Tag Archives: interracial

Release Blitz: Summer of Hush by R.L. Merrill

Summer of Hush | R.L. Merrill

 Summer of Hush #1

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Release Date (Print & Ebook): October 8, 2019 (mass market paperback in January 2020)

Length (Print & Ebook): 214 pages

Buy Link: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/summer-of-hush-by-rl-merrill-10811-b

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Blurb

Hush is back… and it’s about to get loud.

After two years grieving the death of his best friend, Silas Franklin is back on the road with his metalcore band, Hush. With a new member, a brilliant new album, and a headlining spot on the last cross-country Warped Tour, life couldn’t be better—unless Silas could meet the intriguing music blogger known only as the Guru. Silas has followed his blog for years and feels the Guru might be the only person who “gets” him.

For years Krishnan Guruvayoor has reported on the metal scene as an anonymous blogger, and he’s just landed an internship on the Warped Tour as well as a potential position with a well-respected music magazine. His best friend arranges for him to meet singer Silas Franklin—but only as Krish the Intern. Their chemistry is instant, and Krish is thrilled to get to know the man behind the music.

The rock star and blogger quickly go from meet-cute to cuddle session, but secrets, overprotective bandmates, meddling media, and a terrible accident all conspire against them. Can their romance survive the summer of Hush?

Warnings: Characters are dealing with some grief after their bandmate committed suicide two years prior. It’s their first tour after losing him. There is no on-page graphic description.

R.L. Merrill talks about Summer of Hush

 Hope, Love and Rock ‘n’ Roll. I’d love readers to come away with the book having hope, having a few laughs, and maybe finding some new music to love.

It’s also my love story to the Vans Warped Tour, which recently ended, and all of the good times had there.

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About The Author

Once upon a time… a teacher, tattoo collector, mom, and rock ’n’ roll kinda gal opened up a doc and started purging her demons.

R.L. Merrill is still striving to find that perfect balance between real life and happily ever after, and she’ll keep writing love stories until she does. Both self-published and traditionally published with Dreamspinner Press, Ro writes romance in contemporary, paranormal, and horror settings inspired by love, hope, and rock ’n’ roll. Ro also loves connecting with other authors online, at conventions, and chapter meetings for the Romance Writers of America, of which she’s been a member since 2014.

A sucker for underdogs, Ro has adopted a wide variety of pets including cats, dogs, rats, snakes, a chameleon, and some fish. Her love of horror is evident the moment you walk in her door and find yourself surrounded by decorative skulls and quirky artwork from around the world.

You can find her lurking on social media where she loves connecting with readers, or else find her educating America’s youth, being a mom taxi to two busy kids, in the tattoo chair trying desperately to get that back piece finished, or head-banging at a rock show near her home in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Social Media

Website: www.rlmerrillauthor.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/rlmerrillauthor

Facebook Reader Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2001762376761722

Twitter: www.twitter.com/rlmerrillauthor

Instagram: www.instagram.com/rlmerrillauthor.com

Release Blitz: Arctic Heat by Annabeth Albert

Arctic Heat | Annabeth Albert

Frozen Hearts #3

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Publisher: Carina Press

Release Date: Sept. 23 (ebook/audio), Oct 1 (print)

Length (Print & Ebook): 89,000 words

Buy Links:

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Y3KUk9

Audible: https://www.audible.com/pd/Arctic-Heat-Audiobook/1488206864

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/arctic-heat-annabeth-albert/1129779475?ean=9781488053610#/

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/arctic-heat-4

Google: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Annabeth_Albert_Arctic_Heat?id=8o6QDwAAQBAJ

iBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/arctic-heat/id1458215728

Add to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44662238-arctic-heat

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Blurb

A lasting connection needs more than simply surviving a winter together—they’ll have to outsmart danger, let down their defenses and open their hearts.

Owen Han has a fresh lease on life—he’s kicked cancer’s ass and is roaring through his bucket list. The former investment banker hopes to find his next challenge in Alaska, volunteering alongside park rangers and fulfilling his childhood dreams of snowy winters and rustic life. Of course, those dreams did tend to feature big strapping mountain men in vivid detail…

Ranger Quilleran Ramsey would like to be anywhere other than dealing with newbie volunteers. And really, the only thing he needs less than a green volunteer “partner” is the flirty attentions of a buff city boy who doesn’t look ready to last a week, let alone an Alaskan winter. They’re all wrong for each other, even if Quill’s traitorous body enjoys the flirting more than it should.

As the weeks pass, the two snowbound men give in to temptation. But can their seasonal romance last until spring? For them to have a future together, each will have to trust the other…while hoping that the harsh elements and omnipresent dangers don’t destroy what happiness they’ve found in the moment.

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!

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Excerpt

Cards fluttered to the floor as Owen looped his arms around Quill’s shoulders, pulled him closer. Unlike their first kiss, he seemed content to let Quill lead, let Quill plunder his mouth until they were both breathing hard.

“Oh, hello.” He grinned up at Quill, and this would be the perfect moment to pull away, regain his sanity, but Quill didn’t. Couldn’t. Was rooted to the damn couch, awkward angle looming over Owen and all.

“Sor—”

“Don’t you dare apologize. If I said I was cold, would you warm me up?”

“How cold?” Quill, who didn’t flirt, was doing a damn good approximation of it, voice still low and husky and the word no nowhere near his lips.

“Very.” Owen pulled him down for another kiss, and Quill let himself slide that much closer to hell. And if he was going to be damned, if he was going to let go of professionalism for the sake of a kiss and try to fly instead of sticking to safe zones, then it was going to be a good kiss, one that let him taste as much of Owen as he’d been craving.

Slowing down from his initial attack, he took his time, exploring the curve of Owen’s full lower lip, tongue detouring to trace his devastating dimples before seeking entry to his mouth. As their tongues tangled together, Owen hooked a leg around Quill’s calf, urging him with his hands and legs to fall more completely on top of him.

“Fuck.” Quill had to groan as their bodies met, torsos aligning, Owen wiggling about until their groins were rubbing right along with their tongues, a subtle rocking that mimicked the slow dance of their mouths. Quill might have not spent the past twenty years entirely celibate, but it had been so damn long since he’d made out like this, kissed and kissed with no end in sight, no end goal, that he felt like parched August earth, needing Owen like a garden needed rain, soaking up everything he had to give.

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Blog Tour Exclusive Q&A

Q: Does one of the main characters hold a special place in your heart? If so, why?

AA: Both characters, Quill and Owen, are special to me for different reasons. Quill, my grumpy park ranger, is special to me because he’s a more mature hero, but he’s also unaware of the extent of his own loneliness. Giving Quill the HEA he deserves was immensely satisfying. Owen, my optimistic new volunteer assigned to Quill, is special because he represents a character that I’ve wanted to do for a long time—one who survived a major medical scare and now has a second lease on life and is determined to make the most of each day.

Q: What was the inspiration for the story?

AA: My amazing critique partner and best friend, Wendy Qualls, came to me with the idea of how in remote areas, park rangers are often snowed in together for months at a time. I loved the idea immediately, and we started brainstorming. I brought in a lot of my favorite tropes—opposites attract, age gap, close proximity, building friendship, adventure, working together, and more as the plot started to take shape for me. Then later, I came up with the idea of making it series set in Alaska, and worked that plot bunny into the series. Book Three seemed to fit best for this one, so that’s where it landed, but initially it was the first plot bunny, and everything else sprang from that one.

Q: What is the key theme and/or message in the book?

AA: Love finds us where we least expect it, but most need it. Neither Owen nor Quill expects to find the love of their lives when they’re snowed in together for an Alaskan winter, but love has a way of finding people when they need it most and of healing old wounds and giving fresh courage. I really wanted to show how love can provide the best fresh start of all, even when we stay in the same place we’ve always been or when we venture thousands of miles out of our comfort zone—love finds those who need it most.

Q: What is the significance of the title?

AA: ARCTIC HEAT is actually the coldest book in the series—tons and tons of snow and snowed in fun. The heat totally comes from the chemistry between the main characters!

Q: If you had to describe the main characters in three words, what would those three words be?

AA: As the story opens, Quill is grumpy, lonely, and loyal. He’s grumpy about being assigned a new volunteer, lonely from long hours alone and with his BFF now assigned elsewhere, and he’s loyal to his job. Meanwhile, Owen is optimistic, fun, and adventure seeking. He’s an optimist who survived a health scare and now is seeking fun and adventure in Alaska.

About The Author

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Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer.

Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Her critically acclaimed and fan-favorite LGBTQ romance series include the #FrozenHearts, #OutOfUniform, #Gaymers, #PortlandHeat, #RainbowCove and #PerfectHarmony series.

To find out what she’s working on next and other fun extras, check out her website or connect with Annabeth on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Spotify!

Also, be sure to sign up for her newsletter for free ficlets, bonus reads, and contests. The fan group, Annabeth’s Angels, on Facebook is also a great place for bonus content and exclusive contests.

Social Media

Website: http://annabethalbert.com/

Newsletter:  http://eepurl.com/Nb9yv

Fan group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/annabethsangels/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6477494.Annabeth_Albert

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Annabeth-Albert/e/B00LYFFAZK

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AnnabethAlbert

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

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

Giveaway

One winner will receive paperback copies of ARCTIC SUN, ARCTIC WILD, and ARCTIC HEAT + a Swag Pack!

Open Internationally, must be 18 to win.

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New Release Blitz: Complex Dimensions by Brenda Murphy

Complex Dimensions | Brenda Murphy

A Rowan House Novel

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Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: September 23, 2019

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 65,100

Buy Links:

NineStar Press | Amazon

Smashwords | Barnes & Noble

Add to Goodreads

Blurb

Sick of living in her parent’s basement and encountering her ex-girlfriend on a regular basis, former graduate student Veronica Fletcher signs on to manage the stable for Rowan House, Skye’s most exclusive resort for women. After arriving at Rowan House Veronica’s vow to remain celibate is tested when she meets Millie Reid.

Sexy, sweet, and funny, Millie is the woman of Veronica’s dreams. Or is she? When Millie’s past threatens their future together, Veronica is faced with a choice she doesn’t want to make. The butterfly effect has never been more personal.

Excerpt

Complex Dimensions
Brenda Murphy © 2019
All Rights Reserved

Veronica followed her mom through the grocery, navigating the phalanx of Saturday afternoon shoppers. Her thoughts wandered as she trailed behind her mother as she maneuvered their overloaded cart around people staring at the overcrowded shelves, children straying from their parents, and the occasional mobility scooter.

“Ronnie, would you go back and pick up another can of tomato paste? I need two for my sauce. I’m so out of step since they rearranged the store. I don’t understand why…”

Not ready to listen to her mom go on about the changes in the store layout for what must be the hundredth time since she had been released, Veronica interrupted her. “Relax, Mom, I got it.”

She turned and jogged back two aisles and caught sight of a familiar face. Dee stood at the far end of the aisle, her arm draped around the shoulders of Veronica’s ex-friend, Paige. A toddler, her round face and dark brown eyes so much like Dee’s she could have been a clone, sat in the basket of the cart in front of them. Paige pressed a kiss to Dee’s cheek.

Say hello. Don’t act invisible. Get over yourself. So, she’s here with Paige and their baby. Should be me. Should have been us. She looked away and gathered herself. Say something. Be a grown-up. Congratulate them. She looks happy.

Veronica walked down the aisle toward the women, working hard to keep a smile plastered on her face. She lifted her hand in greeting. Dee glanced up and made brief eye contact before a frown crossed her face. She turned her head away from Veronica. Paige looked past Dee and shot Veronica a challenging glare before she pushed their shopping cart briskly away. Fuck. No mistaking the message. She’s moved on. Let it go. She stopped and shoved her hands in her pockets to keep from balling them into fists. She turned away, walked to the main aisle, and followed the overhead labels until she reached the canned vegetable aisle.

She stood in the center of the aisle and groaned inwardly as she studied the shelves. Why do they need twelve different kinds of paste? Damn it. Where the hell is the Bella tomato paste? Mom will flip if it’s not the right brand.

A short woman dressed in a bright red T-shirt and jeans stepped up on the bottom shelf of the section. She extended her arm, her fingers straining shy of the can of tomato sauce she was trying to reach.

Veronica stepped closer. “Hey, let me…” The shelf rocked and teetered. The sharp sound of metal scraping made the hairs on Veronica’s arm stand up as the shelf tilted toward the woman.

“Watch out!” Veronica grabbed the woman around the waist and tugged her out of the way as the entire section of heavy metal shelving crashed to the floor. Cans of vegetables slid off the shelves and filled the aisle. A dented can of stewed tomatoes rolled past her shoe as cans continued to randomly slide from the twisted metal shelves.

“Are you okay?” Veronica let go of the woman’s waist. Other shoppers crowded around them, drawn by the noise.

A store employee arrived. Red-faced and wheezing, he pointed to the avalanche of cans. “Is anyone under there?”

“No. I don’t think so.” Veronica leaned away from the stale smell of cigarettes and sweat wafting from the employee.

The woman stared at Veronica, her eyes wide. “You…I would have been under there. I would have…” Her cheeks grew pink. “Thank you.” She ducked her head, pushed through the crowd, and fled.

More store employees showed up and blocked the aisle with warning signs and yellow tape. The crowd filtered away. Veronica stepped back from the chaos.

The dull edge of the can she was still holding dug into her palm. What if my mom hadn’t needed another can of tomato paste? What if Dee had wanted to chat? What if I hadn’t noticed the shelf shift? We both would’ve been under there. A minute. A second. So much can change in a moment. Butterfly effect. Chaos Theory on display.

“Ronnie?” Her mother’s hand squeezed her arm. She turned and stared down the aisle, her lips pressed together in a thin line. “Good Lord, look at that. You’d have been crushed.”

Veronica held up the can in her hand and grinned at her mom. “Got the tomato paste.”

Her mother quirked her mouth, “All right, joker, let’s get the rest of the groceries before anything else falls down.”

About the Author

Brenda Murphy writes short fiction and novels. She loves tattoos and sideshows, and yes, those are her monkeys. When she is not swilling gallons of hot tea and writing, she wrangles two kids, two dogs, and one unrepentant parrot. She writes about life, books, and writing on her blog Writing While Distracted.

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Blog

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Blog Tour: Behind The Stick by K. Evan Coles & Brigham Vaughn

Behind The Stick | K. Evan Coles & Brigham Vaughn

The Speakeasy #3

Publisher: Pride Publishing/Totally Entwined Group

Release Date: August 20, 2019

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 97,045 words/370 pages

Buy Links

Amazon US | Amazon UK

B&N | Apple | Google | Kobo

Add on Goodreads

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Blurb

Kyle McKee lives a charmed life. He co-owns Under, an uptown speakeasy, where he is chief mixologist. Friends poke fun at Kyle’s tiny one-bed apartment in Chelsea, but they’re the best support system a man could ask for. Unfortunately, Kyle’s lackluster love life has led him to take a break from dating.

Harlem resident Luka Clarke is a lieutenant with Engine 47, the Pride of Morningside, where he carries on his father’s legacy with the FDNY. Luka, who is mixed race and bisexual, has his eye on Kyle, whom he met at a local burger joint and he just needs to make time to visit Kyle’s bar.

Before work one evening, Kyle is trapped inside the luncheonette when a fire breaks out. Luka’s firehouse answers the call and he connects with Kyle again under the most unexpected of circumstances. When Kyle gratefully invites Luka and the firehouse squad to Under, the flirting between the two men leads to a date.

Kyle and Luka quickly grow close, but Luka’s mother and sister distrust Kyle for being both white and gay. Luka believes his family will come around and accept Kyle in the end, but Kyle is not optimistic and hides his disquiet as attraction blossoms into love.

Kyle and Luka’s near-idyllic bubble is shattered one evening after a hate crime leaves them scarred, inside and out. Shaken, they put on a strong front but struggle inwardly against fear and personal demons. As the emotions seething beneath the surface finally come to a head, both men must decide if they have the strength to find love enough to conquer hate.

Reader advisory: This book contains references to non-nurturing parenting; homophobia; racism and racist slurs. There are references to recreational drug use. This book also contains scenes of MMMM ménage and characters caught in a fire.

Excerpt

Kyle McKee set down his gym bag and yoga mat and pulled up a seat at his gym’s juice bar. The class he’d taken had warmed his skin and stretched his muscles and joints to their limits. He felt like the world’s most relaxed slab of single New York man, which was good for Kyle’s state of mind. He’d been stressed lately, about his love life in particular. Because damn if every guy he’d been out with in the last two months hadn’t turned out to be a shitheel of epic proportions. So much so, Kyle had decided to stop dating entirely.

Eyes closed, Kyle forced away thoughts of dating catastrophes. He rolled his neck from side to side but peeled his lids open again when the chair on his left slid back and his friend Malcolm Elliot dropped into the seat. Malcolm gave Kyle a lazy grin. At six-three, he stood a few inches taller than Kyle, and he looked rosy-cheeked and loose-limbed, his blue-gray eyes shining.

“I am a man-sized untwisted pretzel,” Malcolm said. “I’m not sure what that means, so don’t ask.”

“You’re yoga-stoned, dude.” Kyle smiled at Malcolm’s laugh.

“Is that a thing?”

“Totally a thing.”

Malcolm narrowed his eyes at Kyle. “You’re the one with the bloodshot eyes—what did you do after class?”

“Ugh, nothing but itch from allergies. Ragweed is my kryptonite.” Kyle pinched the bridge of his nose between his fingers, then nodded at the menu on the wall behind the counter. “What are you drinking?”

“I’ll do a Kale Storm with protein,” Malcolm said.

Kyle held up a hand when Malcolm reached for his wallet. “I’ll grab these—you paid last week.” He smiled at the barista who’d stepped up to take their order. “A Kale Storm with a protein powder shot and a Peanut Butter Baby with chia, please. You headed home after this?” he asked Malcolm.

Malcolm shook his head. “I’ve got errands to run. My kitchen has mysteriously emptied itself of food since my brother and his girlfriend came back to town. What about you?”

“I’m opening tonight, so I’ll just head to the bar. I have extra clothes at the office I can change into.” Kyle co-owned a speakeasy called Under with his friend Jesse Murtagh and, while he loved his job, the commute uptown from Chelsea to Morningside Heights could be a pain in the ass. He welcomed the option to skip extra stops when he could.

Malcolm ran his gaze over Kyle’s gray Henley and dark jeans. “You could always serve in what you’re wearing, you know. You’d blow Jesse’s mind.”

Kyle covered a theatrical gasp with one hand. “I would never!” His preference for black or dark gray clothing while working was a source of gentle teasing among his friends. “Seriously, I don’t feel like I’m working unless I’ve got my blacks on. I’ve done it for so long it’s just part of how I do my job.”

About the Authors

K. Evan Coles is a mother and tech pirate by day and a writer by night. She is a dreamer who, with a little hard work and a lot of good coffee, coaxes words out of her head and onto paper.

K. lives in the northeast United States, where she complains bitterly about the winters, but truly loves the region and its diverse, tenacious and deceptively compassionate people. You’ll usually find K. nerding out over books, movies and television with friends and family. She’s especially proud to be raising her son as part of a new generation of unabashed geeks.

K.’s books explore LGBTQ+ romance in contemporary settings.

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Brigham Vaughn is on the adventure of a lifetime as a full-time writer. She devours books at an alarming rate and hasn’t let her short arms and long torso stop her from doing yoga. She makes a killer key lime pie, hates green peppers, and loves wine tasting tours.

A collector of vintage Nancy Drew books and green glassware, she enjoys poking around in antique shops and refinishing thrift store furniture. An avid photographer, she dreams of traveling the world and she can’t wait to discover everything else life has to offer her.

Her books range from short stories to novellas. They explore gay, bisexual, lesbian, and polyamorous romance in contemporary settings.

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Blog/Website

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Nick and Jared conclude an overall excellent hospital-set series

The Doctor's Orders (Copper Point Medical, #3)The Doctor’s Orders by Heidi Cullinan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am so conflicted with this book! There were parts of it I loved the best out of all three in this series, others I felt like banging my head against a wall.

A lot of it frustrated me, Nick was – for me anyway – a character I found difficult to get a handle on because I simply couldn’t get with him over his behaviour when it came to both Jared and also his dependency on his family.

Now, I totally get his fears about coming out being overly complicated with his fears about racism and the pressures he felt in living up the legacy of his father, but – imho anyways – the behaviour of his mum and Grandma was so out of odds with how they’d been in the rest of the series that I was scratching my head at times.

Jared, I loved Jared though. I hadn’t realised by his appearances in the other two books, just how much he was hurting and feeling alone as his two best friends paired off. There’re hints of a past with Nick but this book throws everything on the table.

I liked the way Heidi brought them back together, I liked how elements of the book’s overall plot regarding the hospital were used, I loved seeing Nick in his CEO role going out and kicking ass. I rolled my eyes a couple of times at the multitude of pop culture references, which felt more present than usual.

It’s political, as expected from this author, but I didn’t think it was as overtly so as book one (although my friend Dani felt this was the most outwardly political), I think for me it was because the homophobia and racism were so integrated with Nick’s fears that it didn’t feel preachy like book one had done at times.

This one’s definitely the steamiest of the lot, and I am glad about that, as things had been a bit of a damp squib in the second book (even though that remains my favourite) but the relationship between Nick and Jared absolutely needed those encounters to be on page.

Overall though, I have thoroughly enjoyed this whole series, the setting is excellent, the world building brought to life this small town and it’s community hospital with ease and the six characters at the heart of the books were utterly believable and their romances quite charming.

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

Get your copy here: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-doctors-orders-by-heidi-cullinan-10703-b

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New Release Blitz: In The Palm by Elna Holst

In The Palm | Elna Holst

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Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: May 20, 2019

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 25,500

Buy Links:

NineStar Press

Amazon

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Barnes & Noble

Kobo

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Blurb

Stranded on a tropical island, Dr No-Name has no mobile phone, no wallet, no keys, no passport. No left hand, no shoes and no memory.

What she does have is a blister pack of nicotine gums, two minibar-sized bottles of whisky (consumed), and what appears to be an endless supply of coconuts.

She can’t possibly get into any worse trouble, can she?

Excerpt

In the Palm
Elna Holst © 2019
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One
I am drunk and about to chop my hand off. There is a correlation between these two states of being, or becoming; but it isn’t that I am crazed and delirious from the alcohol. On this short notice, it’s the only anaesthetic available to me—and the hand needs to go.

Despite my grogginess on first coming to, I recognised the symptoms of a necrotising infection: the tissue death eating away at my digits—the fifth and the second are already black, all but falling off on their own—the red and purple nebulae spreading over the back of my hand, my palm, inching up towards my wrist.

I need to amputate. I need to amputate right now, if there’s even the remotest possibility the bacteria haven’t reached any of my vital organs yet.

There will be time enough for questions later—with a little, or rather a freighter-shipload of luck. Because I do have questions. Like, where am I?

Who am I?

What am I doing here?

Checking that I have my penknife at the ready, I start tightening my primitively devised tourniquet: a stick and a belt. It’s like something out of a survivalist’s wet, apocalyptic nightmare.

Fortunately—incomprehensibly—there were two minibar-sized bottles of whisky in the sorry, debris-filled excuse of a handbag I had slung over my shoulder, caught at my hip, and wound across my chest in a way that restricted my breathing when I regained consciousness. I was alone, drenched and shivering like a stray, on this abandoned strip of beach in No Place.

Maybe I’m a recovering alcoholic. It would explain the blackout. But it seems unlikely, since the spirits performed their magic after just a gulp or two, offering a warm, tingly sensation that managed to put a cap on my agony, strengthening my resolve.

I am not going to get the tourniquet any tighter. My right hand is shaking as I reach for the puny knife, making sure I have the rags I have torn out of my shirt within easy access.

“This is going to hurt so bad.” I tell the knife conversationally—like the drunk I am, at present—and I am struck by a thought that makes me laugh grimly. “I sure hope I’m not a leftie.”

Screaming like a banshee to get my adrenaline pumping, I swing the blade down over my left wrist with as much force as I can muster.

Chapter Two
So hot. So hot, yet so cold, yet so hot, all the same. Stars dance before my eyes, and it could have been delirium, but no: it’s the night sky. An endless, otherworldly expanse vaulting above my head like an exploded piñata, each star a soaring, scintillating scrap of space. I have never seen a night sky like this before; I’m quite certain, though who will take the word of an amnesiac, a fevered amnesiac, lying in the sand—the impossibly fine white sand, like snow (if only it were snow, I muse through the wool in my brain, to cool the flames within) beside her severed hand? How did I manage? How could I have cut through bone with nothing but a penknife, even if it is a high-quality, all-the-trimmings sort of blade? I have bled through my ad hoc bandages—have I? No, they’re good, if grimy.

“Water.” I want to tell the coyly twinkling stars overhead, but my cracked lips won’t cooperate. “Wa-eh,” I actually say, breathe; and tears of hurt—and gratitude, because yes, I am in fact still breathing—stream down my immobile face, pooling in the shells of my ears.

“Need.” I try next and snort because it comes out as “Nee” and this seems funny, somehow; I can’t explain.

I am waging a losing war against unconsciousness. I probably won’t wake again, I think morosely. And then, as the sky looks to be falling…falling on top of me, the very universe ready to claim me as fair game. Oh, but it’s been grand. I can’t remember the particulars, but I think I enjoyed the ride.

About The Author

Often quirky, always queer, Elna Holst is an unapologetic genre-bender who writes anything from stories of sapphic lust and love to the odd existentialist horror piece, reads Tolstoy, and plays contract bridge. Find her on Instagram or Goodreads.


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Retro Review Tour: On Hands and Knees by Sai Fox

On Hands and Knees | Sai Fox

The Valentino Family

Cover Artist: Samantha Garrett

Release Date: June 1, 2018

Genre/s: Mystery, Thriller, BDSM

Heat Rating: 5 flames

Length: 40,000 words/ 226 pages

Buy Links:

Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US | Amazon UK

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Blurb

Valentino blood runs black.

Nicolai Valentino is the almost perfect heir to the Valentino Family—impeccably dressed, devilishly handsome, impossibly cold, and absolutely dedicated to a family that scorns his very existence.

Born to the infamous Boss and a Japanese woman of no consequence, Nico must fight for respect in a blood-thirsty world that would be much happier to see him with a hole in his head.

Blood runs thick in the Valentino Family. To them, Nico’s little better than water.

Gabriel Delatto is Nico’s right-hand man, his childhood friend, and under the darkness of their ruby red sheets, his lover. But more than that, Gabriel holds the secret to unlocking who Nico really is—the true Nico, not the mask beginning to crack around the edges.

But there is a pleasure in that pain, he knows. There is only ever pleasure when it comes to Nico, even if it comes from the crack of a whip or on the edge of a blade.

But there’s someone lurking in the darkness, something that neither Nico nor Gabriel truly understand. But there is one thing they do know—

It isn’t afraid to bite.

RETRO REVIEW TOUR SCHEDULE

About the Author

Sai Fox was born and raised in New York City, so it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that there’s an ever-present coffee cup on her desk as she writes well into the night. A chronic insomniac, some of her best ideas come to her right before heading off to bed.

Currently residing in Tokyo, Sai finds most of her time spent writing, reading, and wandering the strange and intoxicating streets that tell thousands of stories… with a cup of coffee. There is always a cup of coffee.

Sai has been writing fiction for well over a decade, enjoying the ability to push boundaries of society and sexuality through her work.

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