Short, spicy and sweet romance with a kink

Father of the GroomFather of the Groom by Silvia Violet

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

There’s a lot of really good kink in this book. It’s short but spicy and sweet and I mostly enjoyed it.

However, there’s a couple of tiny niggles, the first being that, at times, it felt like this was an offshoot of another book, which I don’t believe it is.

But the way things were phrased I felt like I was supposed to “know” more about this setting and these characters than I did.

The second is that the dramady which sets up the moment of conflict was – for me – just a completely ridiculous thing to get into a snot about and was resolved so quickly I just didn’t have time to feel the angst!

It’s insta love, but it actually works brilliantly within the narrative and the BDSM light spanking and the Daddy/boy elements of this book are superbly done and very sexy.

I liked Avery and Graham and I’d love to read more about them as they explore their relationship.

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

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Book Blast: Witchbane by Morgan Brice

Witchbane | Morgan Brice

38657329

Publisher: Darkwind Press

Cover Artist: Lou Harper

Genre/s: urban fantasy, MM, paranormal, romance

Length: 82 000 words/244 pages

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Blurb

Seth Tanner and his brother Jesse’s fun evening debunking local urban legends ends with Jesse’s gruesome murder. Seth vows revenge on Jesse’s killer–too bad the murderer has been dead for a hundred years.

Seth uncovers a cycle of ritual killings that feed the power of a dark warlock’s immortal witch-disciples, and he’s hell bent on stopping Jackson Malone from becoming the next victim. He’s used to risking his neck. He never intended to risk his heart.

WITCHBANE BLURB

Excerpt

Seth

How the hell did I end up on a date with a cute bartender?

Seth walked beside Sonny as they meandered around downtown Richmond. Still, being with Sonny felt comfortable, in a way Seth hadn’t felt with anyone in a long time. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad to get to know one of the locals, blow off a little steam, and make a friend who might be able to help him find the elusive Jackson Malone.

Seth had spent all evening watching Sonny tend bar. Sonny was good at his job, helpful to the servers, and made the customers feel at home. He was also damn good looking, and his worn jeans pulled just right across his toned ass. So when Sonny started throwing signals, Seth responded, and suddenly the evening had taken an unexpected turn.

“What do you do for fun?” Sonny asked, making conversation as they walked. Seth knew that behind the casual questions, Sonny was trying to figure out whether taking Seth home was a good idea. Seth found himself wanting to make a good impression.

“I read,” Seth said, sticking as close to the truth as he could. “Watch movies. Action flicks, superheroes, that kind of thing. Play video games, when I have the time. When I got out of the service, I thought I’d take a little time off to see the country, so I’m finally taking the road trip I promised myself.”

“By yourself?” Sonny sounded torn between being impressed and concerned.

Seth shrugged. “I’ve got friends scattered around, from the army and before. So I drop in and catch up. But yeah, mostly by myself. Clears my mind, you know?”

I should just ask him about Malone, Seth thought. The clock’s ticking. If Malone is a regular, Sonny’ll know. Then again, asking the guy he might be hooking up with about another dude was awkward, to say the least. It’s not like I can say, “I need to protect this guy I don’t know from a dark warlock. Do you have his number?”

“You want to go get some coffee?” Sonny asked after they had walked for a while. “This place I know has really good desserts, and it’s a nice place to just sit and chill for a while.”

It had been so long since Seth had been on anything resembling a date that he wasn’t quite sure what to expect. “Sure,” he said, less because he wanted dessert than because he didn’t want his time with Sonny to end yet.

Maybe he’d misread the signals. He’d thought Sonny was interested in him. Like, interested. Not that Seth wanted to have a quickie in the alley behind the bar, but he hadn’t expected Sonny to want to invest time getting to know him. After all, Sonny knew Seth was just passing through. It’s not like there might be a relationship to build.

And yet, as Sonny led him to a cool little indie coffee shop with an Edgar Allen Poe theme, Seth discovered that he felt all right with taking it slow. He liked that Sonny wasn’t rushing things, focused just on getting into Seth’s pants.

It had been a long time since Seth had spent time with an attractive guy just talking…and flirting. God, he was rusty. But Sonny made it seem easy. Somehow, just sitting and chatting seemed natural, unforced. And for the first time in a long while, Seth felt himself relax.

“If you want to talk sports, you’re out of luck,” Sonny admitted as they found a cozy alcove with two plump leather chairs angled for conversation. “I know the scores for the latest games because the TV plays in the bar, but I don’t follow any teams.”

“Thank God,” Seth replied, settling into his chair. “I’m better on cars and motorcycles if that’s your thing.”

“I’m not a true gearhead, but I had an uncle who ran a garage and I used to help out in the summers.” Sonny paused to drink his coffee. They’d each paid for their own, but Seth had overheard Sonny’s order. Chai latte. Fancy, but hardly flamboyant. Seth splurged and added cream to his regular coffee. It tasted as good as it smelled.

“I learned to do some basic repairs, more out of necessity than anything else,” Seth admitted. “I’ve got a long way to go before I can strip a car down to the axles and rebuild it…although I think it’s cool to watch someone who can.”

The conversation turned to video games, a passion they both indulged, and Seth enjoyed the chance to talk in detail about his favorites with someone else who had played them through.

“We should so do a campaign together,” Seth said and wrote down his username on a napkin for the big multiplayer game they both enjoyed. On impulse, he added his phone number. His heartbeat spiked when he slid the napkin to Sonny, afraid he’d been too forward. But when Sonny tore off a part of the napkin and returned the favor—including the phone number—Seth relaxed again.

“It’ll be fun to campaign with someone I’ve actually met,” Sonny replied. “So many of the guys out there are total douchebags.”

Seth was about to agree when Sonny’s phone rang. “Sorry, it’s work. Gotta take this.” Sonny frowned at the distraction. He listened for a moment, and his expression morphed from annoyance to resignation. “Okay. Give me twenty. Thanks.”

He shoved his phone back into his pocket and looked up at Seth. “I’m really sorry. Eddie, the guy who was supposed to work the night shift, got really sick and had to leave. Liam can’t handle both bars himself. So…I need to go in.”

“That’s okay.” Seth tried to ignore his disappointment. Even if they didn’t end up in bed, he’d been enjoying the company. “This was fun.” Had Sonny set it up for a co-worker to call him with an out if the evening didn’t shape up the way he wanted? Maybe Sonny had been waiting for Seth to make the first move, and decided things weren’t moving along fast enough? S***, how can I f*** up a date?

Sonny leaned over and put his hand on Seth’s arm. “I had a great time,” he said, making a point of meeting Seth’s gaze. “And if you’re still in town, I get off at seven tomorrow, too. If Eddie’s still sick I’ll make sure Liam has a different replacement. So come by if you want to try this again. Maybe go back to my place afterward, you know, Netflix and chill?”

“I’d like that,” Seth said, surprised at how warm Sonny’s hand felt on his arm. “Can I walk you back to Treddy’s?” Since he figured that they had both parked behind the bar, it only seemed right.

“Sounds like a plan,” Sonny agreed. They finished their coffees and headed out into the night. The walk back passed quickly, and Seth discovered he didn’t have to stretch to make small talk. Chatting with Sonny came naturally, and Seth felt a little sad to find them in front of Treddy’s so quickly.

“See you tomorrow?” Sonny dared to stretch up to brush a quick kiss over Seth’s lips. He had pulled away before Seth collected his wits enough to think about kissing back.

“Definitely,” Seth replied, hoping he didn’t sound twitterpated after the surprise of the kiss. Sonny shot him a wink and disappeared inside, and it took Seth another minute to realize he needed to move away from the door.

Sonny’s kiss went through him like a bolt of lightning right to his balls. Seth turned away from the doorway and tried to subtly adjust himself. The Hayabusa sat right where he had parked it, but Seth paused to think about his grocery list and what was in his laundry basket so that he didn’t have to ride home with a hard-on.

Back at the campground, Seth let himself into the trailer, surprised at how disappointed he felt. When he’d gone to Treddy’s, he’d expected to have a beer, chat up the bartender and some regulars about Malone, and make an early night of it. Now he felt a little cheated—and frustrated. Seth fished a beer out of the fridge and sat at his laptop.

His phone chirped as he waited for the laptop to power up, and for a moment, he found himself hoping Sonny had decided to text him. He’d already added Sonny to his contacts. Instead, “Luis” came up, and Seth resigned himself to talking shop.

“Hey, Luis. What’s up?”

“Hey, yourself. I couldn’t turn up anything on that warlock in Richmond you’re chasing, but I did get some hits on the one in Pittsburgh. Noah and I were over that way last week chasing a pack of shifters, and I had the chance to dig around while we were there.”

“Thanks,” Seth replied, trying to get his head back into the game. “Your hunt go all right?”

“We’re alive, and the shifters aren’t, so I guess that’s a win. Normally, I’d be ‘live and let live,’ you know? But this pack had gone gangland, and they’d already killed three cops. So Noah and I took care of it.” He paused. “I got banged around plenty, but Noah got clawed in the leg, so we’re holed up until that heals.”

“That sucks, man. But I’m glad you’re mostly okay.” Luis and Noah were friends of Toby’s, some of the first hunters Seth had met. Since then, he’d gotten to know several other teams, either people he happened upon in the field or friends of friends. He hadn’t found it unusual that many hunters worked in teams, but the number of those teams that were more than just work partners did give him pause.

Then again, hunting was a lonely job, and “civilians” didn’t understand. Some of the hunters he’d heard about had a home base and kept to a radius. Many of them traveled like he did, from job to job. Seth supposed that hunting solo was the perfect gig for natural loners. If he were honest with himself, Seth had to admit he was a little jealous of guys like Luis and Toby, who’d found partners in every sense of the word.

“You get any leads on the Richmond warlock?” Luis asked. “Noah and I aren’t too far away—if you want back-up.”

Seth knew Toby’s opinion of him going after Gremory’s disciple by himself. His mentor had waxed obscenely creative in telling him just how foolhardy he thought it was for Seth to go up against the warlock solo. But Seth also knew that neither Luis nor Noah had any magic of their own, and so he didn’t want to be responsible for getting anyone else hurt.

“Thanks, but I think I’ll be okay. I appreciate it, though. And if I can help you out, just call.”

“We’re near Cleveland if you change your mind. Got a line on a couple of vengeful ghosts to put down once Noah’s healed up. But we could be in Richmond overnight if we hauled ass.”

“Go gank those ghosts,” Seth replied. “I’ve got this. Thanks for the intel. Anything you turn up on the witch-disciples, shoot my way. And let me know how to return the favor.”

“Sure thing,” Luis replied. “Watch your back.”

Seth hung up, and somehow the trailer felt emptier than usual. He turned on some music and pulled out a file on Corson Valac, Gremory’s disciple who had made Richmond his home. But as he slogged through the information, he found his focus had gone to s***. His mind wandered, wondering how Sonny’s evening was going.

Did Sonny make a habit of picking up dates at the bar? Seth wanted to think their connection had been special, but a guy who looked like Sonny would have his pick of partners, and Treddy’s probably turned into a meat market late night. He hoped that Sonny had been telling the truth about meeting up with him tomorrow.

But was he going back tomorrow? After all, he only had four days until Halloween, when Valac was likely to make a move against Malone, and Seth still didn’t know what either Malone or Valac looked like, or where to find them. Maybe the whole thing with Sonny was a bad idea, a diversion he couldn’t afford when Malone’s life was on the line.

Then again, Sonny might be a good ally, someone who could lead him to Malone and who knew the area. And if he spent the day chasing down leads, trying to uncover Valac’s current identity and getting his bearings, surely he could spare a few hours in the evening? Does it count as interrogating a witness if I’m giving him a hand job while I ask the questions?

By one a.m., Seth finally gave up on research, pitched the beer bottle, and headed for bed. And if he jacked himself off to thoughts about a certain dark-haired bartender, Seth figured that was his dirty little secret.

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About the Author

Morgan Brice is the romance pen name of bestselling author Gail Z. Martin. Morgan writes urban fantasy male/male paranormal romance, with plenty of action, adventure and supernatural thrills to go with the happily ever after.

Gail writes epic fantasy and urban fantasy, and together with co-author hubby Larry N. Martin, steampunk and comedic horror, all of which have less romance, more explosions.

Morgan Brice will be a Supporting Author at the Gay Romantic Lit convention and a Hosting Author at RomCon in October.

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Blog Tour: The Necromancer’s Reckoning by S.J. Himes

The Necromancer’s Reckoning | S.J. Himes

The Beacon Hill Sorcerer #3

The Necromancers Reckoning Tour Banner

GAY URBAN FANTASY ROMANCE

RELEASE DATE: 27.05.18

AMAZON USAMAZON UK

COVER DESIGN: Kellie Dennis of Book Cover by Design

Necromancers Reckoning

BLURB

Every action has consequences.

For a decade, Angel Salvatore has been the most powerful sorcerer and only necromancer in all the Northeast. Never one to ask permission nor apologies, he has acted with near impunity for years.

Until now.

The High Council of Sorcery has come to Boston, and Angel is their target. Charged with numerous violations of practitioner laws, his freedom and family are placed in jeopardy.

If found guilty, Angel’s apprentice Daniel will be imprisoned to serve out the remaining years of his apprenticeship. Isaac, his brother, is too vulnerable to be left unguarded, and Angel fears for his sanity and health. Simeon, Elder vampire and Angel’s mate refuses to see Angel convicted under the laws of the Council and his actions to keep Angel free threaten to start a war that could destroy their world. And Angel faces the severest of punishments—the castration of his gifts.

The Council has never cared for the people of Boston, and Angel doubts their motives. They have come for some insidious reason, and it has nothing to do with upholding the law and everything to do with Angel.

Dealing with an impending trial, a wayward ghost, and a grave robbing ring of thieves leaves Angel on the edge. He thinks he may have a handle on things until violence erupts across the city, and a stranger comes to town…a stranger with his own dark powers of necromancy.

This is book 3 of a series, and the previous books should be read first for full enjoyment. Trigger Warnings are on the Copyright Page and can be seen using the Look Inside feature or by downloading a sample of this book.

reckoning 3

EXCERPT

“What do you mean, I got a letter?” Angel held his smartphone between his ear and shoulder, fumbling with the keys to his office. It was still dark, and he huffed with impatience, blinking a small orb of hellfire into existence over his hands so he could find the right key. Inserting it into the lock, he opened the door and dismissed the orb, flicking the light switch by the door.

“It was delivered by courier about ten minutes ago,” Daniel replied, his apprentice talking past food. “I had to sign for it. The courier almost didn’t leave it with me until I told him I was your apprentice.”

Angel grumbled to himself, tossing his keys on his desk and grabbing his phone, rubbing the back of his neck. He left his apartment not even ten minutes before, which was only a couple blocks away, so the courier must have shown up right as he was leaving. He frowned, thinking back to the pre-dawn street, and he didn’t recall seeing anyone—not even a car or taxi.

“Well, go ahead and open it,” Angel said, tapping his phone to put it on speaker. Daniel made a happy sound past whatever he was chewing, and Angel snorted out a laugh. He booted up his laptop, looking for the appointment he had that morning at the ass-crack of dawn. Why in the world he thought it would be a good idea to have a private consultation so damn early on a Monday was beyond him. Which was why he decided on waking up everyone he lived with so he could share the misery. Though it was only Daniel since Isaac was at Nevermore and Simeon was at the Tower.

A sharp yelp and swearing came out from the speakers, and Angel laughed. “Papercut?”

“No! It shocked me!” Daniel gasped out, cussing under his breath. “I can’t open it!”

“What do you mean you can’t open it? Just rip it open.”

“I’m trying! Ouch!” Daniel yelped again, and the sounds coming from over the phone were parts hilarious and alarming. “I’m not risking my fingers. You can open it.”

“Who is it from? It might be warded if a courier brought it.”

“Now you tell me,” Daniel muttered, and Angel grinned as he found the appointment time. Daniel was finding his courage and picking up sass lessons from Isaac. His shy apprentice was learning all about sarcasm in the Salvatore household. His appointment was in about five minutes. No time to run back home and get the letter that was singeing his apprentice’s fingers. Daniel recited the address on the letter, “It says, ‘To Angelus Raine Salvatore, Necromancer of Beacon Hill, Boston, Massachusetts. From’…Oh, wow.”

“Who’s it from?”

“The High Council of Sorcery, Bucharest, Romania.”

Angel stood up straight, hands falling away from his laptop. He stared at the phone, the quiet in his office somehow loud, heart pounding in his ears. He looked up at the door as if any second one of the Council enforcers would blast through the doorway, ready to take him into custody for crimes sundry against international sorcery laws. He breathed in, breath shaky, and flexed his fingers. He reached out with his mind, cautiously testing the wards around his office, and there was nothing.

“Angel? Angel!” Daniel squawked over the phone, and Angel snapped free of the tension that held him frozen and snatched up the phone.

“Daniel, my appointment is any minute. Can you bring the letter here? Just hang out in the main room until I’m done if we’ve started when you get here. Wake up Eroch and have him come with you.”

“Um, okay…wake up the fire-breathing lizard, he says.”

“Just pick him up and carry him with you if he doesn’t wake up. He was sleeping on my pillow when I left. Don’t walk over here alone. I’d say hold on to it until I get home, but I have a feeling I need to read that letter as soon as possible.”

“Okay. Can I take a shower first?”

“You better,” Angel chuckled and hung up. Twenty-year-old men needed showers for the sake of everyone.

A knock sounded from the front of the office, and Angel took a deep breath, calming his off-center nerves before heading to answer the door. He was still cautious, sending out his awareness, his wards humming in the recesses of his mind, unmolested. There were two people on the small landing outside his door, their auras muffled by the panel, but they were both practitioners.

Angel opened the door, a polite smile on his face.

“Angelus Salvatore?” asked a tall, bulky man in a dark coat, his face set to glower. Angel lifted a brow, unable to see the person behind the big man. He could see a flash of red hair and a small bit of alabaster skin before the big guy shifted.

“I am,” Angel replied, opening the door wider, stepping back and gesturing them inside. His wards were set to allow strangers inside, but they would dampen any magic cast in this space by strangers or those he blocked. Came in handy when dealing with young sorcerers and unexpected guests. They could still cast, but his magic permeated the space, claiming even the ambient magical energies and stifling spells cast by interlopers. Not much use against a practitioner who used their own reserves, but the more dangerous, higher-ranked practitioners tended to reach outside themselves first before casting.

A tall woman was behind the big guy, slim and covered head to toe in black, from her leather high-heeled boots and ankle-length black pea coat to her black silk scarf and a jaunty, tiny pillbox hat atop titian curls. She was familiar, but the shadows were still dark enough Angel was having difficulty determining her identity. He led them back to his office, gesturing at the chairs in front of his desk. The woman sat, unwinding her scarf, her escort taking a stance beside the office door. Angel turned on the lamps as dawn was taking its time arriving and the room had shadows in inconvenient places.

The woman removed her scarf, putting it on her lap before shrugging from her coat. Her escort stepped forward, taking it from her before returning to his spot by the door. The woman, dressed in a thin black wraparound dress that hugged every slim curve and long line of her body, smiled at Angel. She was pretty, in a very human way, nothing of the fae about her in face or form. Dark green eyes, nothing at all like the brilliant emerald of Simeon’s eyes but arresting enough in their own merits, gazed back at him, glistening with wry humor.

“Lady Kensington,” Angel acknowledged after a moment’s pause, surprised. The recent widow was a wizard and a skilled apothecary who owned and ran Nightshade Apothecary not far from where they sat in Beacon Hill. Angel would see her occasionally in the neighborhood or when he needed supplies between scheduled deliveries. Her husband, Lord Greyson Kensington, died of a heart attack three months ago while shoveling snow off the front stoop of their shop one chilly winter morning.

“Call me Heather, please,” she said, voice melodic and rich, smooth as hot chocolate with a shot of whiskey. Her chin rose as if she was expecting argument. What Angel could remember of her husband, the man was a stickler for propriety and demanded to be addressed by his title, even to friends.

Angel never liked the man.

“Heather,” Angel agreed with a grin, surprising her into smiling back at him. “What can I do for you? And why so early? I would’ve come to the shop.”

“I’m afraid this matter requires a measure of discretion,” Lady Heather replied, twisting her scarf in her fingers. “It’s regarding my late husband.”

Angel paused, thinking. Usually when the recently bereaved came to his door, they wanted either the impossible, like a resurrection, or more commonly, a summoning of the departed spirit. He rarely acquiesced as nothing good could come from repeatedly dialing in to the Other Side. It kept the living from moving on and tormented the souls he would be recalling to this plane.

She must have seen some of these thoughts on his face, as she held up a dainty hand, forestalling his coming denial. “I don’t want you to summon him from the Other Side,” she said, tears gathering on her lashes. Angel waited, curious despite himself. “I want you to find him for me.”

“I’m sorry, I’m not following,” Angel said warily, hoping she didn’t cry. Isaac or Daniel breaking down he hated but knew what to do, a near stranger crying left him awkward.

“The shop was broken into three nights ago,” Lady Heather said quickly, words tumbling over themselves as she hurried to explain. “I heard the commotion from my apartment upstairs, but by the time the police arrived, it was too late.”

“What did they steal?” Angel was trying to follow along, he really was, but he had no idea what a burglary would have to do with her deceased husband.

“They stole him,” Lady Heather said, digging out a handkerchief from her tiny black purse. She dabbed at her eyes, miraculously not smearing her mascara.

Angel frowned. “I’m going to need you to spell this out for me.”

“The thieves stole Greyson’s ghost. I need you to find him.”

reckoning 4

AMAZON US – THE BEACON HILL SORCERER SERIES

AMAZON UK – THE BEACON HILL SORCERER SERIES

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

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Retro Review Tour: A.J.’s Angel by L.A. Witt

A.J.’s Angel | L.A. Witt

Wilde’s #3

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 Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Length: 35,000 words approx.
 

Wilde’s Series

The Best Man (Book #1) – Amazon US | Amazon UK

The Distance Between Us (Book #2) – Amazon US | Amazon UK

A.J.’s Angel (Book #3)

The Closer You Get (Book #4) – Amazon US | Amazon UK

Meet Me In The Middle (Book #5) – Amazon US | Amazon UK

No Distance Left To Run (Book #6) – Amazon US | Amazon UK

Missionary (Book #7) – Amazon US | Amazon UK

No Place That Far (Book #8) – Amazon US | Amazon UK

To Live Again (Book #9) – Amazon US | Amazon UK

Cover1
 

Blurb

 

Luke Emerson is the last person Sebastian Wakefield expects to see strolling into his tattoo shop. But Luke’s not back after four years to take up where they left off. Not even to apologize for the cheating that broke them up.

Luke wants a custom tattoo, a memorial for someone known only as “A.J.” Much as Seb would love to tell Luke to take this ink and shove it, he’s a professional. Plus, he’s reluctant to admit, he wouldn’t mind getting his hands on Luke again. Even if it’s just business.

Once Luke’s in the tattoo chair, though, Seb finds himself struggling with all the anger and resentment he thought he’d left behind—and those aren’t the only feelings reignited. Their relationship may have been turbulent, but it was also passionate. Four years clearly hasn’t been long enough for the embers of that fire to go cold.

A few subtle hints from Luke is all it takes to make Seb consider indulging in some of that physical passion. It shouldn’t be that tough to keep his emotions from getting tangled up in sweaty sheets.

After all, it’s not like he’s in love with Luke anymore. Right?

Excerpt

There are dozens of tattoo shops within a hundred mile radius of Seattle, and Luke Emerson chose to come waltzing through the front door of mine.

It was a damned good thing I wasn’t with a client right then. It was midday, midweek, so we weren’t all that busy, and when the bell above the door jingled over Jason’s buzzing tattoo needle, I had my feet on a desk and my nose in a trade magazine.

Fortunately, that meant I didn’t screw up a tattoo or injure someone when I nearly jumped out of my skin. Unfortunately, it also meant I was conspicuously not busy. Slimeball ex-boyfriend or not, he had to be treated like a potential client, particularly since there was another client present.

I set my magazine down and dropped my feet to the floor. On the way across the short expanse of space between us, I supposed I could have looked anywhere but right at him until I absolutely had to. But no, I used that time, those few steps, to force myself to get used to the sight of him. To drink in what I’d hoped never to see again.

Damn it, why did he still have to be so good-looking even after all these years? Time and again I’d wished on him a beer gut, a rapidly receding hairline, or at least a generous helping of gray hair. Preferably all three. Sure, it was petty and childish, but giving myself a laugh over it beat the hell out of hurting.

My wish wasn’t granted. Four years had chiseled away some of the youthful roundness of his features, leaving him with cheekbones nearly as sharp as his jaw. His dark hair was still thick and full without a strand of gray in sight. His sleeves, rolled to just below his elbows, revealed sculpted, lightly bronzed forearms. It would be just my luck that every last inch of him was equally toned and tanned.

Then there were his eyes. Those damned beautiful ice blue eyes. They hadn’t lost a bit of the intensity that had always made me weak in the knees, but I refused to allow them to have that effect on me now.

I wasn’t the only one doing a little drinking in. He made no effort to hide the slow down-up of his eyes, nor was he subtle about the pauses. Once at the tattoos making up my mostly finished right sleeve. Then at the long-since-completed left sleeve. My face. An upward flick to my eyes then a little higher. Wry amusement curled his lips, probably at the sight of my eyebrow ring. He’d always loved my penchant for ink and piercings. Too much of a self-described wimp to get any of his own, but he’d certainly been enamored of mine.

As he looked me over again, I wondered if he was trying to imagine what new ink work and jewelry I hid beneath my clothes. Several more tattoos and a pair of gold hoops, but he didn’t need to know that.

Our eyes met again, and an instant later, he dropped his gaze. Not out of shyness, though. Not even close, considering that dropped gaze went straight below my belt.

Subtle, Luke. Real subtle.

I cleared my throat and casually jammed a hand into the pocket of my jeans. “Long time no see.”

He looked up, not even a flicker of embarrassment in his expression. “Yeah, it’s been a while, hasn’t it?”

Not nearly long enough, I decided, but I forced myself to stay cordial. “So, what brings you into my shop?”

He grinned, making sure to flash his straight, gleaming teeth, every last one of which I wanted to knock out of his head. “I’m interested in getting a tattoo.”

Oh? “Open for Business” above your ass? Or “Village Bicycle” on your dick?

“Well, you’ve come to the right place.” I shifted my weight. “What did you have in mind?”

He took a breath, and I swear he set those broad shoulders back a little more. A gesture of arrogance? Nerves? I couldn’t be sure.

“I want…” He paused, dropping his gaze for a split second. “Um, it’ll be a custom design.”

“Oh.” I saw my escape, even if it was a lie, and jumped on it. “Well, that’s more Jason’s territory than mine, so—”

“No.”

I blinked.

Luke shook his head. “I want you to design it. And put it on.”

I glanced at Jason and his client then lowered my voice and eyed Luke. “Why me?”

“Because I like your work.” He grinned again. “I always have, you know that.”

“I’m also not the only artist in town.” My eyes narrowed. “As you well know.”

He flinched and looked at the counter between us. “Sebastian, please. This one is important to me. I wouldn’t let anyone else do it.”

I clenched my jaw. A million barbs rested on the tip of my tongue, ready to demand to know why he thought I should give a flying fuck how important this tattoo was to him, or how much he respected my work, or any of that. But professionalism prevailed, if only because my business partner and a paying client were within earshot. That, and business had been slow lately. Jason and I needed every penny we could bring into this place right now.

I sighed and reached under the counter to get a sketchbook. “Okay, what is it?”

He dug a piece of folded paper out of his back pocket. He didn’t unfold it yet, but gestured with it as he said, “It’ll be something like this, but with a name above it.”

I managed to keep from flinching. Finally decided to settle down with someone? I thought bitterly. Or is this the first name in a guestbook? I barely kept myself from snickering at that thought in spite of the jealousy—no, bitterness. It was nothing but bitterness. It was anger that tightened my chest and turned my stomach. That, and maybe a little pity for whatever sorry bastard was being immortalized on Luke’s person.

No jealousy whatsoever.

I held out my hand for the piece of paper.

“Anything else?” I asked through gritted teeth, unfolding the paper and bracing myself for the inevitable gloating about his new man, his soul mate, or his flavor of the month. I wondered how appreciative he’d be if I mentioned I’d never actually drawn a douche bag on someone’s skin, but I’d be open to doing so if that—

My heart fell into my feet when I realized what the design was. An intricately drawn, elaborately shaded and stunningly beautiful…angel. Looking heavenward. Clutching a folded American flag to her chest.

Oh, crap.

“It’s, um…” He paused again. “A memorial tattoo.”

Inwardly, I cringed, wishing the ground would swallow me up for even thinking what I had. I cleared my throat. “I’m, uh, I’m sorry to hear it.” So many questions. So many things I probably didn’t want to know. I tapped my pen on the sketchbook. “Where do you want it?”

He gestured at his left upper arm, and I fought to keep from shivering. At least it wasn’t going on his shoulders. His arms were spectacular, but the man had the kind broad, powerful shoulders that almost made up for what a dick he was.

I muffled a cough. “Okay, so, this design…” I gestured at the piece of paper.

“Something close to it, anyway. Doesn’t have to be exactly the same.”

I raised an eyebrow. “Do you want it changed in any particular way?”

He looked at the picture for a moment. “No, not really. I mean, it’s fine as is, but, you know, if you want to do anything with it, be my guest.” He swallowed, and when he met my eyes again, any humor or taunting was gone. I wondered if it had been there at all, or if I’d superimposed them myself.

“And the name?” I asked.

“Just A.J. is fine,” he said quietly.

“Any preference for the writing? Font, anything like that?”

“No, not really.” He offered a smile that might have been genuine. “You’re the artist.”

“Do you want the years? Birth and…” I paused.

His eyebrows flicked upward. “Death?”

I nodded.

“I’m not sure yet,” he said. “Is that something I can add later?”

“Yeah, of course.” I made a few notes on my sketchpad. Then I gestured at the angel drawing. “Do you mind if I hang on to this, or do—”

“Go ahead. I have another copy.”

I slipped the drawing into my sketchpad. “I guess that’s all I need to know about the design, then.” I fought to keep my annoyance out of my voice. He was here to put money in my pocket, he’d obviously lost someone dear to him, but that didn’t change the fact that he’d put me through the wringer a few years ago. There was more to this. There had to be.

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June 18Rainbow Gold Reviews, Mainely Stories, June 20Mirrigold: Mutterings & Musings, June 22Katie’s Book Corner Reviews, Lillian Francis, Southern Babe’s Book Blog, Bayou Book Junkie, MM Good Book Reviews

About The Author

L.A. Witt is an abnormal M/M romance writer who has finally been released from the purgatorial corn maze of Omaha, Nebraska, and now spends her time on the southwestern coast of Spain.

In between wondering how she didn’t lose her mind in Omaha, she explores the country with her husband, several clairvoyant hamsters, and an ever-growing herd of rabid plot bunnies.

She also has substantially more time on her hands these days, as she has recruited a small army of mercenaries to search South America for her nemesis, romance author Lauren Gallagher, but don’t tell Lauren.

And definitely don’t tell Lori A. Witt or Ann Gallagher. Neither of those twits can keep their mouths shut…

Website: http://www.gallagherwitt.com

E-mail: gallagherwitt@gmail.com

Twitter: @GallagherWitt

Blog: http://gallagherwitt.blogspot.com

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Release Blitz: Model Student by Ann Lister

Model Student | Ann Lister

Illicit Heat #1

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Standalone, short erotic story for ONLY 99c

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The Illicit Heat Series is a brand new collection of short, erotic stories by Bestselling Author, Ann Lister. Each story in this series will be under 10,000 words and can be read as a stand-alone.

In Model Student you will meet Stefan, the subject for a college figure drawing class who has a unique dilemma whenever the professor poses him in the direction of the classroom hottie, Ty.

Out of the fear of losing his job as the class model, Stefan is faced with an intriguing solution from Ty that might just remedy his issue, but will it also quench his sudden thirst for Ty, or will it leave him with an entirely new problem?

Model Student is a fast-paced romp filled with humour and a healthy dose of erotic delights served up to you by Stefan and Ty.

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M/M published books by Ann Lister

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About the Author

Ann Lister is a native New Englander currently living on the island of Martha’s Vineyard with her husband. She has pulled details from her years living in the New England area and uses many local settings and landmarks in her novels.

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After graduating art school, marrying, and raising two daughters, she established her own video production company. Her nearly two decades working in video production included work within the music industry and won her a coveted Telly Award. Her ‘behind-the-scenes’ exposure to the music world and her love of rock music is the inspiration for her erotic rock star romances.

The Rock Gods series gave her Bestselling Author status on Amazon. Beyond The Music, Book 7 in the series, hit #1 in the Gay Erotica genre during the Pre-Order and held that spot for several weeks. This last book in The Rock Gods series launches the spin-off series, Guarding The Gods, which releases in early Summer of 2016.

Fall For Me, Book One in the series was a Finalist in the 2013 Rainbow Award. Each book in this series brings her two favorite elements together: musicians and the love between two men. These stories focus on what it truly means to love; love unconditionally, love without restrictions or labels, love without fear or judgment – to just simply love.

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Thank you for touring with Love Has No Gender the brighter side of Jo&Isa♡Books

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Release Blitz: Something About You by Riley Hart

Something About You | Riley Hart

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M/M ROMANCE

RELEASE DATE: 19.06.18

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PHOTOGRAPHER: Wilson Models

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Lucky Tyler Holloway has never felt particularly lucky. Frankly, he’s about as regular as can be. He works construction with his brothers, loves his small-town life, and shares a close bond with his family—especially his grandmother. Okay, so maybe he has a few secrets in his closet, like his bisexuality…and that other thing he doesn’t talk about… Maybe that’s why he’s always felt a little like an outsider.

Grayson St. Claire has it all: a dream job in LA, money, freedom. Saint has no attachments, which is just the way he likes it. Still, he’d be lying if he didn’t admit he missed his deceased parents who were the only family he had… Until he gets an e-mail from some guy named Tyler revealing the existence of a grandmother he’s never met, and prompting Saint to drop everything to drive across the country.

Saint and Tyler couldn’t be more different. Tyler hates the guy on sight, but there’s something about Tyler that gets under Saint’s skin. It’s not until they get to know one another that everything begins to change.

But the Holloways and St. Claire’s have secrets, and their pasts are tied together in tragic ways they don’t know about. The odds are stacked against them and between their distance and their differences, Lucky and Saint have to admit that love alone might not be enough.

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EXCERPT

Fuck. He really hated Sienna right now. But the truth was, Tyler was attracted to Saint, and he sort of hated himself for it. Saint represented everything that annoyed the shit out of Tyler. He was arrogant and full of himself. He had money, and he wanted everyone to know it. He obviously had a grudge against or didn’t understand small-town life. They were too different, so the attraction didn’t make much sense. You don’t have to know or like someone to think they’re sexy. Ugh. Truth.

He shifted uncomfortably. “You’re crazy. I don’t even like the guy.”

“And?” Sienna asked. “Since when do we have to like someone to be attracted to them? I know you’re Mr. Nice Guy, but hate sex is some of the best sex you can have. Billy and I—”

“Can you not?” Tyler cut her off. “I don’t want to hear any more about your sex life with Billy, and there’s no chance I’d have sex with Saint—hate sex or not.” Jesus, were they really going to do this? “Plus…even if I wanted to have sex with him—which again, I don’t—I’m not into fucking someone I don’t like, especially the first time I’m with a man, and I’m sure he’s straight anyway.” Just like everyone assumed Tyler was straight…and he had himself until he’d admitted the attractions he’d felt.

He couldn’t believe he was having this conversation. He wanted to go back to before he’d admitted to Sienna he thought he might be bi. Well, he was pretty sure he was obviously bi. But it just felt…strange to have this conversation with her. To discuss his sexuality, which he was still working through himself, a sexuality he hadn’t yet explored outside of a kiss. How in the world did someone know if another man was gay or bi anyway? Hell, the man who kissed him had done it without any confirmation from Tyler. How had he known it wasn’t a quick way to get his ass beat—or worse?

Sienna reached over and patted his thigh. “Oh, my dear, sweet friend. You are so innocent sometimes. He was totally checking you out.”

“He was?” slipped out before Tyler could hold it back. “I mean, I don’t care if he was. I’m not interested. This isn’t a game to me, Si.”

She sighed, and he could see the guilt in her eyes. “You think I don’t know that? I want you to have every experience, though.” She moved the bowl from between them and leaned against his side. Tyler wrapped his arm around her, Sienna’s head in the crook. “I’m sorry. I know I’m a little much sometimes. I definitely don’t want to push away the one person who always stays. I don’t know what I’d ever do without you.”

“Hey.” He tilted her head toward him. “I’m not the only one who stays, and I’d never leave you. I hope you’re not talking about Billy either. You walked away from him, and you should have. That’s nothing on you.”

“I know. I don’t know what’s wrong with me.” She snuggled into him again, and he thought, not for the first time, how much easier life would be if he were in love with Sienna. Not just because she was a woman. There were other single women in town, and if he were interested, he could date them.

He had dated some of them, but he and Sienna had always gotten each other on a different level. They understood each other and cared about each other. They had fun together, but anything other than friendship wasn’t there between them. Not on Tyler’s side, nor hers.

“I don’t ever want anything to hold you back. You’re the best person I know. Why shouldn’t you have every experience possible? Why shouldn’t you know what it’s like to be with a man? And he’s sort of the perfect person because he’s leaving and he wants to jump your bones. I could see it.”

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Riley Hart is the girl who wears her heart on her sleeve. She’s a hopeless romantic, a lover of sexy stories, passionate men, and writing about all the trouble they can get into together.

She loves reading, flawed characters, and hanging out with her husband and children, who she adores. She and her family live in Southern California, soaking up the sunshine while also missing seasons. Not a day goes by that she isn’t thankful she gets to wake up and do what she loves.

Life is good. Riley also writes young adult and new adult under the name Nyrae Dawn.

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Guest Post – Falling Awake: Revenant II by Kristoffer Gair

Revenant: Falling Awake II | Kristoffer Gair

Falling Awake Book 2

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Publisher: Self-published

Release Date: June 19

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 90,000 words

Genre: Paranormal, Thriller

Buy Link

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07DLNXZ77

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https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40547115-falling-awake-ii 

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Synopsis

 Andrew O’Donnell’s childhood friend, Thomas, was murdered when they were ten years old. Nightmares and guilt have plagued Andrew ever since. And he believes himself responsible for delivering Thomas into the very hands of the men who committed the atrocity.

Now, fourteen years later, Andrew is driven to uncover the mystery of what really happened to Thomas, the reason behind the brutal abduction, and whether the assailants—who were never caught—have set their sights on someone else.

Even the help of an unlikely ally may not be enough to stop the darkness, the threat of what it will do to them in this life…or the next.

Kristoffer writes:

There Was Never Supposed To Be A Second Story

There’s a little “in” joke on the thank you page of the Falling Awake novella. I thank my friend Trish (the-artist-formerly-known-as-J.P.-Barnaby) Gillham and mention that she’ll put her foot up my bum if I don’t start writing the second part of the series.

The reason I call it an “in” joke is because there was NEVER supposed to be a series. There wasn’t even a second story. Trish insists to this day the ending of the novella is no ending at all. I still think it is, and I think readers have all the information they need to make their own determination how the story continues and ends without having it spelled out for them.

But I could be wrong.

You see, Falling Awake was an experiment. I wrote a story based on twenty years of travelling through airports, of having little bits and pieces of plot ideas return to the surface, of wondering if I might stretch beyond the genre of comedy, reaching inside myself to see if I had anything with depth, and dealing with grief over my father’s battle with Alzheimer’s.

I needed a story entirely of my own making, something I wouldn’t necessarily care if a publisher be interested in. Why? Because the project would allow me to explore self-publishing, find a cover artist, exert control over what the cover would ultimately be, work with editors who I have a solid relationship with, and present a vision I would be responsible for, with success or failure completely resting on my shoulders. I wrote this for me. I wanted to know hope still existed and if I could capture the essence of hope in a story.

So, why is there a second book? I won’t lie. First, Trish Gillham put the seed in my mind and forced me to reexamine the story in such a way as to determine if a larger arc existed. Second, readers took a leap of faith, moved away from the comedy arena with me, and embraced the story. They bonded with the characters in Falling Awake. They felt for them. They wanted more of the story, and their reviews on the first edition were some of the best I’ve ever received.

This confounded me for many months because I had nothing else in the queue with these characters. There. Was. No. Second. Story. And, as an author, I absolutely refuse to write a second story for the sake of trying to cash in on the feedback of the first.

I probably mumbled those exact words when I took a shower in early 2016, and started going over possibilities in my head. Yes, because of Trish. The conversations, not the shower. I considered all the characters, even going so far as to chat with them a bit while shampooing, conditioning, and soaping up. They usually agree with me. All but one did this time. Alex piped up and asked “What about my story?”

He didn’t have a story. And, if he did, it didn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. Or did it?

For those of you who have read the first Falling Awake (and for those of you who haven’t, this doesn’t give away too much, I think), you’ll remember Alex joins the group in the restaurant and tells a story about his friend, Thomas, who was killed when they were ten-years-old. The character of Alex asked me during my shower “What do you think an experience like that does to a child, especially when he feels responsible for his friend’s murder? How would he grow up dealing with the guilt? What would it do to him?”

Good questions. Very, very good questions.

And I agreed the answers were worth exploring. Welcome to Falling Awake II: Revenant.

Excerpt

Andrew sat straight up in bed and screamed, his shivering body soaked in its own hot sweat. He screamed twice more, then his voice went hoarse, and his body wracked with sobs. It took several long moments, but he finally calmed enough to remember he wasn’t in the town he spent less than a year in during his childhood. He was actually several states away in a hotel. And it was fourteen years later, 1972, not 1958.

“Bad dream?” the man lying next to him asked somewhat hesitantly.

“I’d take a bad dream over what I just had any day of the week.”

He turned, his head still shaking, and studied the man’s face, any details visible from the dim light Andrew had left on in the bathroom with the door mostly shut. Leaving a light on had become habit over the years, especially if he had company. And he always made sure to warn a stranger so they didn’t freak out if he woke up like he had. Well, so they wouldn’t freak out quite as badly as they would if he hadn’t warned them. This was, of course, if they bothered to stay for the entire night. Few did. And the ones who did never stuck around the day after anyway.

“Something from a long time ago,” Andrew muttered.

“It sounds like it happened two nights ago.”

Did he hear concern in the other man’s voice? What’s his name again? Darrin? Darwin? Daryl? That’s it. Daryl from one of the Dakotas—the man didn’t mention which one—a deputy in charge of bringing back a delinquent. There’s a joke somewhere in there.

Andrew started a conversation with Daryl at the local diner and tried his best to be charming and funny. It worked. Deputy Daryl struck him as a very guarded person, but they understood each other fine, especially the undercurrent of sexual tension and conversation within conversation. The man hadn’t been too difficult to seduce. They never really were. 

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Meet the Author

Author/Blogger Kristoffer Gair grew up in Fraser, MI and is a graduate of Grand Valley State University. He currently lives with his husband in a suburb of Detroit.

Official Website: www.KageAlan.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/kristoffergair

Twitter: www.twitter.com/kristoffer.gair

Tour Schedule

June 19 – Mirrigold: Mutterings & Musings (https://mirrigold.com/)

June 20 – Outrageous Heroes of Romance

June 21 – Love Bytes (www.lovebytesreviews.com)

June 22 – Queer Sci Fi (https://www.queerscifi.com)

June 23 – Celticlady’s Reviews (http://www.celticladysreviews.blogspot.com)

June 24 – My Fiction Nook (http://myfictionnook.com)

June 26 – Book Lovers 4Ever (http://www.bl4ebookblog.com/)

June 27 – Life at 17 (https://lifeat17.wordpress.com)

June 28 – Dawn’s Reading Nook (https://dawnsreadingnook.blogspot.com)

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