mend their hearts.

***

A mix of YA, romance and adventure, The Students of Barrenmoor Ridge brings back popular characters from the first Barrenmoor book in a familiar setting with love, mountaineering and the dangers of both.

The Mentor of Barrenmoor Ridge is the first book in the Barrenmoor Series of MM romances with a mountain rescue theme. ‘The Students’ takes place two years later, and it is better, but not vital, to read the stories in order.

BANNER2 - The Students of Barrenmoor Ridge

Excerpt

John was unable to sleep that night. The raging wind didn’t bother him even though the roof tiles rattled, and he knew the old yew tree would be creaking as it bent towards the lean-to. He was used to it and so was the cottage. It was well built.

Gary was curled up behind him, spooned in with one arm across John’s chest. The bedroom was warm, Gary’s presence warmer, and the pillows were soft. There was no reason sleep shouldn’t come, they were safe from the battering, cocooned in the perfect shelter of each other’s arms, and yet…

The scream of the wind as it charged them from the summit of Lhotse, the vibrations of the ground when an avalanche fell, the hiss of snow stinging the tent, and the mountain’s roar, all sounds he heard through the inconsequential force six doing its best to rattle the house. The bitter bite of memory gnawed at his mind for sure, but the main reason his thoughts leapt from the anesthetising approach of sleep to the worst conditions in the world had nothing to do with the past.

There were people out there now, at Everest, yes, but also on the fells. The team were over at Northpeak and they’d picked a fine night for training, but closer to home, there were hikers and climbers huddled beneath inadequate canvas hoping their pegging was sound and wishing the night would end. Daylight might bring security, but it didn’t guarantee good weather, and it was still hours away. A lot could happen. The storm had worsened to a frightening zenith before the thunder abated slightly, but still he couldn’t sleep. The lessening conditions meant the eye of the storm was overhead, and there would be more, possibly worse, to follow.

He pictured the fell from above, seeing through the agitated clouds to the swamped ground a mile below. Lit by lightning bursts, he imagined it as waves frozen in mid-roll with Fellborough peak a crest and the lower terrain its ripples. Peppered around it were insignificant dots of inappropriate colour, the shop-bought, budget tents of the unwary trembling against the elements.

He had pictured the scene on many nights as he lay listening to the conditions and wating for the MRT radio to spark into life, or for his pager to double-beep the call sign, but tonight he was seeing it more clearly, as if it was unfolding on a widescreen television in high definition. Unaffected by the storm, he floated above it, watching over its potential victims, safe at his altitude and apart. The unhinged tempest beneath blasted from one insane thought to another, swiping at anything in its path, but John was safe, hovering on a warm updraft that dulled him towards the soft paws of sleep.

Until he fell.

Security gone. No handholds, no rope, only the empty space between him and the life-taking certainty of rock.

Gasping, he opened his eyes as his body jerked. The clock glowed one-forty-seven, and Gary had rolled away leaving him exposed and vulnerable. The pager was silent, and John was safe in his bed, but a few miles away, people might be battling for their lives, and all he could do was wait.

The rain no longer stung when it swiped Liam’s face, his flesh was too numb to register the pain. The torch beam was nothing more than a thread through barely penetrable blackness, but it showed him the ground a few steps at a time.

That was all he needed to do, take it slowly using common sense and exercising caution. The tent had been facing west, and he found the way down from the ledge between two large boulders with no trouble. Straight on to the south, he met the path. Over to his left, the lightning was now on the horizon, and the wind was swooping down from the fell on his right. If the storm didn’t change direction, it would keep him on course, and the path, now more like a stream, was marked here and there by cairns. With the wind to one side and the dying lightning to the other, he only needed to keep going downhill until he met the riverbed. If it was flooded, he’d wade straight through to if he had to.

It was his fault that Casper was in trouble. Whatever had made him go out unprotected in the storm, and whatever had happened next didn’t matter. There was nothing that could be done to change that, all that mattered now was finding someone who could save him. Repercussions of a bad decision would come, and Liam would deserve them – unprepared, inexperienced, thinking he knew what he was doing… Why hadn’t he just taken Casper down to the beach at home to tell him? Why drag him halfway up the country and make him climb a hill to ruin their friendship? He could have done that weeks ago had he not been such a ridiculous romantic. There was nothing romantic about destroying their friendship and leaving his best friend shivering to death on…

He yelled at himself to stop. Beating himself up wouldn’t do any good. He had to concentrate on his footing, and pretend he knew what he was doing. Casper needed him to be strong, to be wise, to take only a course of action that would lead to rescue, everything else had to wait.

Not knowing how far he had descended, he stopped and took out his phone. Sheltering it as best he could against his chest, he switched it on only to find no signal and the battery bar now glowing red. The phone back in his pocket, the torch aimed at the path, his head down, he continued.

The rain was easing off, that was a blessing, but the gale roared in his ears, low and booming one moment, high-pitched the next. As uncoordinated as his frozen feet, as wild as the anger he turned in on himself, it would not leave him alone. It taunted and jabbed as it bullied, and in the cacophony, he imagined laughter, spiteful and insulting, but deserved.

Another sound grew closer on a rumbling vibration beneath his feet, and a few paces further, he came to the edge of the riverbed.

Except now there was no bed, only river as thousands of gallons of water teamed from the blackness on his right to vanish back into the night on his left. The torch lit foam spewing around rocks in untamed channels that bubbled wildly and fast across his path. There was no way to judge the depth, and no way of knowing if the rocks that stood above the surface were stable, but equally, there was no time to think about it. Squinting through dripping eyelashes and aiming his light, it was impossible to see how wide it was either, but he knew for certain that there was no way to go up and around. Downhill, it could flow east for miles and take him off his path. The only way was through, and he knew he might not survive.

About The Author

AUTHOR PIC - The Students of Barrenmoor Ridge - Jackson Marsh

Jackson Marsh is a British born author of novels and screenplays.

Jackson has a background of theatre, cabaret and music and yet holds a social policy degree. He was born on the Romney Marshes in Kent, UK, but now lives on a mountainous Greek island. During the 1980s in London he campaigned for gay rights and performed political satire cabaret, writing song and reviews, appearing at Pride events, national venues and on television.

He moved to Greece in 2002 and married his partner there in 2017. He has won awards for his gay erotic writing, and in 2007, won a European-wide award for short stories. In 2017, he won awards for his screenplay writing.

Jackson is the author of ‘The Clearwater Mysteries’, and also writes fiction under the name James Collins.

Author Website: www.jacksonmarsh.com

Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002130420544

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

Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/CollinsWords26

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17332953.Jackson_Marsh

Author QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/jackson-marsh/

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Jackson-Marsh/e/B077LDT5ZL/

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Jackson is giving away a $20 Amazon gift card with this tour.

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