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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:

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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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The Princes Consort Now Available

Release Blitz: Soul Weave by A. Nybo

Soul Weave | A. Nybo

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Release Date: March 10th, 2020

Cover Artist: A. Nybo

Universal Buy Link: https://books2read.com/SoulWeave

Soul Weave

Blurb

TREACHERY IS afoot among the wizards of Tangia. The wizard king bids his northern champion, Aquilon Tenista, to seek and destroy those responsible for the theft of the wizards’ mindseers.

To shield his own mindseer from the thief, Aquilon needs a bag woven of thread spun from his soul in which his can hide. He solicits the aid of Lucien, a clan witch, to weave the bag.

A low-caste widower, Lucien is betrothed to his clan’s war leader. The only way he can delay the arranged marriage long enough to affect his escape is to accept Aquilon’s commission and join his quest.

Watching the enchanting spell weaver interact with the fiber of his soul is pure torment for Aquilon. As the attraction between the two men grow, a sinister presence within the magic cloth begins to emerge. Threads of the enemy’s deception must be severed if they are to have any hope of preventing war and saving their people.

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Excerpt

In searching for firewood, his icy feet made walking through the undergrowth painful, but Lucien wasn’t prepared to return to camp for his hide shoes. Stepping gingerly around a prickle bush, he spotted an old gray branch that would burn nicely. As he picked it up, he heard rustling in the undergrowth to his right and quietly straightened to see what caused the noise.

The spark of fear of being confronted by a stranger lessened when he peered into crystalline blue eyes. They sparkled with wisdom and youthful vitality. A charming smile stole across the man’s face.

Lucien finally blinked.

“You’ve taken me by surprise, gentle man.” The stranger spoke softly, his low voice sounding like amiable music.

Lucien covered the feather tattoo on his neck with his hand when he noticed the stranger’s eyes dart to it.

The man appeared to be in his late twenties. His features brimmed with spirit. Tousled black hair hung to broad shoulders, and when he tilted his head slightly, Lucien caught a glimpse of a silver earring.

Entranced, Lucien couldn’t avert his gaze.

“I see I have taken you by surprise also.” Straightening, the man peered over the undergrowth and laughed. “It appears we have the same desperate purpose. Is your fire lit yet, sir?”

Lucien managed little more than to snap his mouth closed.

“Would you care to share mine?”

It was dangerous to share a fire with an unknown man. But those eyes…. “Yes.”

“Bring your branch and together we will warm the entire Tabbrela clan territory,” he said humorously.

As the man helped Lucien pick a path through the undergrowth, Lucien snatched glimpses of him. His hide trousers were like any clansman’s, but the floppy-necked green-and-gray-flecked woolen tunic was unlike any other he’d seen.

“Where are you from?” Lucien asked when his branch was taken from him to add to the collection. “You’re not from around here.”

The man tilted his head as he laughed, and his hair fell back to expose the black symbols etched into the thick silver earring. “Am I not dressed appropriately?”

Apparently his assessment hadn’t been quite as covert as he’d intended. Lucien smiled. “That rather depends. For what occasion are you dressing?”

The man’s eyebrows lifted and then lowered in amusement. “I was dressing for the festival to be held between the Jarani and Tabbrela.” Holding his armload of wood away from his body, he looked down at his clothes before turning merry eyes back to Lucien’s. “Do you think I’ve miscalculated?”

“No one will take offense at your attire.” Lucien tried to rid himself of the smile that possessed his lips. “But I think they might wonder who, other than Jarani and Tabbrela, dare come to their festival.”

“Years of experience tell me no bard is turned from a celebration,” he said.

“A bard?” Delight sparked Lucien’s curiosity. “What is your specialty?”

“I play music far better than I tell stories.”

Already Lucien was looking forward to hearing him play. “What instrument?”

“Several.”

Approaching the fire, Lucien tried not to drool at the sight of three rabbits cooking or the warmth the glowing coals promised. The sight of the flames alone was enough to remind him how cold his feet were.

As the bard stoked the fire, Lucien crowded the other side, sitting with his feet almost among the embers.

“Why are you not at the Tabbrela camp?” the bard asked.

Lucien warmed his hands. “Ah, well, that is a story only a bard could do justice to, and I am no bard.”

A wry smile crept to the bard’s lips. “Sir, you have gracious manners, but ‘mind your own business’ would have sufficed.” He feigned a sigh of dejection. “Perhaps I’m not worthy to confide in, but am I worthy enough to share a meal with?”

“Definitely. My name is Lucien.”

“You may call me Aquilon. But should you choose to confide in me, then you may call me Ilon.” He waggled his eyebrows.

His beguiling grin almost persuaded Lucien to relate the woeful tale of his impending life sentence—what others preferred to call “marriage.”

He leveled a cautious gaze at the bard. “Was there something in particular you wanted to know?”

“I do think it a little odd that such a gentle soul is in the sylvans alone when there is warmth, food, and protection at the Tabbrela camp.”

“Being forced to partner their war leader doesn’t sound like protection to me.”

Aquilon’s eyebrows lifted, and he chuckled. “You must be a man of high regard if you find it beneath you to partner a war leader.”

Lucien’s irritation flared.

“Tell me,” Aquilon said. “Do I have a prince in my midst?”

“No, you have the company of a black-feather epicene who would prefer to partner the clan fool should he be the person he loved.”

About The Author

A. Nybo lives in Western Australia. She believes the perfect recipe for reality includes imagining, creating, chocolate and coffee. Amounts and tools for each vary for any given day, but the magic is in the making.

Her perfect creative storm is fired by music, travel, nature, and the ever-expanding dimensions of the mind.

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Cover Reveal: The Infinite Onion by Alice Archer

The Infinite Onion | Alice Archer

 

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Publisher: Shine Even If

Release Date: March 31, 2020

Length (Print & Ebook): Print: 388 pages

Pre-Order: alicearcher.com/book/the-infinite-onion

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Blurb

Nothing heats up a summer like an unwanted guest.

The truth is harder to hide when someone sharp starts poking around.

Grant Eastbrook hit the ground crawling after his wife kicked him out. Six months later, in Seattle without a job or a place to live, he escapes to the woods of nearby Vashon Island to consider his options. When he’s found sleeping outdoors by a cheerful man who seems bent on irritating him to death, Grant’s plans to resuscitate his life take a peculiar turn.

Oliver Rossi knows how to keep his fears at bay. He’s had years of practice. As a local eccentric and artist, he works from his funky home in the deep woods, where he thinks he has everything he needs. Then he rescues an angry man from a rainy ditch and discovers a present worth fighting the past for.

Amid the buzz of high summer, unwelcome attraction blooms on a playing field of barbs, defenses, and secrets.

Excerpt

GRANT

I looked up at the voice for the first time and discovered my vision had gone monochromatic while I slept. Amused copper eyes in a tanned face surrounded by a reddish-brown beard and moustache. Auburn hair, tendrils fallen from a messy topknot. All against a backdrop of gray clouds.

The man’s mischievous expression pulled me toward something I hadn’t wanted in a long while, not since before I met Laura. He made me want to hold my breath and make a wish.

“Cozy ditch?” The man’s eyes twinkled.

“Ditch?”

“Activate more brain cells, Ophelia. It’s going to pour in two minutes, and we have a bit of a ride. Hop to it.”

A fat plop of rain landed between my eyebrows.

“Oh, that landed right on your third eye. You’ve been anointed. Arise!”

“Do we know each other?” I grumbled, too annoyed to be polite.

The man didn’t answer except to hold out a long arm covered with black tattoos of ferns. I didn’t know what to call the tattoo style—tribal art, prehistoric cave painting, and Renaissance masterpiece, all rolled into one. I couldn’t tear my eyes away.

“Drug hangover?” The man asked. “Lost your meds? Escaped a cult? Whatever it is, your first step to a solution is to get vertical.”

It bothered me that the host of the strange reality I’d woken to seemed to think I needed to be rescued, even if I did.

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About The Author

Alice has questions. Lots of questions. Scheming to put fictional characters through the muck so they can get to a better place helps her heal and find answers.

She shares her stories with the hope that others might find some healing too. For decades, Alice has messed about with words professionally, as an editor and writing coach. She also travels a bunch. Her home base is Eugene, Oregon.

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Book Blast: 2037: The End of Tolerance by Luke Mauerman

2037: The End of Tolerance | Luke Mauerman

BOOK BLAST

Publisher: Beekman Place Editions

Cover Artist: Mark Anderson

Release Date: May 21, 2019

Heat Rating: 2 flames

Length: 235 pages

It is a standalone book.

Buy Links:

Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US | Amazon UK

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Blurb

When Gay Becomes Illegal

A novel about life in a United States gone mad, where the government falls apart, California secedes from the union, and Liberals and Conservatives finally battle each other in the streets.

It’s the Culture War, and it’s coming. Find out what to do when men and women start to get caged up just for being gay; when climate disasters unfold and wreck the economy; when the world falls apart once and for all. It’s ‘Atlas Shrugged,’ but in reverse.

Stephe Stafford, embroiled in this conflict, hopes to preserve his sanity—and even finds love along the way. In 2037 we watch Stephe, orphaned in the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 2022, grow up and even blossom into his own.

New technologies and old politics weave together to form amazing possibilities and hopes—and certain dangers, too. Read about the fate of America as we move into a chilling new future. Find out what can we do when the world goes awry.

Excerpt

Republican President Mitch Kellum, elected in 2028, urged calm, but the damage was done. Calls for the election to be overturned sprang from all parts of the country. Kellum denied any wrongdoing. It was the Russians and the Chinese, he claimed, determined to destabilize the U.S.

Democrats had lost all remaining political power and the conservative U.S. Supreme Court upheld the election in predictable fashion, six to three.

It was like a bomb had gone off. Protests turned to riots. Far-right fundamentalists took to the streets in support of the election, and faced off with teeming hordes of furious liberals. A nation that had been savagely divided, blue against red, liberal against conservative for the past thirteen years, would eventually fall into violence. It finally happened in Philadelphia on November 9, 2030. Rioting liberals clashed with Freedom Fighters, neo-Nazis, and Proud Boys on Market Street at the beautiful Philadelphia City Hall building. Fisticuffs, brawls, burning cars. Shots rang out. The police, caught in the middle, fell apart; each officer defected to his or her side of the political divide and joined the fight.

The Culture War had begun.

Battlements were hastily built in the streets of Washington, DC, New York, Chicago, Seattle, Los Angeles, Miami, Atlanta, and Minneapolis. It was bedlam. The streets became littered with bodies as street fights broke out: Red versus Blue, Conservative versus Liberal.

People fled the cities only to find skirmishes in the suburbs. Ikea parking lots were battle zones. A Home Depot in Enid, Oklahoma, was burnt to the ground. Fires started everywhere.

The country spasmed in violence, hand to hand, block by block. After thirteen years of political loggerheads, the center could no longer hold. Any attempt at civil discourse fell on deaf ears. It was us against them, everywhere.

A typical confrontation would be as follows: Unarmed Liberals vastly outnumbered armed Freedom Fighters. They’d go toe-to-toe in the streets, yelling and waving signs in confrontation. Fist fights would break out. But then someone would get mad, grab their gun, and start shooting. Others would join in and the unarmed protesters would flee back behind barricades of cars, buses, dumpsters and buildings, leaving the dead and wounded in the street. It was like a form of trench warfare—and this was played out in cities and towns across the country. Attack and retreat. Attack and retreat. And anger—people were incredibly angry. They fought tooth and nail, neighbor against neighbor, family member against family member.

In San Francisco the tens of thousands of liberals lining Market Street day after day eventually found themselves being bludgeoned by Freedom Fighters. Skirmish lines fell into place along the main street and shots were fired. Freedom Fighters were hopelessly outnumbered though and, despite having guns, were quickly overpowered by the throngs of San Franciscans. They fled.

Stephe was there with Nicole. They’d come up from Harrison Street to take part in the demonstration that day. Nicole wound up hitting a neo-Nazi with her shoe, bloodying his face while Stephe—feeling nothing but cold rage—just took his rifle and hit him with it.

The National Guard had to be mobilized to quell the riots, and still it wasn’t enough. The U.S. Army and the Marines were added and took to the streets with water cannons and tear gas.

Finally the main fights in the bigger cities were quelled by force. After six bloody days the spasm ended. Thousands were dead. Many more thousands were arrested by the military and taken to separate camps, red and blue, for disturbing the peace and inciting violence.

Thus began a new Cold War as Americans could no longer speak to one another.

About the Author

Luke Mauerman is a former columnist for Bear and 100% Beef Magazines, and is well into his trilogy of books on time travel. He majored in English from the University of Washington in Seattle and currently resides in Palm Springs.

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Blog Tour: Fallen Love by Alex Stargazer

Fallen Love | Alex Stargazer

Fallen #1

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Release Date: 05.02.20

Buy link:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B084FF8JTS

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Blurb

There are many kinds of monster that walk the Earth. Some are ugly. Others speak beautiful words through forked tongues. But the worst possess the grace of angels, and the hearts of demons.

Upperclassman Conall is rich, impeccably dressed, and set for a prestigious career in the Party hierarchy. He doesn’t lack for anything—except, maybe, love.

When he finds Mark, alone, abandoned and hurt, he doesn’t expect one act of kindness to alter the course of his life forever. There is more to Mark than Conall can even dream of. The beautiful, vulnerable boy Conall knows is not human. A dark power lies within Mark—it can make him immortal… but love might be the price.

Fallen Love has dark magic, sweet romance, and lots of action.

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Excerpt

Two dart in front of us, and for a moment, I freeze. They are creatures of nightmare: their legs are spindly, misshapen, and they seem to glide across the road. They hiss again. A split second later, they leap.

The first is incinerated in mid-air by a laser flash, and the android crushes the second. A slick, black-green substance drips from its dead body; the smell almost makes me retch.

I snap back to reality: we need to keep running. The boy is already in front of me.

“How many?” he cries.

“Does it matter? Let the android take care of them.” Despite my cavalier words, I’m close to panic. I squint, trying to make out the Upper Quarter. Not far, I think. We can make it.

The android opens fire, and at a glance I see what the boy meant: there are many, way too many. Several fall in the firestorm, but others clamour to take their place. This isn’t a lone attack; this is a swarm. And we’re right in the middle of it.

“Run faster!” I scream. “We’re almost there!”

But it’s too late.

A mutant slams into me with the power of a sledgehammer. I heave against it, fighting with its mandibles: I have to stop those fangs, so gleaming with venom, from sinking in and finishing me off.

And then the weight is off me. Through the corner of my eyes, I see it sail high into the air and into the reach of the android, but my sight never leaves the boy who saved me.

“I had to return the bleedin’ favour,” he says, hand outstretched. I don’t have time to thank him. He lifts me and we’re running again. The lights of the Upper Quarter are tantalisingly close. They shimmer behind an immense force-field, designed to keep out mutants and undesirables. Riffraff like the boy I just rescued.

Not that I have time to worry about that right now. “My ID will open the force field!” I cry, and I throw myself forward, fumbling for the ID.

With a flash of the reader, we cross the threshold. We’re in.

We breathe deeply, and I collapse against him. The mutants hiss, disappointed, and quickly slink back from the force field. A few are not so lucky, and are noticed by one of the guard towers. Machine gun fire turns the monsters into bloody smears on the ground.

Still, my interest isn’t on the monsters—it’s on him. It isn’t just the muscles, which are hard and powerful against my body. His scent is masculine, and sends a surreptitious thrill through me.

Before, I feared death; but now, I feel very much alive.

“That was fun,” I say.

“Fuck you.”

About the Author

Alex Stargazer is an author of dark, fantastical tales that snare you in with epic world-building—and keep you reading with funny anecdotes and beautiful love stories. He currently hails from rainy Scotland, but he can be found all over Europe.

Since publishing his first novel—the Necromancer—at 14, Alex has released two short stories and an upcoming new novel, named Fallen Love. Sign up to his newsletter to stay up-to-date: https://mailchi.mp/c0a00cf75af3/alex-stargazer-fallen

When not establishing the finer points of magecraft or the peculiarities of dragons, Alex is working hard on getting a Master’s degree in boring topics like economics. In his spare time, Alex enjoys exploring the wilderness of Scotland—though Austria, Italy and the Nordic countries fascinate him most. If he really needs to blow off some steam, Alex will shoot zombies in his favourite shooter, Left 4 Dead 2.

Alex can be found on Twitter @AlexStargazerWE or on Facebook at Alex Stargazer Writes Books. You can also get a free short story on his website: www.alexstargazer.com

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New Release Blitz: Tricks and Bids by Jacqueline Grey

Tricks and Bids | Jacqueline Grey

Suit of Harte’s #1

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Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: February 17, 2020

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 20,300

Buy Links:

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Blurb

When Michael Nole propositions Dillon Spade outside a BDSM club one evening, all he is looking for is a potential client and a little kink. He gets much more than he bargained for.

As a prostitute, Michael enjoys sex but keeps an emotional distance between himself and the men he sleeps with. His priority is to keep himself safe, but after a night in Dillon’s bed, he finds the line between enjoyment and occupation blurring.

Dillon hasn’t taken another man home since his previous lover passed away six years ago, but there is something about Michael that calls to his inner Dominant in a way he cannot resist. His instincts want to claim the boy even as he reminds himself that he is only paying Michael for temporary company.

Their relationship may have started as a business transaction, but it’s difficult to remain professional when breaking all the rules.

Excerpt

Tricks and Bids
Jacqueline Grey © 2020
All Rights Reserved

“Hey. Wanna play?”

Dillon glanced up to find a young man leaning against the hood of his car. At Dillon’s pointed look, he took a step back, so he no longer touched the automobile.

“What gave you the impression I want company?”

“You obviously didn’t find what you were looking for in there” came the reply with a nod back at Harte, the BDSM club Dillon had just exited. “If you had, you wouldn’t be leaving this early.”

“And you think you’re what I want?”

The boy shrugged.

Dillon peered at him. He appeared to be in his midtwenties, fit and tight in the way Dillon remembered being before he’d hit thirty-three. He was shorter than Dillon with dark-brown hair long enough to grip: two things Dillon liked in a submissive. There was something familiar about him as well. If Dillon wasn’t mistaken, he’d seen him heading into a nearby motel a few times and never with the same “date.”

“Are you a prostitute?” Dillon asked.

The blunt question evoked an expression of surprise, but it rapidly morphed into a smooth smile. “‘Prostitute’ sounds like a job. It’s more of a hobby.”

“One you get paid for.”

“It’s a good hobby.”

Dillon cracked a smile. “How much do you charge?”

“Depends on what you want to do.”

That was reasonable enough, and if he’d been waiting outside Harte, he must know to expect kink and charge for it accordingly. “Are you clean?”

“Yes, and condoms are necessary and at your expense.”

“Expense? That sounds like a job term to me,” Dillon teased.

He considered his options. The boy was right. He hadn’t found what he was searching for in the club, and he held no illusions he ever would. Even after six years, he couldn’t help comparing every submissive he came across to the lover he’d lost. Harte called him a stubborn old goat, but the thought of building a relationship from scratch exhausted him. It was so hard to find someone whose rhythms and tastes fit with his own. Granted, the club was designed for negotiation and mutually desired play, but that was for the scenes that took place there. What about the rest of the time?

Dillon didn’t want a casual play partner. That did nothing more for him than scratch an itch that would return in no time. He wanted someone he could build a life with. He wasn’t going to find that with a prostitute, but something about the stranger brought forth yearnings Dillon hadn’t felt in years. He could take the boy home with him, indulge in what he wanted in his own territory and under his own rules. It would be a purchased illusion, but it beat going home alone and sleeping in an empty bed.

“Come on,” he said, pulling his car door open and unlocking the other side. “We’ll talk details when we get to my place.”

“Your place? Don’t you mean a hotel?”

“My place,” repeated Dillon. “I don’t do quick fucks.”

About the Author

Jacqueline Grey currently lives on an island on the east coast of the United States. She spends her time outside her day job juggling her many interests which include reading, writing and drinking tea. She loves MM romance, usually focusing on stories that include BDSM themes to one degree or another.

Jacqueline has always been driven by characters. She loves a good plot, but it’s the characters that pull her into a story. She loves romance and believes everyone has a right to be happy. She enjoys seeing her characters find that happiness for themselves.

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Cover Reveal: Back Issues by Dani Hermit & Nevi Star

Back Issues | Dani Hermit & Nevi Star

Burn Outs #1

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Release Date: Friday, March 6 2020

Length: 72,000

Buy Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B083HHFQHG/

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/back-issues-dani-hermit/1135981145?ean=2940163435357

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/back-issues-1

iBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/back-issues-burn-outs-1/id1493808724

Google Play: https://books.google.com/books/about?id=YvTHDwAAQBAJ&hl=en

Publisher: https://hermitstarbooks.wordpress.com/

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/998647

QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/book/back-issues/ ‎

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Blurb

From the Best-selling Authors of the Parliament of Twilight series comes a new erotic world of Heroes and Villains

53 year old Matt Evans never thought he would be drawn back into the world of the Chosen and their staged battles of Good versus Evil. But with the return of his long dormant super powers on the heels of a devastating attack on the Chosen, Matt is forced to come face to face with the lover he left behind.

When Professor Colton Stephens sees Matt again, all of the pain of their past is brought to the surface. Thirty years of secrets and heartbreak must be overcome so that they can work together against the plotting of a Hero who turned into a terrorist.

When that terrorist uses Colton’s powers and proclivities against him, will his bond with Matt be strong enough to keep him out of the grip of Evil, or will Colton fall into the clutches of the first truly evil being in the known history of the Chosen?

Excerpt

“The reason that we have to put the current events in perspective, other than to avoid mass panic, is clear.”

The gray and white streaked hair of the lecturing professor bounced with a youth he no longer possessed as he paced the college coliseum’s floor. Four hundred students made up his Relevant History class and at least half, if not more, were there not for his knowledge but because of his own history. Still they were here. Now more than ever, in this new world without Heroes, they needed to have a new understanding of ethics.

“If you consider the Phoenicians…”

A hand went up. “Mythos? I mean, Professor Stephens.”

Twenty seven years after his last battle, after he’d burned out his power and said a sad farewell to the name and life he loved, somehow he still had fan-boys. Still, he was good-natured about it. Colton “Mythos” Stephens wasn’t a Hero anymore but he knew he was still an example for the next generation. He’d be eighty and they still would be cheering for him. He attempted to placate his admirer.

“First, we learn. Then maybe in the last ten minutes of class we can-”

“Tell us about the battle where you defeated The Hammer and ended his reign of terror.” The student begged with excitement.

Of course. They always wanted to hear about the very last thing he wanted to talk about. The former Hero did his best not to think about the Hammer. Privately, the Hammer had been his closest friend but publicly, they were bitter rivals. Most importantly, he was the man who Colton had found a peace with within the chaos of learning the demands of the powers the Disk had bestowed on him. Though the memory that came back the most often of Matt “The Hammer” Evans was the day he walked out of Colton’s life, disappearing into anonymity as if they had meant nothing to each other.

“The class is called Relevant History. Please keep your questions about the unit we are currently-” Colton forgot what he was going to say as his eyes fell on the last man he ever thought he’d see again.

Standing in the back of the lecture hall, barely more than a profile with the light behind him, looking for all the world like a specter summoned from the depths of Colton’s psyche, was Matt. Even after twenty-nine years, seven months, and two days, Colton would know him anywhere.

“Class dismissed,” was all he could think to say as he bolted from the lecture stage, not sure whether he wanted to run to Matt or find some dark hole to hide out in.

Colton made it about ten feet out the side door before he heard Matt’s voice behind him. “Still got some run in you, dontcha Pony?” Matt used the nickname he’d given to the much smaller boy Colton had been back in their early days as rivals. “Did I scare you?”

“How dare you?” Colton stood rigid, trying not to shiver at the sound of Matt’s voice and to keep his resolve to send him away. “Don’t say another word, you… You don’t get to call me that anymore. And you not only don’t sca-scare me, you have no effect on me at all.” He kept his eyes front as if staring holes in the far wall would somehow make the storm inside his heart calm.

“Great, that’ll make things easier,” Matt’s sarcasm was an almost physical assault on the back of Colton’s head. “I don’t have time to rehash the past right now, Pony. Is there somewhere private we can go?”

Colton spun around and instantly regretted it. Now it was real. He quickly looked anywhere but Matt’s piercing eyes. “Nothing about this is going to be easy.” He was about to start another kind of lecture.

Then he saw it. Beyond the fire he knew so well, there was fear in Matt’s eyes and damn himself, Colton was going to care. “Fine. I’ll give you ten minutes. We can go to my office. It’s really private. They put it under the library for me.”

Matt nodded and waited for Colton to lead the way. When they just stood there, looking at each other, he spoke up. “Yeah, I’m getting old.” He self-consciously ran a hand through his dark blond hair, longer now then he used to wear it, and streaked with silvery lines. “Happens to the best of us. Can we get out of the hallway before one of your fan boys recognize me?” Matt inclined his head towards the group of students who were gathering at the end of the hall, curious about the man their famous professor was talking to.

“Down the hall. Take a left. Then a right. Take the door outside. Go in the library, the one with the big gilded doors and walk into the third study room. It will look locked but go in. I’ll be there after I double back around. Try not to get bored without me.”

Colton had tilted his head up and taken a couple steps forward so he could whisper in Matt’s ear. His voice was breaking as he fought back a sultry tone, one he reserved for much more delicious words than directions to his office. Whatever Matt needed to say, he needed to say it quickly. And then Colton needed to get Matt as far away as possible because Colton finished his words with the first syllable of the intimate nickname he used to use for Matt and almost choked on it.

Colton pulled several feet back, pretending to be considering the snack machine. Maybe Matt hadn’t noticed. “Go. Now.”

About The Author

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The writing duo behind the Parliament of Twilight books (and several briefly notorious YuGiOh fanfics), Dani Hermit and Nevi Star have been romantically involved for over 20 years, though they have been telling stories together for even longer.

A mutual love of slash fan-fiction and high fantasy novels lead to a love for each other that hasn’t faded through the years. Together they created the various incarnations of the characters who would one day emerge as the cast for the Parliament of Twilight.

Dani also does cover design both for the Hermit & Star books as well as a side-hustle to pay for coffee. She’s also been known to crochet odd little creatures, read Tarot, and play a wicked good game of Cards Against Humanity.

Art school survivor Nevi does half of the cover design work for their novels, as well as kawaii anime style art of her own, when not drowning in an ocean of baking shows and home shopping binges.

When not fully emerged in the imaginary worlds they’ve created, Dani and Nevi spend their time absorbing books, anime, and reality TV. They live in a lovely little community in suburban Indiana with their pirate crew and a few cats.

Social Media

Authors’ Website: https://hermitstarbooks.wordpress.com/

Authors’ Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/hermitstarbooks

Authors’ Twitter: https://twitter.com/hermitstarbooks

Authors’ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hermitstarbooks/

Authors’ QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/dani-hermit/

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