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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Lovely world building in a relatively short story

CoverBeholden by Kris T. Bethke

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was such a surprise! I’ve wanted to read Kris T Bethke’s work for a while and actually own a couple of her other books but have’t got round to it, so I jumped at the chance of having a go with this re-written and updated release.

I love me a good world building fantasy and this had all the makings of one and I never felt like I was missing out on any information which explained how magic worked or why different people had different abilities.

Julian is such a sweetheart, at odds with his family because he’s chosen to bind his magic to just one form – scrying – and considered a bit of a second class citizen because of it. But he’s good at what he does and for him, there’s no hardship in choosing to best use the power which flows through him.

When he’s asked to look for a missing magic user he bumps into Wes, tall, dark, broodingly handsome Wes, who – inexplicably in Julian’s opinion – seems to have the hots for him.

These two are totally sweet together. Wes knows Julian is the one and is just waiting for him to catch up. He’s devoted to finding out what’s going wrong with his love, whose magic is getting weaker, and this forms the central part of the plot.

There’s some great side characters who I’d love to know more about and the book does end with a bit of a cliffie as the one plot involving these two is just part of a much wider story arc which I’m hoping is the beginning of a new series!

Lots of good things going on in this one and a real pleasure to read. It’s not too short either so just a couple of hours buried in the well crafted world.

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

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More awesome literary influences in the latest Ward Security release

Dantès Unglued (Ward Security, #2)Dantès Unglued by Jocelynn Drake

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Count of Monte Cristo is one of my favourite novels in classic literature. The revenge story unfolds as Edmond Dantès systematically takes apart the lives of the four men who betrayed him more than a decade earlier.

In Dantès Unglued, the references are subtle, but they’re an underlying presence in the story which I won’t go into in huge detail as it would spoil the enjoyment for the reader going in blind, suffice it to say, I squealed a lot each time one popped up.

The tone in this is completely different than that of Psycho Romeo, the first in the Ward Security series offshoot of Jocelynn and Rinda’s Unbreakable Bonds Series (and if you’ve not read those, rectify that immediately!)

However, there’s plenty of elements which identify it as part of that world – the banter, the sense of friendship tying the men together, the volcanic hot sex and emotional connectivity between the main characters, and the fast-paced plot which anchors everything.

Quinn Lake’s been in and around the series since the beginning working for Rowe as one of his IT geniuses and we first met Shane as one of Jude Torres’ exes running the PI firm Hollis now works for.
Together they were explosive. The door scene in Psycho Romeo might just have met its match in the office chair scene in this one, Lordy when these two give in to that chemistry there really is magic happening in the periodic table!

The relationship happens over a fairly short period of time before the “I love you’s” but it absolutely works within the narrative. There is an instant attraction which is palpable and the two men are so staggered by how easily they slot together, it’s a no brainer really that they sweetly slide into a relationship without even realising it.

There’s no unnecessary drama which isn’t central to the book’s plot line (as opposed to the romance element) and the twist there is beautifully done, so major kudos to both authors for smoothly pulling it off (even when you know the book has that Edmond Dantès influence), that’s going some!

I loved the casual glimpses back into the rest of this expanded world, we see Jude and Snow, Ian and Hollis, hear about Lucas and Andrei’s upcoming wedding and have a memorable encounter with Rowe during this book. It’s great to keep that connection even though these spin-offs definitely have a tone and feel all of their own.

All I can say is this series, along with the earlier one it springs from, are right up at the top of my tree for books which do exactly what they say on the tin – provide me with a thrill of a ride and a beautiful romance with all the emotional feels I need alongside the (admittedly) hot sex.

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

PS: If you’ve never read  the book by Alexandre Dumas, père, it’s worth it. The 1975 film adaptation starring Richard Chamberlain is my favourite of the many.

The_Count_of_Monte-Cristo_(1975)
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Release Blitz: Protecting His Omega by Giovanna Reaves

Title:  Protecting his Omega

Author: Giovanna Reaves

Publisher: Self-Pub

Release Date: December 12, 2017

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 226

Genre: Romance, Mpreg, Alpha, Omega, Non-Shifter

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Synopsis

Phoenix Harcourt is a single father who was kicked out of his home when his parents found out that he was an omega. After losing his alpha mate, Phoenix turned his focus to his daughter and the successful company that was left in his care. With a threat to his life, Phoenix hires a bodyguard who wants to protect more than his body. He also want’s Phoenix’s heart.

Hired to protect an omega, Lucius Payne had one goal: do his job and nothing else. He was never one to mix business with pleasure. Moreover, finding an omega mate was not in his plans, especially when it is the man he is supposed to protect. When his job becomes more complicated than he was expecting.

Can Lucius convince Phoenix to trust him with his heart as well as his body?

Excerpt from Chapter One

“Welcome back, Mister Harcourt,” Joyce Bailey greeted Phoenix Harcourt, CEO of Phoenix English, Inc.

“Good morning, Joyce,” he greeted his executive administrative assistant, as he stopped by her desk before heading to his office. “Alissa,” he greeted to Joyce’s assistant who nodded at him before he looked back at Joyce. “Come and see me in twenty minutes, I need to look over a few business reports.”

“Yes, sir,” she said writing down his instructions.

Phoenix walked into his office, and set his briefcase down on the chair in front of his large mahogany desk. He loosened his tie just a bit before taking off his suit jacket, resting it on the back of his chair as he sat down. He glanced at the stack of mail that had accumulated in the week he’d been out of the office.

Returning to work after taking care of his daughter, Jasmine, who’d caught a nasty bug from school, was both a relief and a guilt trip. He loved being a dad, but being a single father had its ups and downs and having a sick child was certainly one of the down moments. “I thought Joyce would’ve gone through all this already,” he muttered to himself.

Logging in to his computer, he pulled up the latest business reports from his management team and checked on his company’s stock. Everything seemed to be in good standing, the holidays were always profitable for Phoenix English, Inc. While Phoenix tried to get as much paperwork done while he was at home, Jasmine needed him more. He followed the motto that Maxwell English had ingrained in him and their employees: family always came first.

Phoenix turned around in his chair and stared out the window. He never thought his life would turn out the way it had. There were three hierarchical statuses in society: alpha, beta, or omega. Phoenix was a male omega, a status in society that some considered to be rare with their androgynous beauty and his unique ability to bear children. However, no matter how rare omegas are, they have a low standing in society and, in most cases, not seen as leaders and are supposed to be submissive to their mates.

Alphas, on the other hand, were respected and recognized as leaders, with their abnormally handsome features, strength, and intelligence, they were perfectly compatible with their omega mates or that was what the fates and gods wanted society to believe.

Betas made up the vast majority of society and were more humanistic in appearance and physique, they were also a step down from alphas. Betas could mate with an omega, but they were unable to have children together.

As Phoenix considered his status, he shook his head to remind himself that as an omega, he was running a multibillion-dollar cosmetic company with his name on it. And that made him smiled. Hearing the sound of ice rain hit his window, it reminded him that the holidays were a few weeks away. The holidays always made him think of Max, the man who became more like a father to him than his own father. He missed Max. He was there for Phoenix when he needed him, right after his parents kicked him out.

He hated thinking about his parents, especially the way they shunned him after they found out he was an omega. At sixteen, there were a few things that happened in his life. Puberty. Some experience it a couple of months before or after their sixteenth birthday. But around sixteen was the age when teenagers found out if they were an alpha, omega, or beta. When Phoenix turned sixteen, he found out two things that he had accepted about himself: he was gay and an omega.

However, it seemed his parents were having a difficult time coming to terms with the fact that he was an omega. He remembered that day, as if it was yesterday. It was six months after he and his twin brother, Anthony, or Tony to his family and friends, turned sixteen and he noticed that his parents were acting cold towards him. Tony was an alpha and he was also acting strangely towards him.

Phoenix and Tony had always been close, they shared everything from clothes to secrets. There were a few things that Phoenix noticed when it came to his brother, that he was forgetting conversations they had or places they’d been to. Although they were twins, Phoenix had always thought that their parents loved them, equally acknowledging and accepting that they had different personalities. His parents had portrayed themselves as open-minded and willing to listen to everyone’s problems. They were always preaching to Phoenix and Tony that they should be more tolerant of all mankind and their differences.

Phoenix had heard stories of banishment happening to other kids and never fathomed that he would end up being one of them. No matter how many times he begged, his parents refused to reveal the reason why they were rejecting him. He could never forget the words spewing from his father’s mouth.

“You’re worthless to us,” James Harcourt yelled at him.

“Dad, why are you saying that,” Phoenix cried.

“Don’t call me that,” James snapped. “Don’t refer to me as your father. You are not mine.” Phoenix had never seen the look of anger and hate on his father’s face before. Tears streamed down his cheeks as he looked at his mother and brother, his eyes begging for them to say something in his defense. To talk some sense into his father.

“Mom, please,” he begged. Lilith went to move, but Tony clamped a hand down on her shoulder. “Go, Phoenix, just leave us alone and whatever you do, do not come back,” she told him then turned her back to him. Tony wrapped his arms around her and whispered in her ear.

“I’m giving you fifteen minutes to get your shit and get the hell out of my house,” James told him.

“Da— ” The sound of a loud crack reaching his ear stopped him when he realized what he heard was his father’s hand meeting his cheek. The sting made him understand that his father was not the man he thought he was.

“Do as I say, boy.”

Phoenix nodded and ran to his room, grabbing everything he could fit in one bag, including his three-month supply of suppressant pills, and ran out of his parents’ house without looking back.

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Meet the Author

Giovanna (Gia) Reaves is my alter ego, who is a dreamer. I spend my days and nights dreaming and thinking of the worlds I want to create with words. I started writing about three years ago, when I was introduced to the world of fan fiction. I loved the idea of creating a new world around characters that people already knew about. And ones that are original of my own making. I have written two novels and a few free stories. I am a mother, wife, and a military veteran. I enjoy trying new things such as traveling, cooking, and reading. I try to incorporate some of the things I have experienced into my books.

Currently living in Newport, RI with my two favorite men. If I am not hidden in my cave writing, I love to read and spend time with my hubby and son. I love listening to R and B along with neo-soul when I am writing. When I’m not writing, I am trying to perfect my baking and decorating skills or try to pick up something new. I love spending time with my husband and son playing video games and traveling.

I love hearing from you:

Email me: GiovannaReaves@gmail.com

Visit my website www.GiovannaReaves.com to check out my blogs and free stories

Join my Facebook group Gia’s Secret Temptations: https://www.facebook.com/groups/GiasSecretTemptations/

or just follow me Gia Reaves on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Giovanna.PM.Reaves

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Stuck in the middle with this new cowboy romance from A.M. Arthur

Wild Trail (Clean Slate Ranch, #1)Wild Trail by A.M. Arthur

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5*

There’s lots of bits in this book which are great but there’s also parts which didn’t work as well for me so overall it was a good but not great read.

Things that worked: The setting, loved the ranch and the vibe of the people there and the descriptions and the ghost town and the mystery. I liked the majority of the romance between Mack and Wes too.

Things that didn’t work: The ‘boss/daddy” references. None of their sexual encounters felt even remotely daddy and boy to me, neither was their really any sign of a master/slave element to warrant the boss nickname, the odd way Mack’s ex’s cheating being revealed came up.

Also Colt’s big reveal felt chucked in to create drama rather than a natural element which sat well within the narrative.

But, having said all of the above, there are more positives than not and I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series and seeing what all the not very subtle hints turn into for Reyes, Colt, Miles and Aubrey.

#ARC received from Carina Press via NetGalley.

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