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New Release Blitz: Unraveling by Rick R. Reed

Unraveling | Rick R. Reed

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: January 13, 2020

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 68,300

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Blurb

Randy Kay has the perfect life with his beautiful wife and adorable son. But Randy’s living a lie, untrue to himself and everyone who knows him. He’s gay.

Marriage and fatherhood, which he thought could change him, have failed. He doubts if anyone can love him for who he really is—especially himself.

With his wife’s blessing, he sets out to explore the gay world he’s hidden from all his life.

John Walsh, a paramedic with the Chicago Fire Department, is comfortable in his own skin as a gay man, yet he can never find someone who shares his desire to create a real relationship, a true family.

When Randy and John first spy each other in Chicago’s Boystown, all kinds of alarms go off—some of joy, others of deep-seated fear.

Randy and John must surmount multiple hurdles on the journey to a lasting, meaningful love. Will they succeed or will their chance at love go up in flames, destroyed by missed connections and a lack of self-acceptance?

Excerpt

Unraveling
Rick R. Reed © 2020
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One
RANDY

I have my death all planned out.

Unlike the thirty-two years that have gone before, I want my passing to be peaceful and free of the discord and pain I’ve lived with for as long as I can remember. I want it to be easy. Effortless. Guilt-free.

Whether it’s any of those things remains to be seen.

I’ve rented this hotel room at a small boutique hotel off Michigan Avenue. The Crewe House has been standing on this same ground on Oak Street for at least a hundred years. The rooms are small, fussy, and charming, with flocked wallpaper, four-poster beds, and claw-foot tubs and pedestal sinks in their black-and-white bathrooms. It’s charming, and I deserve something nice to gaze at before I close my eyes for good.

I have some sandalwood-scented candles lit, and the fragrance is warm, enveloping. Their soft flicker is the only illumination. Outside, the winter sky darkens early. Dusk’s cobalt blue makes silhouettes of the water towers, train tracks, and buildings to the west of the hotel. Near the horizon the sky is a shade of lavender that mesmerizes me, makes me think of changing my mind. If a sky like this can exist, with its electric bands of color, maybe the world isn’t such a horrible place.

Maybe I can go on.

No.

What else have I done to ease my passage into whatever comes next? I have a bottle of Veuve Cliquot, my favorite champagne, uncorked and resting in a silver ice bucket, filled with melting ice. A flute stands next to it, waiting.

I’ll wash the sleeping pills down with the bubbly.

Before getting into bed, I’ll turn on the cassette I have in my boombox, Abbey Road. I have it queued up to “Golden Slumbers.”

I’ve been carrying this weight for such a long time.

I long for smiles.

At last, I’ll undress and stretch out on the four-poster. I’ll pull the eiderdown duvet loosely over me and close my eyes.

The plan is I will slowly slip under, my brain becoming a soft velvety fog, and I’ll simply fall into the arms of a comforting—and obliterating—slumber.

I will not dream.

It won’t take long.

And I’ll leave a beautiful corpse.

That’s the plan, anyway. Some of my research into this method of offing myself runs counter to this gentle fantasy, but I don’t want to consider the downside of overdosing on strong barbiturates.

I want to go to sleep.

I want to forget the impossibility of being able to become the man I know I should be.

Husband.

Father.

I blink back tears as I sit on the bed, staring out at the deepening twilight. They don’t deserve this: what you’re going to leave them with. I know the voice inside, the one that’s always made me do the right thing, at the expense of my very being, is right. And even though they don’t deserve it, you know they will hurt, of course they will, but in the end, they’ll be better off.

Who wants a husband and father who can’t seem to make himself straight, despite trying therapy, the Catholic Church, the Buddhist faith, self-help groups, and self-help books. A group of pathetic married men meeting once a month and thinking they can change. Nothing works. If I could change, I would.

And since I can’t change, I’m left with three options:

Accept myself as I am. How can I do that? I’d be a failure as a husband, a father, a son, a brother. I’d go on wearing this suffocating mask. I’d continue to live a life that’s essentially a lie.

Everyone who loves me doesn’t even know me.

They love a façade, a projection, a mirage made of wishes, impossible hopes, and self-hatred.

No, acceptance is not an option. It never was.

Second, I could resist. I could knuckle down and brace myself against the attractions I feel, the dreams that pop up in my sleep despite my desperately not wanting them there. I could hold myself back from falling prey to the temptations I feel on the streets, the subway, the locker rooms—everywhere I encounter a beautiful man.

The reason I find myself here is because I can’t resist. Not anymore.

And the third option is simply the one I have to choose—remove myself from the pain. Remove myself from existing as this broken thing that God nor man can fix.

Yes, Violet and Henry both will find a way to move on, and they’ll be happier, more anchored in life without me.

Who needs a gay dad? Or a husband who, deep down, doesn’t want what his wife has to offer? Or worse, a dad who contracts the death sentence of AIDS?

Enough of the grim thoughts. They were not part of my plan. Tonight, I go out peacefully. I’ll shut my eyes and remember things like my joy six years ago when Henry was born and seeing him take his first breath. I shouted, “We got a boy!” and fell into the deepest, most effortless love I’ve ever felt. I’ll remember proposing to Violet when we were both college sophomores and the thrill when she accepted the cheap diamond-chips ring I gave her. Things will be okay now, I remember thinking. I can change.

I really believed that. And I know I love Violet as best I can.

It’s sad when your best simply isn’t good enough.

I reach over for the bottle of sleeping pills on the nightstand. There are thirty of them, and I intend to take them all, two or three at a time. If it takes the whole bottle of champagne to get them down, well, things could be worse. No?

I tip the bottle and look at the tablets against the dark wood, so innocent, yet so lethal.

I’m just reaching for one when there’s a sudden knock on the door. Loud. Forceful. Urgent.

“Randy? Randy? Open up, please.”

The door knob turns as Violet’s voice penetrates the heavy wood of the door, making her sound muffled.

I close my eyes. I could ignore her, hope she goes away.

How did she find out where I was anyway?

She wasn’t supposed to know until she got the letter, the one neatly folded and an arm’s length away on the nightstand.

Pounding. “Please!” Violet calls.

I gather the pills, shoving them back in the bottle, then hide the container in a nightstand drawer.

How will I explain?

I get up, cross the room, and open the door.

About the Author

Real Men. True Love.

Rick R. Reed draws inspiration from the lives of gay men to craft stories that quicken the heartbeat, engage emotions, and keep the pages turning. Although he dabbles in horror, dark suspense, and comedy, his attention always returns to the power of love.

He’s the award-winning and bestselling author of more than fifty works of published fiction and is forever at work on yet another book. Lambda Literary has called him: “A writer that doesn’t disappoint…” Rick lives in Palm Springs, CA with his beloved husband and their fierce Chihuahua/Shiba Inu mix.

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My Heart was bursting after this fabulous debut novel from JR

LYHBL ebook CoverLet Your Heart Be Light by J.R. Lawrie

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Absolute perfection.

This book focuses on two couples with three short stories which give the initial meetings of each pair and a bonus second dip into Zach and Richard’s life.

JR’s writing has such charm to it. Both romances are set in London but they’re different in tone.

David and Julian’s is the filling being book ended by Zach and Richard’s extraordinarily impressive storyline and I’d absolutely kill for a full-length novel with them.

Not to take anything away from the doctor and his upstairs neighbour come patient.

Theirs is a sweet, bumbling fall into feelings after Julian has an accident which puts him in David’s loving hands.

But Zach and Richard are special. If you’ve ever seen the British TV show Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister, then you’ll see little nods and hints in this book to what goes on behind the scenes of the “corridors of power”.

I loved it so hard. The first story, of how they meet, is wonderfully funny, although I internally cried when Zach described Richard as an older man when his Twitter handle included a 1978 birthdate.

Guess it’s time to face up to my own impending half century 🤣

But The Farringdon Club had me howling with laughter. I want Richard Curtis to get hold of this book because OMG, some of the scenes in this are prime material for a film from him.

Although he’d have to take the sex down a notch to get it shown on Christmas Day 😉

Just brilliance from start to finish, I was sad when I realised I’d reached the end of the book.

Do yourselves a favour and pick up this one when it comes out next week, it’s a joy.

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

View all my reviews

Cover Reveal: Rialto by Jocelynn Drake & Rinda Elliott

Rialto | Jocelynn Drake & Rinda Elliott

Unbreakable Bonds #8

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Cover Design: Design by Drake

Release Date: December 16, 2019

Pre-Order: Amazon

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Blurb

Someone has it out for Rialto

Ian Banner is loving his hectic life. He’s newly married, ready to start a family, and opening a new restaurant. All his dreams are coming true.

The last thing he needs is a problem with his restaurant.

But when one attack after another comes, he grows convinced he has another enemy.

Ian tries to handle things by himself, but his friends are soon drawn in when the attacks become violent. That’s when Ian realizes the target isn’t Rialto. It’s him.

Rialto is the final installment in the Unbreakable Bonds series and features sexy times, Daciana snuggles, overprotective family, fire, and of course, code names.

Flourish

About The Authors

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.

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A whole lot of fun in this Bonfire Night romantic short

The Captain's Flirty FireworksThe Captain’s Flirty Fireworks by Eleanor Harkstead & Catherine Curzon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I do love the books these two write together, whether it be the historicals or, like this one, a more contemporary romance.

It’s short but no less sweet and very funny, with lots of puns relating to firemen and their poles, plus an obligatory cat stuck up a tree.

The very English feel of a small country village and the traditions of Bonfire Night are excellently presented.

Just a lot of fun.

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

View all my reviews

Review Tour: Nightside by V. L. Locey

Nightside | V. L. Locey

An Erie Vampire Tale

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Buy Links:

Amazon US | Amazon UK 

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Cover Design: Meredith Russell

Length: 50,236 words

READ MY REVIEW

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Blurb

Being a new member of the undead sect has its ups and downs, something that newly embraced Akio Lee is finding out first hand. Being able to spend eternity with his beloved Vincente, the man who introduced him to life in the nightside, is a definite up. Having to feed on strangers?

That’s one of the downsides, and something that Akio is finding difficult to swallow. But what other option is there for a recently wed vampire couple who need blood to survive?

Finding a new donor perhaps? One who comes into the lifestyle willingly, as Akio had done, and is open to the unique and sensual relationship that develops when three men have a blood bond.

A man who can exist in both the nightside and the dayside worlds. A man like Ian O’Keeffe, the handsome caretaker of the manse Akio and Vincente now call home? Ian seems to tick every box Akio and Vincente have—he’s comfortable around vampires, he’s obviously into men, he’s drop-dead gorgeous, he’s more than a little mischievous, and he’s human. Mostly.

But will the outgoing handyman be willing to offer two vampires his vein, his body, and his heart?

Erie Series

An Erie Collection – Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link

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About The Author

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V.L. Locey loves worn jeans, yoga, belly laughs, Doctor Who, Torchwood, walking, reading and writing lusty tales, Greek mythology, the New York Rangers, comic books, and coffee. (Not necessarily in that order.)

She shares her life with her husband, her daughter, one dog, two cats, two Jersey steers and a flock of assorted domestic fowl.

When not writing lusty tales, she can be found enjoying her day with her menagerie in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania with a cup of fresh java in hand.

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Release Blitz: Nightside by V. L. Locey

Nightside | V. L. Locey

An Erie Vampire Tale

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Buy Links:

Amazon US | Amazon UK 

Universal Link

Cover Design: Meredith Russell

Length: 50,236 words

Copy of Nightside 600.jpg

Blurb

Being a new member of the undead sect has its ups and downs, something that newly embraced Akio Lee is finding out first hand. Being able to spend eternity with his beloved Vincente, the man who introduced him to life in the nightside, is a definite up. Having to feed on strangers?

That’s one of the downsides, and something that Akio is finding difficult to swallow. But what other option is there for a recently wed vampire couple who need blood to survive?

Finding a new donor perhaps? One who comes into the lifestyle willingly, as Akio had done, and is open to the unique and sensual relationship that develops when three men have a blood bond.

A man who can exist in both the nightside and the dayside worlds. A man like Ian O’Keeffe, the handsome caretaker of the manse Akio and Vincente now call home? Ian seems to tick every box Akio and Vincente have—he’s comfortable around vampires, he’s obviously into men, he’s drop-dead gorgeous, he’s more than a little mischievous, and he’s human. Mostly.

But will the outgoing handyman be willing to offer two vampires his vein, his body, and his heart?

Erie Series

An Erie Collection – Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link

About The Author

Copy of Copy of Copy of Locey Logo_FB Profile Image

V.L. Locey loves worn jeans, yoga, belly laughs, Doctor Who, Torchwood, walking, reading and writing lusty tales, Greek mythology, the New York Rangers, comic books, and coffee. (Not necessarily in that order.)

She shares her life with her husband, her daughter, one dog, two cats, two Jersey steers and a flock of assorted domestic fowl.

When not writing lusty tales, she can be found enjoying her day with her menagerie in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania with a cup of fresh java in hand.

Website | Goodreads | Amazon | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Blog

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Blog Tour: Into The Deep by Amara Lynn

Into The Deep | Amara Lynn

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Buy Links:

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Length: 45,000 words approx.

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Blurb

Luck has never been on Lamark’s side.

After his father’s untimely death, the new captain casts Lamark off the ship, leaving him in a dinghy in the middle of the ocean. Lamark is sure his life is over.

In a stroke of luck, Lamark encounters a merman, who saves him from drowning and brings him to a deserted island. Lamark quickly learns that on this mysterious island, not everything is as it seems, and danger lurks in every nook. This island may very well be the death of him.

Adventure, romance, and maybe some swashbuckling await Lamark, so long as he’s not too lily-livered to venture into the deep…

Into the Deep is a 45k pirate fantasy adventure novel with a heavy helping of slapstick comedy and a sweet, steamy m/m romance.

***

Today I’m delighted to welcome Amara Lynn to the blog with an interview about her latest release Into The Deep.

As one might be able to tell from the blurb, Lamark is cursed with bad luck! Much of the inspiration for Lamark came from Jack Sparrow, however, I also wanted to create a character that was relatable and different from Jack.

One of the first things I decided was that Lamark was the epitome of a horrible pirate. You may recall the famous line from the first Pirates film: You are by far the worst pirate I’ve heard of. That was the biggest inspiration for Lamark.

While Jack was a horrible pirate, and a bit clumsy, it’s obvious that he actually knows what he’s doing (some of the time anyways). With Lamark, my goal was to make a pirate that was not only a horrible pirate, but also a definition of irony. In that spirit, one of the first things I decided was he couldn’t swim.

So now we have this klutz of a pirate, who can’t swim, who can’t do anything right. This made for some very fun and interesting situations!

When creating my characters, I also like give them some of myself. I find that it makes them easier to get into when writing, and makes them more relatable for my readers. I’m also not a very coordinated person, so writing a clumsy character was easy for me. I also decided Lamark should look a bit plain, so he has brown hair and eyes (more brown eyed characters!).

Another major theme of the book that many people may be able to relate to is dealing with the loss of a family member, as Lamark loses his dad at the beginning of the story. I drew on my own experience for this as well.

But sad bits aside, I give Lamark some reprieve from his misfortunes in the form of a beautiful merman to keep him company! To counter the constant trouble Lamark gets himself into, I wanted to have a sweet romance that was light-hearted and pure (but also steamy!) for readers to sink into.

I hope you’ll enjoy this fun adventure with my clumsy pirate boy and his merman!

***

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About The Author

Amara Lynn has always been a quiet daydreamer. Coming up with characters and worlds since childhood, Amara eventually found an outlet in writing. Amara loves anything to do with pirates, villains and superheroes, and angels and demons.

Amara is addicted to music and gets the most inspiration from moving songs and lyrics. When not writing, Amara usually reads, listens to podcasts, watches anime, plays a video game here and there (but mostly collects them), and takes way too many cat pictures.

Amara is non-binary/enby and queer and uses they/them pronouns.

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