Tag Archives: Forgiveness

Release Blitz: Amalgamated by Becca Seymour

Amalgamated |Becca Seymour

Coming Home Series

AMALGAMATED

Publisher: Rainbow Tree Publishing

Cover Artist: Soxsational Cover Art

Release Date: September 28, 2019

Heat Rating: 3 flames

Length: 18,000 words/70 pages approx.

It is a standalone story

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Blurb

Escape with Leo and Zak in outback Australia as they discover it sometimes takes time, distance, and interfering family to amalgamate.

After five years of living in the UK, it’s time for Leo to return home to his dad’s stud farm in outback Australia. He has no idea what to expect when he arrives. He didn’t exactly leave with balloons and banners.

Nope. His farewell involved destruction and his own heart split in two.

He knows seeing the man who’s always held his heart, Zak, is going to be awkward. The older farm manager made his feelings pretty damn clear when Leo hightailed it out of there.

Leo quickly figures out life is going to get complicated and a whole heap more exciting as his trip home becomes so much more.

Amalgamated is a fun and steamy MM short story in Becca Seymour’s Coming Home series. Stand-alone romances complete with heat, wit, and happily ever afters.

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Coming Home #1

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Excerpt

“Promise you won’t be mad.”

Groaning, I shook my head. Any request starting that way was going to result in me being pissed off. “What did you do?”

This time her glance my way had me tensing. Concern flickered in her eyes. When she focused on the road ahead, she blew out her cheeks, her lips pursed. “We’re heading to mine.”

“Okay?” I dragged out the word. I’d figured that out since we weren’t heading towards Dad and Michelle’s.

“Dad kinda got excited about you coming home.”

My stomach dipped. I just knew where she was heading with this. Slamming my eyes shut, I waited for her next words.

They came out in a rush. “Sohekindainvitedaheapofpeopleover. But…” She gasped for breath. “…it’s not technically a party, as there aren’t banners or balloons.”

My eyes sprang open, and I stared at her wide-eyed.

She glanced at me, a mix of horror and amusement on her face. “You owe me big for talking him out of that.”

“Yet you couldn’t have talked him into a small family meal?”

She shrugged. “I did try, but, Leo.” She paused, emotion swirling in her eyes, and I swallowed. This was just one of the reasons I’d stayed away. Guilt still clawed at me whenever I gave it life. “Dad was so excited you were coming home. You know he still doesn’t understand why you left. If it had just been heading to the city, that would have been a struggle, but you travelled to the other side of the world.”

My gut clenched. I still felt shit for leaving my dad, but I had my own life to live, and taking over my dad’s stud farm wasn’t what I wanted. Plus there was the major screw-up with how I destroyed any semblance of a friendship with Zak.

“There’s more.”

I flashed Jen a resigned look.

“Dad obviously invited Zak.”

My heart seized, and my gut churned. This could not be happening. While I’d anticipated seeing him, I wasn’t prepared for it to be the first night I got home. In hindsight, this was ridiculously naïve of me, considering his place was only a hundred metres or so away from the main house on the property.

“I know, I know, but best to get the whole awkwardness out of the way, right?” She reached out and gave my hand a small squeeze. After I’d run out on Zak the night I’d left, it had taken just a handful of calls from Jen for her to recognize something was wrong and for me to spill my guts. We remained close, even with the distance of the past five years, and without her in my corner, life certainly would have been trickier.

“Yeah, I suppose.” There was something to be said for ripping the Band-Aid off, but my gut clenched in anticipation.

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About the Author

Becca Seymour lives and breathes all things book related. Usually with at least three books being read and two WiPs being written at the same time, life is merrily hectic. She tends to do nothing by halves so happily seeks the craziness and busyness life offers.

Living on her small property in Queensland with her human family as well as her animal family of cows, chooks, and dogs, Becca appreciates the beauty of the world around her and is a believer that love truly is love.

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Release Blitz: Bernard’s Diary by S. L. Danielson

Bernard’s Diary | S. L. Danielson

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Cover Artist: Diana TC (triumphcovers.com)

Release Date: June 28, 2019

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 44,000 words/142 pages

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Blurb

Can a suicidal bellhop find true love?

Bernard Covington, suicidal and not the most handsome man in the world, would be happy to leave the world behind altogether.

That is until he meets Dr. Jack Larson. The physician takes his wounded heart and soul and patches them back together, but is he Mr.Perfect?

Bernard and Jack develop a romance, but soon the tide begins to shift as Jack’s past is revealed and it becomes a game-changer for the couple to deal with.

Will Bernard and Jack have a happy ending or will he succumb to his desire to end it all or will dealing with Jack’s phantoms keep him going? Only Bernard’s diary knows what secrets lurk in his soul…

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Excerpt

Prologue

Bernard sat on his bed after another long day at the hotel just a few miles away. He was a bellhop.

Not the most glamorous profession, but the only one he could get years ago when his life plans changed drastically. He raked his fingers through his thick salt-n-pepper hair and yawned wide. He reached down and opened up his nightstand drawer and pulled out his journal. He flipped to an open page and plucked off the pen that was attached to the outside and clicked the point down.

I can’t hold this in much longer. Jeremy makes me want to explode every time I get near that incredible body of his! He’s such a good customer, tips well, and never has much luggage. I love bringing up room service to him…I wish it were me that was staying behind in the room with him. I have to tell him how I feel; he must suspect something by now. I’d give anything to have a real man in my life for once, just once! Something’s gotta change in a big way or…shit. I’ve just, I’ve got to do this before I fall apart and die a 46-yr-old virgin. Wishing myself luck!

Chapter 1: Fateful Night

August 8th. 10 p.m. The blinding red and blue strobing from the ambulance lights lit up the dark street. It’d been a silent evening until its arrival. Two paramedics rushed up the concrete steps to the midnight blue steel entry door on the far side of the long, rectangular apartment building. The lights from the ambulance painted a brilliant hue onto the otherwise dull, gray brick building. Even the trim was gray and all of it was rusted and falling apart.

Another medic followed after, steering a gurney down the steps. Their patient was out cold and stripped from the waist up. He had all kinds of medical apparatus on him; IVs, a breathing mask, and a defibrillator on standby. Finally, the two medics maneuvered their patient down and into the waiting ambulance.

“Ok, what’ve we got?” barked the voice over the radio.

“Heart attack and attempted suicide,” the medic replied in a professional, matter-of-fact tone.

“Any defib?”

“Shocked him twice. 46-year-old male, obese, two bad wrist lacerations, and ingestion of pills.”

“10-4, we’ll be ready.”

The ambulance pulled into the emergency department at Adams County hospital. It wasn’t a fully-equipped center, but it would have to do. The patient was near death. The doors on the ambulance flew open and the stat team ran out to greet them. In charge was a tall, handsome young doctor named Jack Larson. They ran with the gurney inside and to a treatment room. There were four people working on him at once, but Jack kept order to the chaos.

“Nurse, type and cross-match his blood and start him on Narcan.”

“Yes, Doctor.”

“What’re his vitals?” he demanded.

“BP is 90 over 50, pulse 135,” the lead nurse replied.“Damn, too high. What’s our patient’s name?”

“Bernard Covington.” The other nurse read it from the report.

He touched the patient’s shoulder and leaned over him. “Mr. Covington? Can you hear me?” He pulled out his exam flashlight and pulled up the man’s eyelids one at a time to check the dilation.

“He’s out cold, doc. Cops said they found him like this, pills were right next to him.” One of the medics chimed in.

“How many and what kind?” Dr. Larson asked.

“Effexor, 50 mg. Had 30 pills filled, only 20 were found, and it was just filled.” The nurse drew the necessary blood and labeled it for the lab.

The doctor groaned. He hated seeing suicide cases. “All right, let’s pump his stomach, suture these wrists too. They’re pretty deep.”

“Yes, sir.” The nurse prepared the needle, cleansed the wounds, and very skillfully sewed up the wounds. He wrapped them in a thick, cushy layer of gauze and laid them at the patient’s side.

“Good job, Higgins.” Dr. Larson nodded at him.

“Damn, Dr. Jack; that’s the worst I’ve seen. Cops found a butcher knife with blood on it.”

Jack looked at the nurse in surprise. “A butcher knife? Damn, Bernard, you’d cut your hand off.”

He pursed his lips and shook his head.

“He’s stabilizing, Dr. Larson,” the nurse reported.

“Alright, go prep him and pump his stomach. Keep him on constant watch.”

“Yes, Doctor.”

About the Author

S. L. (Stephanie) Danielson began writing at the tender age of five. She knew it was her calling from the moment she put pen to paper. In her teens she began writing alternative works and the genre stuck. She created ever more elaborate tales and finally in her early 20’s years began to create works with her new love; male/male romance. She has since written more than 30 works both solo and collaborations).

Stephanie is classically trained in business, accounting, and HR/training, possessing both an undergrad and graduate degree. She also owned and operated Romance First Publishing where the ultimate goal was to help other unknown, as well as known authors get their start in the publishing world.

Beyond writing, her other hobbies include painting, gaming, and spending time with her husband and two cherished cats.

Her blog is www.sldanielsoncom.wordpress.com and email is ladyauthorsld@gmail.com

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Release Blitz: Who We Used To Be by Dara Nelson

Who We Used to Be | Dara Nelson

Do-Over Series #1

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Publisher: Dare Publishing

Cover Artist: Dara Nelson

Cover Photo: Dan Skinner/DWS Photography

Release Date: June 15, 2019

Genre/s: Contemporary, MM, Romance

Heat Rating: 5 flames

Length: 51,356 words/280 pages

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Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US | Amazon UK

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Blurb

Ten years ago Zeke Malloy had everything:

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

He had love, happiness……a heart.

All of that changed in the blink of an eye.

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

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

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

Was ten years too long?

Was a broken heart too much?

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

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

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Excerpt

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

He was numb.

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

Everything he thought he knew was shattered.

How could he do this?

Everything he thought he could have was gone.

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

And anger – god there was so much anger.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But how?

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

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

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

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

Zeke’s eyes squeezed shut.

He knew that voice.

He’d felt that voice.

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

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

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

He shook his head.

No. Not again. Never again.

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

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

Good.

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

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

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

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

But he couldn’t.

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

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

Zeke refused to turn and look at the man.

Truth be told, he was afraid to look.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Never again.

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

About the Author

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Editing, Publishing, Book Cover Design and more!

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

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

Dara Nelson is the author of:

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

Under the pen name Kendel Duncan:

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

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Release Blitz: Under The Jasmine Flowers by W.S. Long

Under The Jasmine Flowers | W.S. Long

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Publisher: JMS Books

Cover Artist: Written Ink Design

Release Date: May 18, 2019

Heat Rating: 3 flames

Length: 73,321 words/154 pages

Buy Links

Amazon US | Amazon UK

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Blurb

Jojo Arias, a Spanish-Filipino mestizo, didn’t expect to meet a US Marine in a swank bar in the Philippines. But Jojo can’t deny the electricity they have once he meets Adam.

Although they come from different worlds, they struggle to keep their relationship private to protect Jojo’s status, and position as part of one of the wealthiest and powerful in Filipino society.

Billions of dollars could be easily lost if his family business was jeopardized by Jojo’s secret. Jojo is pressured to abandon Adam and live a life in the closet.

When the struggle to maintain their secret romance unravels, Jojo is left with a life-changing decision to leave his family or to pursue his love.

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Excerpt

James Joseph Garcia Arias savored the last few drops, then set the now empty pilsner down, right next to two other empty bottles of San Miguel beer. Despite the thick glass windows in the swank Makati bar that should have offered some soundproofing, Saturday Manila traffic passed noisily one floor below. The rumble of buses, cars honking, and steady stream of headlights never bored him. He preferred the noise of the city to the quiet stillness that his parents called home.

He glanced at his Patek Phillipe Nautilus watch his grandmother had given him. He texted Erwin. Ready. Barely a second or two passed, when his phone received the reply text. Be right there, boss. He sighed. He’d asked Erwin not to call him that for the longest time, but Erwin insisted.

Jojo stood, fished out the right amount of pesos, plus a slightly larger gratuity than what was expected, then headed for the men’s room. A large group of Americans sat around the glass-tiled bar, laughing loudly. He guessed they were military, based on their crew cuts, hanging out to blow off steam. When he returned a few minutes later, after peeing an hour’s worth of beer, one of the military guys glanced up, and smiled at him. The man’s eyes followed Jojo.

Walk on by. Don’t stop.

He wanted to listen to the voice inside his head but he couldn’t. Maybe the alcohol made him less inhibited, maybe he was still reeling from the breakup with his fiancee and maybe he wanted to talk to someone who wasn’t an employee or a family member, or maybe because no one left in the bar knew him because the next thing he did was he stopped, inches away from the blond.

“Is this seat taken?” Jojo asked.

The stranger smiled more broadly and shook his head. “No.”

Jojo waited a second to see if the handsome man would say something else, but all the blond man did was smile even more. “American right?” Jojo asked.

“Yes.”

“I’m guessing you guys are U.S. military?”

“Marines, yeah. We’re sending one of our guys off, rotating from the Embassy here. My name’s Adam, by the way.” Adam offered his hand, which Jojo shook.

“James Arias, but my friends call me ‘Jojo’.”

Adam opened his mouth to say something but was interrupted by his friends who came over to meet Jojo. It didn’t take Jojo long to figure that Adam was probably the only sober one in the group, as the four other guys slurred their words, and often laughed uncontrollably at each other’s jokes. When Adam’s friends returned to their seats at the bar, Adam leaned in. “Your English is perfect, no trace of an accent, so I’m guessing you’re American too?”

“You’re partly right. I was born in America. My mother was a medical student in the U.S., and we lived in San Francisco but we moved back here after she got her degree.”

“So your mom’s a doctor?”

Jojo smiled. He wanted to tell Adam the whole long story of why his mother had never practiced medicine after she completed medical school because the family had seen no need of her working at a hospital or a clinic, and that these days her mother was busy hosting, or attending social and charitable events, but he thought the better of it and just answered simply. “Yeah, she is.”

“So you live here. . . I mean the Philippines?” Adam asked.

“Yes, I do.”

“I’m sorry I’m asking stupid questions because you don’t look Filipino. I hope I’m not offending you by saying that. Most Filipinos are short and very Asian looking. You look more like my Latino friends from Southern California and in a good way.”

Jojo laughed. “It’s probably the lighting, but my father and mother are both parts Spanish and Filipino so maybe that’s why my features are different than most.” Jojo’s cell phone vibrated. I’m downstairs, boss. Jojo palmed the phone for a second, aware that Adam was studying him. Erwin, something’s come up. Head back to the garage until I text you again.

“Girlfriend?”

Jojo shook his head without looking up from his phone.

“Boyfriend then?”

Jojo raised his head and laughed at the handsome man’s brazenness. He liked how Adam’s strong jawline, full lips and dark eyebrows peered at him, waiting on every word. Maybe it was the alcohol. He moved within earshot so that only the Marine could hear. “No, I haven’t had a boyfriend in a long time. But, I did just break up with my fiancée.”

“Is that why you were nursing several beers over in that corner after your friends left you?”

Jojo narrowed his eyes. “You’re very perceptive, Adam. Except they weren’t my friends, they were . . . co-workers.” Jojo almost said employees, but stopped himself. Maybe it was the Arias family tendency to be secretive, and not give out too much information, but here he was on a Saturday night in a bar, drinking, when he was usually still in the office poring over engineering details, building plans, and contract proposals.

“I’m sorry about the break-up. You look torn up about it. I couldn’t help but notice earlier when we first arrived. Can I buy you a beer?”

Jojo smiled, then laughed without meaning to. The last time a guy had bought him a beer was in a dive bar right outside CalPoly, after an engineering final.

“What’s so funny?” Adam asked, as he chuckled along.

“It’s been a while since another guy offered to buy me a beer.”

“No worries. It looked like earlier you needed it. Did she break your heart?” Jojo faced toward the bar, away from Adam. Jojo didn’t say anything, but he wanted to respond.

Adam spoke again. “You don’t have to answer that if you don’t want to.”

Jojo pondered Adam’s question as Adam’s friends got louder and louder on their end of the bar.

“Don’t worry about them,” Adam said as he pointed to his friends. “I’m the designated driver, and in about an hour they’ll all be sound asleep snoring in the government issued van I’m driving.”

So he’s brazen without alcohol.

Jojo faced Adam and breathed deeply. He couldn’t tell the color of Adam’s piercing eyes but Jojo couldn’t deny his own intense interest in the serviceman. Adam leaned in and prolonged his gaze. Jojo was mesmerized. Adam seemed genuinely concerned. And maybe he was wrong, but Adam appeared compassionate. “She asked me if I was ever going to marry her. If I loved her, and if we were only together because both our families wanted it. I had to tell her the truth, and that as much as I had feelings for her, I didn’t love her.”

“Ouch!” Then Adam smiled, his voice took on a tone of playfulness. “And you’re here, living and breathing with no scratch on you.”

“She is a very logical, rational person. That’s why I liked her when we first met. She was so completely different from the other girls my parents tried to set me up with.”

“You have a picture of her? I’m curious.”

Jojo nodded, fished out his phone, and scrolled through some pictures before showing a good one of his ex, Lani.

“Wow. She’s hot. Your parents had good taste if they thought she would be a good wife.”

One of Adam’s friends sauntered over and peered at Lani’s photo. “Dude, your girlfriend?”

“Ex,” Adam said. “That’s his ex.”

“How about giving me her number? She’s pretty.”

Jojo shook his head. If Lani, a black belt in tae kwon do, found out he’d ever given her number to someone, she’d probably roundhouse kick him in the head before he knew anything about it. “Sorry, I can’t do that.”

“Well, at least I tried,” the Marine said. “Hey, Adam, we’re thinking we should head on over to the bars downtown.”

“Downtown?” Adam asked.

“Ermita,” the man said.

Adam turned away so that only Jojo could see his face as he rolled his eyes.

“What do you say? For old time’s sake?” his friend asked. “You’re welcome to come along––’’

“––Jojo, my name’s, Jojo,” as they both shook hands.

“Mine’s Nate. Yeah, come along with us, I’m sure Adam won’t mind,” the Marine continued. “It’ll keep him company, and his mind off his ex-boyfriend he’s probably still pining after.”

Adam slouched. Adam’s reaction to his Marine buddy’s comment must have hit a chord and Jojo was compelled to find out more about Adam. Jojo hesitated for a moment. He wasn’t used to spontaneously accepting strangers offers to hang out, but Adam’s eyes beckoned him to say yes. Besides, maybe a few more hours out on the town would make him feel better for breaking up with Lani.

“If you’re sure I won’t be a fifth wheel, yeah, I’ll join you.”

Adam smiled. “Nate’s a little bit of a douche bag. So sorry about that.”

“Well, your friend’s had a little too much to drink.” Jojo leaned closer, sticking a hand in his pants pocket, his lips almost touching Adam’s ear, and whispered. “But to be honest, that scene is a little too, I’m trying to find the right words to say it––”

“––Red light? Yeah, I hate going down there.” Adam put his hand on top of Jojo’s wrist, squeezed it, and then removed it. The quick touch happened in a blink of an eye. “Do you have any other suggestions?”

Jojo didn’t say anything. He was shocked that Adam had just placed his hand on him, so casually, so friendly like. He couldn’t deny the electricity he felt when Adam touched him either. “If they’re looking for dancing women, there’s a club two blocks from here, more upscale but not so red light, as you say.”

“Well, lead the way, Jojo.” Adam smiled. “I’ll rustle them from the bar and we’ll follow you.” Adam stood and moved to where Nate and the other guys were huddled.

Jojo motioned to the bartender. “I’ll pay their tab.”

“Thanks, Mr. Arias. Shall I add it to your monthly bill?”

Jojo nodded. Before he could say anything else, Adam appeared at his elbow. Standing, he towered over Jojo by a few inches.

“The boys are cool checking out a new place. Thanks for the offer.”

“So who’s leaving that you’re having this party for?” Jojo asked.

“His name’s John.” Adam pointed him out. “He’s been stationed at the Embassy for more than three years now. Overdue for his new assignment back to San Diego.”

Jojo signed the chit the bartender handed him without even looking at the total bill.

“Hey, is that our bill? You shouldn’t have done that. What do we owe you?”

Jojo shook his head. “Don’t worry about it. I come here often enough that they actually give me a discount, and I’m glad to pay. Thanks for your service. All of you.”

Adam walked to where Nate stood, clapped him on the shoulder, and shouted something in his ear. All the guys around Nate, including John, turned to Jojo and raised their glasses and beer bottles, some empty and others not so empty. “Thanks!” they shouted in unison.

Adam took two steps back to Jojo. “Now, they’ll follow you to the ends of the earth. Buying their drinks bought you some loyalty. Lead the way, fine sir!” Adam gestured with a bow, holding an invisible cap in his hands as his head followed the gesture.

Jojo laughed at the dramatic flourish and walked out of the bar, Adam right next to him as the other Marines followed them. As they took the steps down one level to the street, Jojo recognized the SUV parked on the side. “Hold on,” he said to Adam.

Jojo approached the Lexus with dark tinted windows. The whir of the window revealed Erwin’s face. “I didn’t go back to the garage, boss. They said I could just wait here until you were done, however long it lasted.”

“Well, we’re headed to my cousin’s VIP club down the block. You know the one. If you want to meet me there, that’s fine.” Jojo ignored his driver’s raised eyebrow. Jojo’s cousin, Tiny, owned a lounge with a rooftop bar.

Jojo hadn’t talked to Tiny in a week or so, since Tiny asked for a loan from Arias Holdings to help his deep in the red bar.

Tiny’s club had boxing on one floor, Ukrainian and Russian models on the second floor, and Filipino women, working as cocktail waitresses, dressed in Vietnamese ao dais whose skirts were mini-skirts rather than full-length dresses. The male bartenders were all selectively picked for the discreet crowd. Cousin Tiny interviewed the entire bar and wait staff himself, making sure that they were attractive. The truth was, if they could flirt with Tiny and the head waitress, they were hired if they had a pretty face. Jojo didn’t care for the little people fighting in a small area that took up most of the dance floor, but his cousin assured him that he never exploited them, and that they were being paid handsomely to pretend to hit each other very hard.

The walk to the building where the lounge was didn’t take long. Security at the front recognized Jojo immediately. “They’re with me,” Jojo pointed to Adam and the Marines. The large security guard at the front, who Jojo guessed was probably part Samoan and part Filipino, was dressed in a heavy wool jacket and pants, nodded and then radioed the two equally large security guards by the door. They were shown to the marbled main floor of the building. As soon as they took the elevators, again escorted by another security guard, Adam and the Marines were quiet and didn’t say much. When they arrived at the final floor, loud music greeted them before the elevator doors opened.

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About the Author

A military brat, who joined the military himself, W.S. Long now practices law during the day, but at night reads and writes male-male romance.

When he’s not writing, W.S. Long travels and dreams of traveling far off distant lands with his mild-mannered college professor husband.

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Release Blitz: Saint Unashamed: A Gay Mormon’s Life by Kerry Ashton

Saint Unashamed: A Gay Mormon’s Life | Kerry Ashton

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Publisher: Lynn Wolf Enterprises

Cover Artist: Kerry Ashton

Release Date: April 17, 2019

Heat Rating: 5 flames

Length: 120 000 words /348 pages incl. 14 pages of B&W photos from the author’s private collection.

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Blurb

The first paragraph of Kerry Ashton’s new memoir explains a lot: “I told this story once as fiction in the 1980s, but this time I tell the truth. I even tell the truth, in #MeToo fashion, about being violently raped by another man when I was 18, with a knife held to my throat—a secret I kept from everyone, including myself, for over 40 years.

“The rape, like other experiences I endured while a student at Brigham Young University, where I came out in the early 1970s, had a profound impact on my later life. But this story is not so much about my rape or my coming of age at BYU, as it is about the lifelong effects of shame itself, not only about how I internalized and inherited a wounding shame from my Mormon upbringing but also how I eventually unshamed myself.

“It is about the journey of a lifetime, finding spiritual growth, self-discovery and healing along the way while encountering many miraculous events that pushed me forward through darkness toward the light.”

Telling about his experiences during his four years at BYU—the rape, falling in love for the first time, police surveillance, harassment and arrest, while enduring three years of conversion therapy and electric shock treatments—provide the structure of Kerry’s memoir.

But intermittently, the author shares memories from his childhood, growing up Mormon in Pocatello, Idaho, and later from his adulthood, as well as from his professional career as an actor and writer, both in L.A. and NYC, describing encounters with Barbra Streisand, Elizabeth Taylor, Bette Davis and Julie Harris, while detailing his experiences with Tennessee Williams and his brief affair with Stephen Sondheim.

Lastly, he talks about the 12 years he spent in therapy, about his 16-year battle with cancer, how he eventually rid himself of the shame internalized from his Mormon youth, sharing glimpses into his sexual journey from his innocent youth through S&M and the gay leather scene in mid-life to the loving monogamous relationship he now enjoys.

NOTE: There are many erotic passages—most are hardcore, erotic and explicit passages, all MM. Many deal with scenes of sexual humiliation, degradation, group scenes, S&M and/or the gay male leather scene.

Excerpt

PART ONE

I told this story once as fiction in the 1980s, but this time I tell the truth. I even tell the truth, in #MeToo fashion, about being violently raped by another man when I was 18, with a knife held to my throat—a secret I kept from everyone, including myself, for over 40 years.

The rape, like other experiences I endured while a student at Brigham Young University, where I came out in the early 1970s, had a profound impact on my later life. But this story is not so much about my rape or my coming of age at BYU, as it is about the lifelong effects of shame itself, not only about how I internalized and inherited a wounding shame from my Mormon upbringing, but also how I eventually unshamed myself. It is about a lifetime journey of spiritual growth, self-discovery and healing, including many miraculous events along the way that pushed me forward through the darkness toward the light.

Growing up in Pocatello, Idaho in the 50s, in the heart of Mormon Zion, was like growing up in Oz, where Mormons kept me on a religious path the way the Munchkins told Dorothy to follow the yellow brick road. Most American families felt pressure in those years to appear like the perfect U.S. family seen in TV shows likeFather Knows Best and Ozzie and Harriet.

But in our insulated Mormon community in southeastern Idaho, the expectations of appearing like a perfect family increased dramatically.

With a population of 35,000, Pocatello was Idaho’s second largest city in the 1950s. It is now twice that size if you count the suburbs. Home to Idaho State University, Pocatello was and still is very LDS—as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints call themselves.

In Pocatello, like all LDS communities, church membership divided into wards. My family and I were members of the Pocatello 15th Ward, one of several wards within Alameda Stake, and among the more than 40 LDS wards in Pocatello. As LDS Brothers and Sisters, we proselytized Gentiles—as we preferred to call non- Mormons—but we never socialized with them, since the Prophet had warned us “to avoid the mere appearance of evil.”

To survive in my LDS family and Mormon community, I had to pretend to be a perfect Saint the way my parents did.

Both of my parents were raised dirt poor during the Great Depression. Mom was barely 17 and Dad only 20 when they married during his military furlough, prior to Dad shipping out with the Navy to serve in the South Pacific during World War II. After Dad returned from the war, my parents had four babies in six years.

The firstborn, my oldest brother Dennis, was expected to be the responsible one. When he couldn’t live up to all that was expected of him, he became the family scapegoat. My sister Denise was assigned the role of Daddy’s little girl, his perfect Mormon princess, and the sweetest of all of us. Craig would later make Dad proud as a popular athlete in school and in his later and highly successful career in public education.

Without knowing it, Dad had claimed the first of his three children as his own. So when I came along, being the youngest and Mother’s last chance, she claimed me entirely for herself. As my New York therapist noted decades later, “Whether you were a boy or a girl, she knew she would name you Kerry, since she expected you to carry and meet her emotional needs from then on.”

Both of my parents had dormant and repressed shame boiling within each of them. Sometimes, as my siblings and I made our way down the LDS yellow brick road, my parents’ shame came sailing at us like the fireballs thrown by the Wicked Witch.
I don’t know how old I was when Mom lay me out naked on a changing mat, as I waited for a new diaper. I only remember that when she wiped down my genitals, my “little pee-pee,” as Mom called it, sprang to attention.

“Oh, dear!” Mother exclaimed, removing her hand from my penis as though she had just touched a hot poker. What Mommy had been doing to my pee-pee had felt pleasurable. I wanted the feeling to continue, but when I reached down with my right hand, to rub the spot that had felt so good, Mom smacked my hand away. “No, Kerry Lynn!” she said. “You mustn’t do that. That’s naughty!”

My little hand stung and I cried, but the real pain was in the shame I had just internalized. It was sinful to give myself pleasure! The next time I remember being shamed happened when I was five. My father Allan Ashton, an insurance salesman, was 35 at the time. My mother Millie Jane Ashton was a 32-year-old homemaker. At 11, my oldest brother Dennis was already a bully. At ten, my sister Denise was the saintliest among us. At seven, my brother Craig already fit in the way he was expected to. And I was Mom’s “baby.”

Getting in our car after spending hours in church, I announced my true feelings from the backseat: “I hate church. It’s so boring!”

Enraged, Dad turned to face me in the backseat. Looking directly into my eyes, he gave me a dire warning: “Kerry, I don’t ever want to hear you speak that way again about our Church!”

“I’m sorry, Daddy,” I whimpered, already repentant for my outspoken honesty, behaving like the best little Mormon boy in the entire world. Yet, it was not my father’s rage but the look of disapproval on my mother’s face that had me cowering.
My mother was the only source of love I knew or had ever known. I could no more live without her approval than the earth can live without the sun.

Clearly, I was trained from an early age not merely to be her baby boy, but to behave like her exclusive property. Not that Mom or anyone in my family would have seen it that way; her complete  commandeering of my psyche and all that I was, of my very soul, was not something that she was aware of consciously, any more than any member of my family was consciously aware of their assigned roles in our dysfunctional family system. But the fact that I was my mother’s personal slave is true nonetheless.

Mom had trained me well: A lifted eyebrow meant she was displeased with me, that my only source of love and companionship might abandon me. At five, I had already learned the truth: To survive, I had to lie; I had to become inauthentic and false.
When I was six, I performed in a church play with my family on the stage of our LDS ward’s reception hall. It was my first appearance on stage and I was nervous. Some little girls giggled backstage as Mom stripped me out of my clothes for a quick costume change.

Naked and mortified, I was Mother’s property to do with as she pleased. Once dressed, I stifled my tears and made my entrance holding my owner’s hand.

That same year, our family visited my Aunt Ruth and her family at their home in Ogden, Utah. Aunt Ruth had a little girl named Carrie who was just my age and, like me, loved to sing and dance. After Carrie got up on the kitchen table and sang, “On the Good Ship Lollipop,” we all applauded.

Wanting me to have my turn in the spotlight, Mom encouraged me to sing “If I Were King of the Forest” from The Wizard of Oz, since I did a good impression of Bert Lahr’s performance, complete with dialogue and dance steps, and I always got rousing applause. “Go on, Kerry Lynn!” she said, nudging me onto the kitchen table. “Sing the Cowardly Lion’s song!”

I got up on the table, but when I sang, “It’s hard believe me Missy, when you’re born to be a sissy,” Dad yelled, “Stop singing that song!”

“What?” I asked, surprised as everyone else.

“Get off that table, young man!” he hollered. “No son of mine is going to perform on a table like a … like a …”

“Like a what?” Mom interjected, getting up in Dad’s face.

Dad shouted back at her, “Millie Jane, pack up! We’re leaving!”

Before I knew it, we were in the car driving home. Sitting in the backseat, I knew Dad was ashamed of me, but I didn’t understand why. “Why didn’t you let me finish my song, Daddy?” I asked.

As I began to cry, Dad warned, “That’ll be enough, Kerry Lynn! I don’t want to hear any more about it!” Dad gave my mother a warning glance. “This is your fault, Millie Jane!”
“My fault?” Mom retorted. “Why? Because I stand up for him against you and all your bullying?” Clearly, I was the reason for their fight, but I still didn’t understand why.
As my parents fought over me, I cried even more.

“Stop crying, young man,” Dad shouted, “or I’ll give you something to really cry about!” But the more I tried to repress my tears, the more I sobbed.

“That’s it!” Dad shouted, pulling the car to the side of the road. “You’re getting a beating, Kerry Lynn!”

Wild with shame, Dad jumped out of the car. Deciding that his belt was not harsh enough, he went along the road and tore a two-by-four from a nearby fence. Bringing the board back with him, he dragged me out of the car.

“Allan Ashton!” Mom exclaimed. “You are not going to beat our child with that two-by-four! I will not allow it!” But Dad already had my pants down and was paddling me when Mom got between us. “Allan, that’s enough! What is wrong with you?”

Undeterred, Dad continued my beating as the drivers passing by looked on in horror.
That incident was so emotionally painful for me that I blocked out any memory of it. It was only after years spent in therapy decades later, and only after my sister Denise shared with me her memory of the entire event, that I finally faced the truth.

Regardless of what had made my father so angry that day, he made it clear to me then that I was a source of shame for him, one he either had to ignore or obliterate.

******

The Holy War, as I have come to think of it, began on a hot day in early September 1971, the day I left Pocatello to drive four hours south to Provo, Utah, to attend Brigham Young University. As in all wars, whether holy or unholy, it would not be without its casualties.

I spent the morning packing things in my ‘56 Chevrolet, parked in the spot on the lawn where our driveway would have been had my parents ever had the money to pave it. A yellow-and-bronze, two-door coupe with cream interior, a huge cream steering wheel, and black dashboard, the car had class, which is why I named it Oscar— after the Academy Awards I hoped to win one day.

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About the Author

Raised in Pocatello, Idaho as a Mormon in the heart of Mormon Zion, Kerry attended BYU in the early 70s, where some of the most dramatic events recounted in his memoir took place.

Always interested in pursuing a career as both an actor and writer, Kerry wrote his first play, BUFFALO HEAD NICKELS at the age of 17, and published it at 18. Since then, he has published several works, among them most prominently THE WILDE SPIRIT, a one-man play with music, in which Ashton starred as Oscar Wilde, and also wrote the play’s book, music and lyrics.

The play won Kerry critical acclaim for both his writing and performance, and three 1977 L.A. Civic Star Awards for Best Actor, Play and Direction. The play ran for three consecutive seasons in Provincetown, MA from 1990-1992, and was produced Off-Broadway in 1996, winning Kerry a National Award of Merit from ASCAP.

The author now makes his home with his partner Victor Ramirez in South Florida. For more info, visit www.KerryAshton.com.

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