Tag Archives: great world building

Release Blitz: Beholden by Kris T. Bethke

Beholden | Kris T. Bethke

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Length: 42,000 words approx.
Cover Design: Written Ink Designs
Publisher: JMS Publishing

 Blurb

Julian Thomas made the unpopular decision to become Beholden and focus his magic only on scrying. Because of it, he’s the best at his job and the top scryer for the Department of Extranormal and Magical Affairs. Which why Investigations Agent Wes Caldwell goes right to Julian for help locating a missing person.

When Wes needs to use his magic to boost Julian’s, they find a magical resonance between them that quickly leads to more. Julian doesn’t want to move too fast, but Wes knows Julian is it for him. He’s fine with waiting, as long as Julian stays close as they work through it.

But then Julian falls ill, and it’s clear there’s a magical reason. Wes will stop at nothing to find out what’s plaguing Julian, and when they realize just how deep the plot goes, they have more questions than answers. Magic is increasing in the world, and no one can figure out why. Julian and Wes have found love, but will it be enough to get them through what’s to come?

Excerpt

“Better?” Wes asked eventually. “Feel more centered and focused now?”

I nodded. Then I sat back a little so I could see his face. I wrapped my arms around his neck, and tucked my fingers down the collar of his dress shirt, not wanting to lose too much contact with his skin. “Yes, thank you.”

“First things first,” Wes said, his voice all business and his face serious. “Are we bonded?”

I sucked in a breath, surprised he’d made that leap. But he had to know that we weren’t. If we’d made a bond, even an unintentional one, he would feel the pull as much as I did. “Of course not.”

He just nodded his head, like that was the answer he expected. “But you feel better when you’re touching me. When you can pull on my magic to augment your own?”

I released a sigh, and couldn’t quite stop myself from snuggling just a tiny bit closer. I shrugged one shoulder. “Yes. Like I said, your magic fits with mine. So it’s easy and natural to use you as a source. I’m sorry about that.”

He glared at me like I had said something stupid. “Don’t be ridiculous. There’s nothing to apologize for. It’s not like you did it on purpose. Right?”

That last bit was said with just a tiny bit of accusation. I tried not to be offended. “No, I didn’t do it on purpose.”

Wes just squinted at me. “So then, we have to figure out what’s going on with you, what’s pulling on your power. Until then, you just need to stick close to me so I can keep you stable.”

I gave an indignant huff. “That’s hardly practical. We’ve both got jobs to do. You seriously can’t expect us to stay in each other’s pockets because I have a little sense of fatigue. You’re getting a little extreme there, buddy.” I tried to pull away from him but he held me fast, and gave me a look that I couldn’t quite interpret.

“You’ve got someone else that can keep your magic and your energy up?”

“Well, no,” I answered honestly. I’d never met anyone whose magic fit so well with mine. “But that doesn’t mean you can just drop everything and keep me stable. That thought is just-” I cast about for a suitable word and finally settled on, “preposterous.”

Wes just gave a snort, sounding amused. “I can do whatever I want. And I don’t want you lying in bed barely able to function. That serves no one. So you’ll just have to be ‘in my pocket’ until we can figure it out and fix you. There has to be some magical means at work here. And I am an Investigations Agent. I’ll investigate.”

His tone was playful, cajoling, and I wanted to smile, but this was too serious. We barely knew each other and, my crush notwithstanding, he couldn’t just drop everything to take care of me. He wasn’t making any sense.

Author Bio

 

Kris T. Bethke has been a voracious reader for pretty much her entire life and has been writing stories for nearly as long. An avid and prolific daydreamer, she always has a story in her head. She spends most of her free time reading, writing, or knitting/crocheting her latest project. Her biggest desire is to find a way to accomplish all three tasks at one time.

A classic muscle car will always turn her head, and naps on the weekend are one of her greatest guilty pleasures. She lives in a converted attic with a way too fluffy cat and the voices in her head. She’ll tell you she thinks that’s a pretty good deal. Kris believes that love is love, no matter the gender of people involved, and that all love deserves to be celebrated.

Find her on her site https://kristbethke.com

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/people/Kris-T-Bethke/100014524539852

or on Twitter https://twitter.com/kristbethke

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Cam and Gareth finally get their Forever!

38327905Bitten By The Alpha by Annabelle Jacobs

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Best one yet! Full review to come tomorrow when I’m at the laptop.

Righty. So Cam and Gareth. I’ve been dying for this one (even more than Alec’s story) ever since Book One and I have to say Annabelle delivered it in spades!

Alpha Cam Harly hasn’t had life easy in the past 10 years, he lost his human wife in the Pack Wars, his Pack’s unwanted feud with the neighbouring Primrose Hill Pack has resulted in prison for their ex Alpha and the merging of the two packs, and he’s closed off his inner wolf to anything other than business.

But it’s never that simple.

One of the other great things about this world setting is the lack of drama over sexuality, the pack’s don’t really care who hooks up with who in most cases, but in this one, the prime driver of the secondary plot revolves around an old-fashioned Alpha who has issues over wasting the chance of offspring when his daughter falls for Rachel, daughter of the neighbouring pack’s Alpha and a Beta in her own right.

I really liked Rachel, who is sent off to the Regent’s Park Park to get her out of the way of the temptation of her potential bond with the unflexible Alpha’s daughter Sara (and I actually wouldn’t mind at all a book which gives her a HEA!)

Gareth’s been in love with Cam for years but, as one of his trusted Betas, he’s buried those feelings deep inside. Rachel’s arrival in the Pack, as he doesn’t know about her relationship with Sara, brings an involuntary reaction when his wolf identifies her as a potential threat as a mate for Cam and suddenly he can’t hide them any more and now his Alpha knows his secret.

I’ve always loved how Cam was willing to put himself above all else but he’s not a martyr to his cause, he truly believes that the Pack should be first in all things. He’s had love, and lost it, and he’s so scared of living with the pain again that he ignores his feelings for his steadfast Beta.

Wolf shifter behaviour in this series has always fascinated me as well, Annabelle’s shifters aren’t driven by their animal in quite the same way as in other books I’ve read. Their animals are inside them, a conscious awareness which influences but which they can usually control.

But when it comes to potential bonded mates – a fairly rare occurrence – all bets are off and Gareth’s wolf isn’t going to passively let the chance of forever slip by. The results are unintentional but when Gareth’s jealousy bursts out I have to say I was cheering inside! Then the MINE takes over and the heat ramps up!

There’s a lot of emotions in this Regents Park Pack series and it works perfectly. Their wolves are emotionally driven, whether that’s positive or negative, and there’s all sorts of delicious tension ramping up between the two men as they continue to deal with the fall of out of Alpha Newell of the P-Pack’s treacherous behaviour.

The bonding process isn’t smooth either and both Cam and Gareth are stuck in a kind of limbo until, inevitably, the emotions boil over and suddenly they’re sexing all over the place and I have to say, I don’t think there’s many shifter books I’ve read which are as good as Annabelle’s at laying down the intensity of a mating bonded pair going for it 😉

When Cam and Gareth finally give in to their wolves while out on a full moon run, let’s just say it burns up the pages and hits combustible levels. The mate bite scenes are erotic and powerfully emotional.

I really, really, really hope this isn’t the end of the Regents Park Pack shifter series. I’ve loved every single one of the books in this setting and there’s still potential for more. Luke, Jason, Will, Harry, Rachel…

#ARC kindly provided by the author in return for an honest and unbiased review

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Blog Tour: Rebel by K.M. Neuhold & Nora Phoenix

Rebel Tour Banner

REBEL

BALLSY BOOK 1

K.M. NEUHOLD & NORA PHOENIX

M/M ROMANCE

RELEASE DATE: 31.01.18

Rebel Cover

COVER DESIGN: K.M. NEUHOLD

AMAZON US: http://amzn.to/2FqGNRl

AMAZON UK: http://amzn.to/2GomhBY

BLURB

“I don’t do relationships, I break them.” ~ Troy

If there’s one thing life has taught me it’s that everyone eventually leaves. But that’s okay because I have a strategy: no friends, no boyfriends, limit repeat hook-ups, no sleep overs, and above all leave them before they leave me. I’ve put my break-up skills to work doing others’ dirty work for them.

The last thing I expected when I agreed to do an embarrassing breakup song and dance was to end up on the doorstep of the very recognizable—and stupidly sexy—Rebel. When you meet a man like Rebel you’d be insane not to make a move. And just because he has me tossing out every single one of my rules doesn’t mean I’m in trouble, right?

“I’m everyone’s friend, but no one’s everything.” ~ Rebel

I love working for Ballsy Boys, but when you make the kind of videos I do relationships are pretty damn impossible. Besides, guys find me sexy and want to either be with me or be me, but no one has ever cared enough to see the real me.

Until I meet Troy. He has no problem whatsoever with my job, but he’s determined to keep me at a distance. For the first time, a hook-up alone is not enough. I want more with him. Hell, I want everything. But he resists at every step until I’m about ready to give up. What do I need to do to show him that this is real and worth fighting for?

***Rebel is the first book in the Ballsy Boys Series and is a super sexy MM romance with plenty of good times. While this book and this series do contain some instances of sex outside of the main relationships, they DO NOT contain cheating.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37315962-rebel

Rebel Teaser 2

EXCERPT

“You really don’t have to come up. I have a shitty little apartment. It’s nothing like your place,” I tell Rebel. “Plus, I’m obviously not up for fooling around.”

“I don’t give a shit.”

I scoff and shake my head but don’t argue further. If we keep hanging out without fucking around, what does that make us? Friends? Something else?

In my apartment, I cringe inwardly, imagining what Rebel must be thinking as he steps into the one room that holds my whole life. Usually when I have a guy in here, we’re too busy getting naked for me to worry what they think of my living space. And, beyond that, I can’t imagine I’d care what any of those randoms think anyway.

“If you don’t have tea, how about I make you some soup or something?”

“Why are you doing this?” I eye him skeptically.

“What? Do you want something more substantial? I can make a sandwich.”

“No, I mean why are you being so nice?”

Rebel’s eyebrows furrow, and the corners of his lips tug down in a frown. There’s a sharp sadness in his striking blue eyes that makes me want to shove him away or crawl into bed and hide for a week, anything to get away from the pity.

“We’re friends, right?” Rebel asks.

“You’ve had your dick in both my mouth and my ass.”

“So…best friends?”

I want to laugh, but the pain meds are starting to wear off, and my nose is starting to throb. “I’m not usually friends with guys I fuck around with,” I explain for what I feel like is the hundredth time since meeting Rebel.

“Then who are you usually friends with?”

My mouth opens and closes like a dumbass fish. I’m not sure if he was trying to throw shade, but damn if he didn’t get me. “I don’t have friends,” I finally admit with a little bite in my tone. I don’t want friends, and I don’t need friends.

“We’re friends; deal with it. Now, soup?” He skirts around me into my kitchen, leaving me at a loss for words. “Why don’t you lay down on the couch and find something for us to watch? I’ll bring you some food, and we’ll get a dose of the painkillers the ER prescribed into you, and you can sleep through the worst of the pain.”

I almost ask again why he’s doing this, but decide that whatever his motivation, it feels nice to be taken care of for a change. I settle onto the couch and put on the second season of Stranger Things.

It’s not long before Rebel brings me a bowl of soup, a second dose of the painkillers, and a glass of water.

“Thank you.”

Rebel Teaser 3

 

Nora Logo Gold

When she was a little tot, Nora’s mom got a library subscription for her. That, as they say, was that, and a lifelong love for books was born. Nora never stopped reading and doesn’t exaggerate when she says she devours books, rather than plain reads them. She started writing stories as soon as she could hold a pen, and wrote her first full book as a teen (on a typewriter!). It took her waaaay too long to follow her dream to become a romance author.

Nora writes M/M romance, because hello, sexy boys, and likes her men flawed, strong, and a tad broken. She appreciates a little kink, but insists on a happy ever after.

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I’m an author of m/m and new adult romance. I have a strong passion for writing characters with a lot of heart and soul, and a bit of humor as well.

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This urban fantasy series just gets better and better!

WatHcover (1)Wolf and the Holly by Sam Burns

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another superb addition to this urban fantasy series sees us finally finding out about Jesse and why he seems determined to ignore the path his alpha wolf status brings him.

There’s some more great world building, a bit more exploration of how magic works in Rowan Harbour and a lot of new plot elements laid down which will be picked up later in this series.

And, speaking of series, it was good to hear there will be more of Jesse and Sean as well as Devon and Wade, and that Fletcher will be the third subject of the author’s focus in book three.

It’s difficult to review this excellent series without giving too much away, but the same other worldly, ethereal and magical atmosphere runs through this one as it did in book one.

This has a HFN but one which will clearly become a HEA later in the series. I can’t wait to find out more now about Fletcher and discover who is going to be his mate!

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

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Another stunning debut with this paranormal romantic suspense novel

36480253The Wolf at the Door by Charlie Adhara

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow. That about sums up my thoughts on this debut novel from Charlie Adhara. It’s simply brilliant. A complex plot embracing the paranormal in combination with a police procedural, murder mystery and a romantic suspense element, could have been a hot mess.

But this narrative sparkles, it shoots along at a pace, carefully pulling all the threads together into an epic denouement which, while I saw the protagonists coming for a while, is still fraught with the necessary tension to make you try and read faster to get to the conclusion.

It’s also, whether deliberate or not on the part of the author, quietly political allegory, dealing as it does with the distrust of something different, something powerful that can’t be easily controlled or pigeonholed, and it reminded me a lot of the unrest happening across the world with minorities of race, sexuality, ethnicity, gender and so much more.

Ultimately, it’s also a quiet love story, between two radically different people coming from poles apart and having no middle ground other than, at first, physical attraction to anchor them.

That it becomes so much more is testament to the skilful handling of the relationship by the author. I loved these two so much, with their stumbling attraction and inability to articulate their thoughts and feelings.

The paranormal is handled well, along the same vein as in the Twilight saga for me, where a whole world of other inhabitants has comfortably existed without anyone being the wiser.

I like this approach, it’s always fascinated me how each of the disparate cultures across the world have ‘monsters’ in common which mirror werewolves and vampires, although there’s none of the later in this book.

It’s part one of a series, with the second due out in September this year, and I cannot wait to see where the author takes Cooper and Oliver and the The Trust/Bureau of Special Investigation’s new team up partnership as they solve more werewolf crimes.

#ARC kindly provided by Carina Press via NetGalley in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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Release Blitz: The Solstice Prince by SJ Himes

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The Solstice Prince

Realms of Love Book #1

SJ Himes

Gay Epic Fantasy Romance

Release Date: November 24th, 2017

6x9 ebook cover amazon jpg

Cover Illustration and Design by Sarah Jo Chreene

 medium res book cover final

BLURB

Rescued from slavers, healer novice Jaime Buchanan finds himself alone and free in Pyrderi, a kingdom of magic, mythical creatures, and a culture as open and kind as his homeland was cruel and close-minded.

Despite his rescue, Jaime is not left without scars, both mental and physical. Traumatized by his experience and hiding his gift, Jaime struggles to earn his place in the kitchens of Angharad Palace, the heart of Taliesin City. His former life as a student of the healing arts leaves him at a disadvantage in the kitchens, and his damaged state is becoming more apparent by the day.

One day, when necessity and fate intervene, Jaime meets someone unexpected—Prince Maxim, youngest son of the Pyrderian king, a sword master and a devastatingly kind man. Unaccustomed to powerful people with compassion and heart, Jaime flees. A cascade of events reveals Jaime’s hidden talents of healing, and he finds himself not in chains, but at the beginning of a new life.

This swift change of fortune opens Jaime up to new possibilities, including a smitten prince who cautiously courts Jaime, easing him away from his fears and reminding him that compassion and love can make him strong. The winter solstice is quickly approaching, and Prince Maxim shows Jaime the enjoyment and excitement to be found in a land that embraces the ice and cold, and the mysteries of all things magical. He learns to see the man under the royal mantle, and Maxim is more than even Jaime suspected.

The winter solstice is nigh when tragedy strikes, and Jaime learns that his past of grief and sorrow can be a pillar of strength for his solstice prince. If there is one thing that Jaime believes above all else, it is in the healing power of love.

AMAZON US: http://amzn.to/2zQyZtT

AMAZON UK: http://amzn.to/2intThb

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36566371-the-solstice-prince

solstice teaser 1

EXCERPT

At some prearranged signal, the crowd began to quiet, faces turned towards the canopy where the royals sat. Janis stood and moved to the rail, lifting a hand to the crowd. The people cheered, clapping and shouting the crown prince’s name. Prince Janis was popular with the people if he garnered that kind of reaction— this was not the forced greeting given to a leader that was feared or despised. Jaime still did not know who the king was of Pyrderi, but the future King was well-liked, perhaps even loved.

The people quieted and Janis shouted, his words echoing through the cloud air. “Greetings citizens of Taliesin City! On behalf of the royal family and my father, the king, I welcome you to the first official day of the Solstice Festival! Today is cold and the wind is sharp, so I’ll not waste any time! Would the priests please light the solstice fire, and let the festivities begin!”

The crowd roared in approval and there was a burst of smoke across the square. Two men and a woman dressed in gray robes were standing at the base of a large metal structure about the height of a tall man. The woman was cradling something in her hands that billowed out dark gray smoke and she tossed it into the weird structure. Bright orange flames promptly rose and the crowd cheered again. The royals clapped in approval and Jaime hurriedly copied their example, though he had little idea of what was going on.

Maxim leaned down and spoke in his ear. “The priestess is a Magi and she lit the torch with her magic. The torch represents how life endures even in the depths of winter. The winter solstice is in a few days with the festival ending with the grand ball at the palace. The winter festival here in Taliesin City draws in celebrants from around the country and even from some of the islands in the Straits.”

Jaime blushed when Maxim pulled back and gave him a swift wink and a charming grin. “Janis needs to stay and let the people see him for a while, but the twins are about to escape the cold and we have a tour to finish. The first day of the festival is just the opening ceremony since a lot of people are still arriving. Do you want to stay or would you like to finish the tour?”

“The tour sounds like fun, if you’re sure we won’t be missed.” Any time alone with Maxim was worth the icy chill.

“You two should escape while you can,” Janis said, having overheard Maxim. “I’ll be here until the cold gets too much, talking to courtiers and the like.” The crown prince stood over Jaime who blinked back up at him in surprise. For such a large man, he moved with surprising subtlety. Janis motioned to the lower levels of the stands, and the courtiers below were indeed standing and heading for the stairs that led to the royals’ box. “Unless you want to stay and get fawned over by the masses, Maxim?”

“I’ll save that for you, dear brother. Enjoy your day, and welcome home.” Maxim helped Jaime to his feet. Jaime was at a loss for how to respectfully say goodbye to the crown prince, but Maxim solved this by tugging him away with a casual wave to his brother and the twins, who hardly paid them any heed, tossing back small waves of their own before they went back to talking. Janis grinned at them both and tipped his head towards the stairs.

Maxim took hold of Jaime’s hand and took off for the stairs. They hurried downward until they came back to where the sleigh had dropped them off originally. There was a sleigh waiting for them pulled by the same strange creature Maxim called an oryx. Maxim helped Jaime up into the carriage and jumped in behind him. The driver snapped his whip, and the sleigh jerked into motion.

Their visit to the festival might have been quick, but Jaime didn’t mind. The way Maxim held his hand, tight and firm, like he never wanted to let go, filled Jaime with warmth and a slow burn under his skin, heating his cheeks in the chilly air. The prospect of spending the next few hours in Maxim’s company was incomparable to anything he’d experienced in his short life. Not better than the day he was freed from the slavers, but it was close.

Falling in love felt like learning how to live again.

SJ Himes Logo

I’m a self-employed writer who stresses out about the silliest things, like whether or not I got my dog the best kind of snack and the fact my kindle battery tends to die when I’m at the best part in a book. I write mainly gay romance, erotica, and urban fantasy, with occasional forays into contemporary and paranormal. I love a book heavy on plot and character evolution, and throw in some magic, and that’s perfection. My current series are: The Beacon Hill Sorcerer, Bred For Love (as Revella Hawthorne), The Wolfkin Saga, and the epic fantasy romance series Realms of Love. My last two novels in the Beacon Hill Sorcerer won 3rd Place in the Gay Fantasy category for the 2016 Rainbow Awards.

I live in New Orleans, where the personalities are big and loud and so are the bugs! New Orleans is rich in cultural history, and the flavor and music of the City is impossible to hide. Before that, I lived all over the United States: Tampa, Western Massachusetts, Indianapolis, and on and on…. I’m a nomad, and I’ve yet to find a place that calls to me strongly enough to become home. My faithful travel companions are my dog Micah, the numerous voices in my head who insist they all get put on paper, and the wind at my back.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SJHimes/

Website: https://www.sjhimes.com/en

Sarah Jo Chreene/Cover Artist

Sarah Jo

Sarah Jo Chreene is a 23-year-old resident of Dallas, Texas, where she works part-time in an antique shop, which is one of her dreams jobs. Sarah Jo delights in meeting new people, interesting personalities, unique restoration projects, and the atmosphere of the shop inspires her muse. Her other passion, and one she devotes most of her time to, is her art. She sold her first piece at the age of 17, and hasn’t stopped since.

Her professional portfolio includes the self-titled album cover for the popular Texas band, Thieves of Sunrise, and will be working with the band again on their third album cover. Sarah Jo has worked with international best-selling romance author Riley Hart, doing a wide range of projects from promotional artwork to interior illustrations, and artwork for Hart’s alter-ego, Nyrae Dawn, in the YA novels The Weight of Destiny, and Turn the World Upside Down. Sarah Jo’s most recent collaboration is with urban fantasy author SJ Himes, creating the cover art, design, and interior illustrations for The Solstice Prince, the first novel in The Realms of Love epic fantasy romance series. Sarah Jo will also be creating the interior artwork for the remainder of the series, a project for 2018 and 2019.

Sarah Jo loves to work in a variety of mediums, including digital painting, Photoshop, charcoal, pens, pencils and freehand sketching and painting in a wide range of styles from anime, sketchy, realism, and cartoons. Sarah Jo ranks Norman Rockwell as a primary influence for his evocative use of emotion and his beautiful portrayals of humanity.

Between professional commissions, Sarah Jo delights in creating private artwork based on personal requests, from original characters, to portraits, and has brightened the walls of many patrons over the last eight years of selling her work.

For examples of her work, Sarah Jo is on Instagram, DeviantArt, and Facebook. She is accepting commissions for a wide variety of projects, and can be reached through social media and the following platforms:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sarahjochreeneartist/

sarahjochreene@aol.com

Facebook: facebook.com/sarahchreeneartist

dwightyoakamfan.deviantart.com

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Gorgeous second chance romance

Still Your GuyStill Your Guy by Devon McCormack

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sometimes you meet ‘the one’ when you’re young and you don’t know any different and you think the world will always be laid out in front of you.

Then life conspires and sometimes it twists along the way and you lose ‘the one’ and you’re not sure your heart will ever recover. And then, if you’re one of those gifted by fate, sometimes ‘the one’ comes back and you get another chance.

This book has an occasional splutter, when perhaps the language doesn’t match up to the emotions being expressed, but otherwise it’s a gorgeous journey with two men who lost their hearts as boys growing up together.

There’s a great set of secondary characters and the world building creates a location which is as strong a character as the people.

As this is a Devon McCormack story, there’s plenty of smexy times, but it’s also emotionally connected as well as smoking hot, there is a deep aching love between Mason and Chase which seeps from the pages and wraps itself around the reader.

Stunning Jay Aheer cover too.

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