Tag Archives: romance

Blog Tour: When The Stars Align by Isabel Jolie

When The Stars Align | Isabel Jolie

West Side series #1

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Release Day: January 13, 2020

Buy Links:

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Isabel-Jolie/e/B082LVT5PM

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/when-the-stars-align-isabel-jolie/1135398700

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/when-the-stars-align-3

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Blurb

Anna and Jackson meet their last year in Chapel Hill. She’s accepted a job at a respected, award-winning advertising agency in New York City, and he has a position at a prestigious Atlanta firm. Sparks fly, but when he suggests she change her plans, she’ll have none of it. By the time moving day comes, they don’t even share goodbyes.

Four years later, Anna and Jackson meet again in New York City when, thanks to a mutual connection, he moves into her apartment building. She’s a Creative Director at a medium-sized advertising agency. He’s just moved from Atlanta to New York to accept a position at a well-respected law firm.

Anna, friendly to everyone, welcomes him to her city. Jackson has zero interest in repeating past mistakes, and he’s still angry over what she did years ago. But he’s in a new city, she’s his neighbor, and a friendship forms.

With a singular focus on making partner and no interest in exploring a relationship with Anna, Jackson sells her on a friends with benefits arrangement that won’t take them off course. In his mind, it’s a win-win. What could go wrong?

The arrangement works until Anna battles sexual harassment at her agency and the two don’t see eye to eye on how to handle it. Anna cares about her career, and Jackson knows the law and plans to leverage it.

The situation forces Jackson to face some realities about his father and life choices. Anna has zero intention of letting him tell her what to do. Both find themselves wondering if they should step back once again and wait for a better day, when their relationship makes sense. A day when the stars align.

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Excerpt

Chewie and I only have to wait a minute for the elevator. We walk in, and I hum a bit as I scratch her floppy mass of hair. The elevator door slides to close. A hand shoots through the gap to force the door open. I tighten my grip on Chewie’s leash as she attempts to lunge forward to say hello. “Chewie!” I scold.

I grip the leash tightly to keep her at my side. Once I have my shaggy girl under control, I raise my head and see the man standing on the threshold of the elevator. My mouth drops open. My lungs contract. 

Hazel eyes I haven’t seen in four years stare back at me. The blue-gray suit offsets those chameleon eyes, casting a bluer hue. The short, trimmed beard makes him appear older and more distinguished. The dark, curly, college student hair, now cut in a shorter, controlled, professional style, says business.

My skin tingles. From shock or from being in his presence again, I’m not sure.

Jackson’s eyes flick between me and my rambunctious, shaggy brown beast. “Anna?”

“Jackson?” Chewie attempts to jump on him, and I give a quick pull on the leash and command, “Sit.” I close my mouth, but I’m still gaping. How could I not be? Jackson lives in Atlanta. I never thought I’d see him again. That door closed.

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About the Author

Isabel Jolie is the mother of two strong, kindhearted girls and she’s been married to her supportive, romantic husband for over fifteen years. Isabel received a BA Journalism from the University of North Carolina and an MBA from New York University.

She has a business background in advertising and marketing. Wine, falling snow, good friends, and a delicious book with all the feels are a few of her favorite things.

Social Media

Website: http://www.isabeljoliebooks.com

Twitter: @isabeljoliebook

Facebook: https://facebook.com/isabeljoliebooks

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19801964.Isabel_Jolie

Pinterest: isabeljoliebooks

Instagram: https://instagram.com/isabeljoliebooks

Giveaway

Win one of 3 packages, containing one custom coffee mug + a signed copy of When The Stars Align.

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New Release Blitz: Unraveling by Rick R. Reed

Unraveling | Rick R. Reed

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: January 13, 2020

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 68,300

Buy Links:

NineStar Press

Amazon

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Barnes & Noble

Add to Goodreads

Blurb

Randy Kay has the perfect life with his beautiful wife and adorable son. But Randy’s living a lie, untrue to himself and everyone who knows him. He’s gay.

Marriage and fatherhood, which he thought could change him, have failed. He doubts if anyone can love him for who he really is—especially himself.

With his wife’s blessing, he sets out to explore the gay world he’s hidden from all his life.

John Walsh, a paramedic with the Chicago Fire Department, is comfortable in his own skin as a gay man, yet he can never find someone who shares his desire to create a real relationship, a true family.

When Randy and John first spy each other in Chicago’s Boystown, all kinds of alarms go off—some of joy, others of deep-seated fear.

Randy and John must surmount multiple hurdles on the journey to a lasting, meaningful love. Will they succeed or will their chance at love go up in flames, destroyed by missed connections and a lack of self-acceptance?

Excerpt

Unraveling
Rick R. Reed © 2020
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One
RANDY

I have my death all planned out.

Unlike the thirty-two years that have gone before, I want my passing to be peaceful and free of the discord and pain I’ve lived with for as long as I can remember. I want it to be easy. Effortless. Guilt-free.

Whether it’s any of those things remains to be seen.

I’ve rented this hotel room at a small boutique hotel off Michigan Avenue. The Crewe House has been standing on this same ground on Oak Street for at least a hundred years. The rooms are small, fussy, and charming, with flocked wallpaper, four-poster beds, and claw-foot tubs and pedestal sinks in their black-and-white bathrooms. It’s charming, and I deserve something nice to gaze at before I close my eyes for good.

I have some sandalwood-scented candles lit, and the fragrance is warm, enveloping. Their soft flicker is the only illumination. Outside, the winter sky darkens early. Dusk’s cobalt blue makes silhouettes of the water towers, train tracks, and buildings to the west of the hotel. Near the horizon the sky is a shade of lavender that mesmerizes me, makes me think of changing my mind. If a sky like this can exist, with its electric bands of color, maybe the world isn’t such a horrible place.

Maybe I can go on.

No.

What else have I done to ease my passage into whatever comes next? I have a bottle of Veuve Cliquot, my favorite champagne, uncorked and resting in a silver ice bucket, filled with melting ice. A flute stands next to it, waiting.

I’ll wash the sleeping pills down with the bubbly.

Before getting into bed, I’ll turn on the cassette I have in my boombox, Abbey Road. I have it queued up to “Golden Slumbers.”

I’ve been carrying this weight for such a long time.

I long for smiles.

At last, I’ll undress and stretch out on the four-poster. I’ll pull the eiderdown duvet loosely over me and close my eyes.

The plan is I will slowly slip under, my brain becoming a soft velvety fog, and I’ll simply fall into the arms of a comforting—and obliterating—slumber.

I will not dream.

It won’t take long.

And I’ll leave a beautiful corpse.

That’s the plan, anyway. Some of my research into this method of offing myself runs counter to this gentle fantasy, but I don’t want to consider the downside of overdosing on strong barbiturates.

I want to go to sleep.

I want to forget the impossibility of being able to become the man I know I should be.

Husband.

Father.

I blink back tears as I sit on the bed, staring out at the deepening twilight. They don’t deserve this: what you’re going to leave them with. I know the voice inside, the one that’s always made me do the right thing, at the expense of my very being, is right. And even though they don’t deserve it, you know they will hurt, of course they will, but in the end, they’ll be better off.

Who wants a husband and father who can’t seem to make himself straight, despite trying therapy, the Catholic Church, the Buddhist faith, self-help groups, and self-help books. A group of pathetic married men meeting once a month and thinking they can change. Nothing works. If I could change, I would.

And since I can’t change, I’m left with three options:

Accept myself as I am. How can I do that? I’d be a failure as a husband, a father, a son, a brother. I’d go on wearing this suffocating mask. I’d continue to live a life that’s essentially a lie.

Everyone who loves me doesn’t even know me.

They love a façade, a projection, a mirage made of wishes, impossible hopes, and self-hatred.

No, acceptance is not an option. It never was.

Second, I could resist. I could knuckle down and brace myself against the attractions I feel, the dreams that pop up in my sleep despite my desperately not wanting them there. I could hold myself back from falling prey to the temptations I feel on the streets, the subway, the locker rooms—everywhere I encounter a beautiful man.

The reason I find myself here is because I can’t resist. Not anymore.

And the third option is simply the one I have to choose—remove myself from the pain. Remove myself from existing as this broken thing that God nor man can fix.

Yes, Violet and Henry both will find a way to move on, and they’ll be happier, more anchored in life without me.

Who needs a gay dad? Or a husband who, deep down, doesn’t want what his wife has to offer? Or worse, a dad who contracts the death sentence of AIDS?

Enough of the grim thoughts. They were not part of my plan. Tonight, I go out peacefully. I’ll shut my eyes and remember things like my joy six years ago when Henry was born and seeing him take his first breath. I shouted, “We got a boy!” and fell into the deepest, most effortless love I’ve ever felt. I’ll remember proposing to Violet when we were both college sophomores and the thrill when she accepted the cheap diamond-chips ring I gave her. Things will be okay now, I remember thinking. I can change.

I really believed that. And I know I love Violet as best I can.

It’s sad when your best simply isn’t good enough.

I reach over for the bottle of sleeping pills on the nightstand. There are thirty of them, and I intend to take them all, two or three at a time. If it takes the whole bottle of champagne to get them down, well, things could be worse. No?

I tip the bottle and look at the tablets against the dark wood, so innocent, yet so lethal.

I’m just reaching for one when there’s a sudden knock on the door. Loud. Forceful. Urgent.

“Randy? Randy? Open up, please.”

The door knob turns as Violet’s voice penetrates the heavy wood of the door, making her sound muffled.

I close my eyes. I could ignore her, hope she goes away.

How did she find out where I was anyway?

She wasn’t supposed to know until she got the letter, the one neatly folded and an arm’s length away on the nightstand.

Pounding. “Please!” Violet calls.

I gather the pills, shoving them back in the bottle, then hide the container in a nightstand drawer.

How will I explain?

I get up, cross the room, and open the door.

About the Author

Real Men. True Love.

Rick R. Reed draws inspiration from the lives of gay men to craft stories that quicken the heartbeat, engage emotions, and keep the pages turning. Although he dabbles in horror, dark suspense, and comedy, his attention always returns to the power of love.

He’s the award-winning and bestselling author of more than fifty works of published fiction and is forever at work on yet another book. Lambda Literary has called him: “A writer that doesn’t disappoint…” Rick lives in Palm Springs, CA with his beloved husband and their fierce Chihuahua/Shiba Inu mix.

Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Instagram

Giveaway

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Release Blitz: Rescuing Kyle by Lynn Michaels

Rescuing Kyle | Lynn Michaels

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Release Date: 14.01.20

Amazon US: http://bit.ly/Rescuing_Kyle

Amazon UK: http://bit.ly/Rescuing-Kyle

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Blurb

Kyle Blyss lives to tear up the track on his motorcycle, and touring across Europe is unbelievable. Meeting up with his cousin, an Army Ranger, who he looks a lot like, only adds to his adventure. When he meets his cousin’s friends, Kyle is excited by the lust that pulses between him and the sexy CIA agent, and he’s eager to explore the connection.

Steve Dixon always wanted to be a superspy, so he joined the CIA. His current assignment is a counterterrorist joint task force, headquartered in Germany. When he meets his co-worker’s motorcycle riding cousin, he’s overwhelmed at their mutual attraction.

Then everything goes south.

A mistaken identity, the Delta Team rescue, and a bag of gummies lead Kyle and Steve to re-examine their careers, their love…and their lives.

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Excerpt

Steve tagged along with Warren to pick Kyle up, whether Warren wanted him there or not. Frankfurt airport was a big wide open space with masses of people all going in their own separate directions—a riot of color against a silver backdrop. Steve followed after Warren as he made his way through the hoards. They only stopped moving to check the huge board announcing the flights. “Well?” Steve asked. “Which one?”

“There. On time.”

Steve couldn’t figure out the flights listed, but Warren picked it out and then moved again without waiting for Steve. He darted after Warren. His heart pounded in his chest as they maneuvered the crowds toward his gate, but that beating had more to do with seeing Kyle, than the exertion of speed walking through the airport. It didn’t matter. He swallowed hard when Warren came to a stop.

“He should be coming from there.” Warren stopped at the farthest point they could go. Steve could have pulled some strings to get them behind the security line, but he felt that needed to be reserved for something special, not simply picking up his boyfriend.

Boyfriend?

Steve stuffed that thought down. He couldn’t afford to think that way.

He scanned the people coming out of the large tiled hallway and walking past them. All the different faces, different sizes, shapes, and colors, but none of them were Kyle. Steve hated the waiting.

“Stop fidgeting. He’ll be here in a sec,” Warren grumbled.

“I know.”

“Hey, let me ask you something.”

“Sure.” Steve refocused on Warren. His eyebrows crinkled over his nose, making him appear serious. “What is it?” He feared a lecture about screwing around with Warren’s cousin.

Warren took a deep breath and looked away before asking, “Are you like, uh, attracted to me?”

“What?”

“You know? I look like Kyle, so…”

Steve snorted out a laugh. “No. It does not work that way, man. I’m not attracted to you. At. All.”

Warren glared at him. “How is that possible? We look like twins.”

“Come on, Warren. You can’t be serious. Stop yanking my chain.” Steve crossed his arms. “Attraction is more than looks. It’s that zing you get.”

“Fine. Don’t be attracted to me then.”

Warren was probably playing it off as not serious after being told no. “Warren?”

“Oh, look. There he is.”

Kyle came running at them. He dropped his bag and leaped into Steve’s arms. Steve grabbed him, holding him tight. That kind of greeting surprised Steve, but he loved it.

“Steve, you’re here!” Kyle peppered Steve’s face with kisses.

“Oh, wow. Now you don’t like me, either. Jerks.” Warren picked up Kyle’s bag. “Feet back on the floor, Romeo. You have any other luggage to collect?”

Kyle put his feet down and pulled away from Steve, then he grabbed Warren in a bear hug. “Missed you too, bro.”

“Bags, Kyle?” Warren choked out the words as if Kyle were strangling him.

“Yeah. I have one coming out. Let’s get to baggage claim.” Kyle grabbed Steve’s hand and tugged him over. He pecked him on the lips, but Steve wanted more. He grabbed Kyle’s face and pulled him into a deeper kiss.

“Oh, no. Knock that shit off.” Warren shoved Kyle, who laughed at him. “Save it for later, boys.”

“Jealous?” Kyle asked with a wink.

Warren flipped him the bird and walked off to find the belt that would soon spit out Kyle’s bag.

About The Author

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Lynn Michaels lives and writes in Tampa, Florida where the sun is hot and the Sangria is cold. When she’s not writing she’s kayaking, hanging with her husband, or reading by the pool.

She writes Male/Male romance because she believes everyone deserves a happy ending and the dynamics of male characters can be intriguing, vulnerable, and exciting. She has both contemporary and paranormal titles and has been writing since 2014.

Her stories don’t follow any set guidelines or ideas, but come from her heart and contain love in many forms.

Social Media

Website: https://rubiconwriting.com/lynn-michaels/

Lynn’s Loonie Bin – Facebook Readers Group: http://bit.ly/LooneyBinonFacebook

Twitter: https://twitter.com/sljasble

Amazon: http://bit.ly/LynnOnAmazon

Bookbub: http://bit.ly/LynnMichaelsonBB

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lynnmichaels69/

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Blog Tour: Unexpected by K.M. Neuhold

Unexpected | K.M. Neuhold

Inked #3

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Release Date: 26.12.19

Universal Link: mybook.to/UnexpectedInked

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Blurb

Kyle needed a place to stay, he never thought it would turn into so much more.

So, your gorgeous boss, Maverick, and his yummy husband, Ari, are letting you stay with them while you get back on your feet? Here are a few simple tips:

Don’t call his husband Daddy. I know it’ll be difficult, but seriously, don’t.

Don’t leave a pair of red, lacy panties in their bed.

If you hear interesting noises from their bedroom in the middle of the night, don’t peek in. Don’t.

And most importantly, don’t fall in love.

Follow these tips and everything should go as expected.

**This book is the third book in the Inked series, which is a spin-off of the Heathens Ink series, but it CAN be read as a stand-alone. Unexpected is a super sweet, steamy MMM story with low angst and very light Daddy kink.

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Excerpt

Ari ripped into me, and I don’t blame him. If anything, I think he went too easy on me and forgave me too quickly. If I hadn’t forgotten my laptop in my office, would I have ever known Kyle was sleeping there? He said he wasn’t planning to stay long, so what was his plan? Sleeping in his car? Going to a homeless shelter? Sleeping on the street?

Bile rises in my throat, my appetite completely gone.

Ari is telling Kyle about his many jobs, and I take a second to look at the kid. I’ve never seen him without makeup on. He looks like a completely different person. He’s still beautiful, but in a more understated kind of way. You might look past him on the street, and what a tragedy that would be.

I shake off the thought. I made him homeless, and now I’m checking him out. I think that earns me a first class ticket on the trip to hell I’ve already been booked for.

I push the food around on my plate until the two of them are finished eating, then I gather all the dishes.

“You don’t have to clean up after me,” Kyle argues as I pick up his silverware to take to the sink to wash.

“Consider it part of my penance,” I answer dryly.

“You don’t need any penance. I told you it’s fine.”

I don’t bother to respond, because I think all three of us know it’s far from fine.

In spite of my insistence that I can take care of everything, Ari wipes down the counters and puts away the dishes once they’re washed and dried while Kyle slides onto the floor and sits cross-legged petting Piglet. He looks so young sitting on the floor with the dog in his lap, his face clean and a hint of red under his eyes that suggests he cried recently.

My chest aches at the sight—with guilt and something else I can’t put my finger on. Ari’s lips pressing against my shoulder startles me, and I turn my head to give my husband an apologetic smile. He raises his eyebrows at me in an unspoken question that I can’t quite decipher. Is he wondering what I’m thinking? Why I haven’t told him more about Kyle? If I was checking out Kyle? I’m not sure I have a good answer for any of those things.

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About The Author

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K.M. Neuhold is a complete romance junkie, a total sap in every way. She started her journey as an author in new adult, MF romance, but after a chance reading of an MM book she was completely hooked on everything about lovely- and sometimes damaged- men finding their Happily Ever After together.

She has a strong passion for writing characters with a lot of heart and soul, and a bit of humor as well. And she fully admits that her OCD tendencies of making sure every side character has a full backstory will likely always lead to every book having a spin-off or series.

When she’s not writing she’s a lion tamer, an astronaut, and a superhero…just kidding, she’s likely watching Netflix and snuggling with her husky while her amazing husband brings her coffee.

linktr.ee/KMNeuhold

 

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Blog Tour: Rules to Obey by Susan Hawke

Rules to Obey | Susan Hawke

Davey’s Rules Series #5

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Release Date: 12.12.19

Universal Link: getbook.at/RulesToObey

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Blurb

Davey’s Rule #83: Daddy will encourage his boy to be the best he can be and be supportive of his boy’s career choices.

Marcus Alves has waited most of his adult life to find the perfect match. A sweetheart who will love cuddles, need a Daddy to help him thrive, and most importantly… be the type of boy that might want to use the binky that Marcus keeps hidden in his pocket. Now in his forties, he’s refusing to give up on his dream—or the unused playroom that’s waiting for someone to enjoy.

Jeff Robustelli has had a rough life. Growing up in a commune with absent parents was hard for a rule-following straitlaced guy with a genius IQ. When the uncle who saved him died, Jeff did what he does best—buried his head in the sand and pretended life wasn’t changing. Working in a Daddy club has shown him what he really wants, but Jeff is too afraid to take a chance on something new.

When Jeff has a sudden need for a fake fiancé, he strikes a deal with the older man who always seems to be there when his world is crumbling and makes him feel safe. In exchange, he agrees to a fake Daddy/boy experiment designed to let him try out being little without any pressure.

While Marcus and Jeff navigate their “deal” and the unexpected new feelings that begin to emerge, Marcus also must help the younger man through a series of life changes that put him on the road to being the adult he’s been too afraid to be.

When everything in Jeff’s life is in turmoil, Marcus is his one stability. But can Jeff trust his own heart when nothing else in his life is making sense anymore?

This is the fifth book in a series about not-so-perfect Daddies, adorable “boys,” and one sassy brat with an insane list of rules. Grab your fan and tissues because this series comes with both a high heat advisory and all the squishy feels you’d want from a Susan Hawke book.

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Excerpt

My heart raced with excitement as I thought about the surprise I’d left for him among the coloring books. “How about we start easy? First off, I would like to call you Jeffy when we’re together like this. Is that okay?”

He seemed to consider that for a moment, his lips silently forming the little name a few times before finally nodding. “Jeffy. I like that because it’s not too different from normal but sets me apart when I’m being…” He paused, lowering his voice to a whisper as he finished his sentence. “Little. It sets me apart when I’m little.” He was so earnest and sweet that I wanted to eat him up.

“Good boy. Thank you. The name suits you, Jeffy. Now, why don’t you look down on the bottom shelf and choose a coloring book? There is also a plastic box filled with crayons that you’ll want to use.”

Jeffy licked his lips and hesitated for half a second before crouching and carefully examining the stack of coloring books. I held my breath as I waited for him to get to the bottom. Somehow, I thought I was safe ignoring Davey’s advice about not having Jeff make choices when I’d hidden the perfect surprise for him. It only took a few moments as he neatly slid each book from the top of the stack and moved it to the bottom while he carefully examined each one. I knew when he found it because he blew out his breath so fast that it whistled through his front teeth.

He looked up at me with shining eyes and held the coloring book high like a trophy. “Transformers? You have a Transformers coloring book? And I can use it?”

I couldn’t help but chuckle. “Not only can you use it, but I got it especially for you. Why don’t you look at the plastic box beside them now? That was also chosen just for you.”

He picked up the blue box with the metallic logo, and the smile I got was worth the time I’d spent searching online for the Transformers pencil box. After he put the other coloring books back on the shelf—taking a moment to meticulously straighten them first—Jeffy stood, hugging his prizes to his chest. He still looked like he had half a mind to take off at the slightest provocation, but he wasn’t looking quite as overwhelmed as he had a few minutes ago.

Catch up with the series

Rules to Follow: getbook.at/RulesToFollow

Rules to Break: getbook.at/RulesToBreak

Rules for Santa: getbook.at/RulesForSanta

Rules for Growing: getbook.at/RulesForGrowing

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About The Author

As an avid reader and big romance fan myself, I love sharing the stories of the different people who live in my imagination. My stories are filled with humor, a few tears, and the underlying message to not give up hope, even in the darkest of times, because life can change on a dime when you least expect it.

This theme comes from a lifetime of lessons learned on my own hard journey through the pains of poverty, the loss of more loved ones than I’d care to count, and the struggles of living through chronic illnesses. Life can be hard, but it can also be good! Through it all I’ve found that love, laughter, and family can make all the difference, and that’s what I try to bring to every tale I tell.

I’m a happily married mom with one snarky teenage boy, and three grown “kids of my heart.” I’m more widely known for my mpreg writings as Susi Hawke; this new name is a departure from that.

Whether written by Susan or Susi, the books are filled with that all-important love, laughter, and family I mentioned; the only difference is that this name has no male pregnancy. I look forward to sharing my stories with you, and to bringing more romance and laughter into this world that needs it so very badly.

Social Media

Amazon Author: https://amzn.to/2Hdgwvl

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

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Cover Reveal: Hold Me Up by Colette Davison

Hold Me Up | Colette Davison

Chasing Gold #1

Cover Artist: Colette Davison

Release Date: January 29, 2020

Heat Rating: 2 – 3 flames

Length: 68,500 words

It is a standalone story.

Blurb

Can second chance love survive past trauma?

Reece has one goal: to compete in the Olympic Games. With the gymnastics World Championships looming, his dream is one step closer to becoming a reality.

When his childhood sweetheart, Alex, walks back into his life unexpectedly, Reece’s world is turned upside down. Alex was the boy who inexplicably pushed him away and broke his heart; the boy he still loves.

When the truth behind their break-up is revealed, Reece wants to hold Alex up and give him the strength to heal.

But can Reece be Alex’s rock, and remain focused on his training, or will his Olympic dreams suffer in the process?

Hold Me Up is a MM second chance romance, with a slow-burn relationship and lots of hurt/comfort. It’s the first in a series of books that follows male artistic gymnasts as they chase gold.

Trigger warnings: Hold Me Up features a character who suffers from anxiety and panic attacks due to a past event that is briefly described.

Excerpt

“What the fuck are you doing here, Alex?” Reece demanded, not even trying to hide the anger in his tone. He couldn’t miss the fact that Alex flinched, and he felt a pinch of guilt.

“Writing an article.” Alex’s eyes were wide and imploring, in a ‘can we just get this over with?’ kind of way.

Reece sat down at one of the tables. “Go on then, ask your questions.”

Alex grimaced as he sat down at the next table along. “How have you been?”

Reece rolled his eyes. “You’re not here to chit chat.” God he was being an arse and he knew it, but he wasn’t sure what else Alex expected from him.

“Sorry.” Alex stared down at the table for several seconds, his fierce stare reminding Reece of the night Alex had ended not only their relationship, but their friendship, too.

After a while, Alex opened the small rucksack he’d brought with him and pulled out an electronic recorder, a notepad and pen.

“Do you mind if I record our conversation?”

“Go for it.”

Alex touched his finger to the on button, but didn’t press it. His mouth quivered, as though he wanted to say something, but either couldn’t find the words or the courage. An urge to bundle him up into his arms struck Reece, and it was all he could do not to stand up and do exactly that. He had no right to embrace Alex, and doubted the guy would appreciate it if he did.

“Are you going to ask me questions, or what?” he asked instead, painfully aware of the gruffness in his voice.

“I’m sorry for surprising you,” Alex said at last.

Reece stiffened. What he’d really wanted to hear was an apology for the way Alex had treated him four years ago, but obviously that was far too much to ask. “Just get on with it,” he growled.

Alex glanced around the room. “This place hasn’t changed.”

“It’s had a lick of paint.”

Alex nodded. “There’s some new equipment in the gym.”

“It’s been four years, Alex, the equipment needed updating.”

Alex’s jaw flexed.

“I’m really not interested in small talk,” Reece said. “You made it quite clear four years ago that you wanted nothing more to do with me, so stop sitting there pretending to be nice.”

“I—” Alex clamped his mouth shut and looked at the floor. He grasped the pen and began to tap it against the closed notepad, the fast sound was incessant and loud in the empty room. With his other hand, he turned the recorder on and pushed it across the table, closer to Reece, before flipping the pad open. “How did it feel to be selected to compete in the World Championships?”

Reece narrowed his eyes. He’d heard that frosty, not-quite-neutral tone before and it made his skin crawl. “Like a dream come true,” he muttered. “But it’s just one step towards my real goal.”

For the first time, Alex lifted his gaze to meet Reece’s stare. “Your real goal?” he echoed.

Reece resisted the temptation to snap out a sarcastic comment about how Alex must have known what that was. “The Olympics.”

About the Author

Colette’s personal love story began at university, where she met her future husband. An evening of flirting, in the shadow of Lancaster castle, eventually led to a fairytale wedding.

She’s enjoying her own ‘happy ever after’ in the north of England with her husband, two beautiful children and her writing.

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Cover Reveal: Cat Escort by Melissa E. Costa

Cat Escort | Melissa E. Costa

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Release Date: 06.02.20

Cover Design: Megan Lawson

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Blurb

A night of passion with a Cat Shifter escort becomes everything for a man with poor self-esteem.

To mend his broken heart, Seth purchases a date with a Cat Shifter Escort. The sex was so amazing, it let him forget his pain. Seth never expected to see him again.

Nao couldn’t forget the client who’d cried in his arms, so destroyed from love gone wrong. He wanted nothing more than to help the beautiful, broken man.

Their night was supposed to be a one time thing, but six months later, everything changed when they met again.

Excerpt

Seth arrived at Nao’s high-rise and punched in the gate code. Nao should be home by 9:00 p.m. He normally didn’t run late, but Nao didn’t like the idea of Seth waiting outside for him, so he had given Seth the gate combo and a key to his place. Seth had already been over to Nao’s apartment several times, and this wasn’t the first time he had let himself in. He couldn’t believe Nao had given him a key. Did that make him special?

Nao never brought any clients home. Not one. He was still Nick to them. Seth had tried his best to stay away from that part of Nao’s life, but he couldn’t deny how jealous he got. He didn’t want anyone touching Nao.

The door flung open, and Nao dragged himself in. He sighed heavily and dropped his black purse onto the floor. Leaning against the wall, he tried to catch his breath. His sleeveless black dress made it just past his groin and clung tightly to his slender form. A slit down the front revealed his chest to his navel. Despite looking feminine, it looked amazing on him, like an incubus of the night. He stepped out of one black high-heel shoe before shaking the other one off, too.

Nao’s shoulders shook as he let out a sob. He sank down to the floor, and cried his heart out, his high-pitched mews sounded like a kitten.

“Oh shit, what happened?” Seth rushed to his side.

Nao’s eyes flew open. They pooled with water like a raging black sea. Golden flecks, caused by the hallway light, flickered within them. “Sorry, I forgot you were coming over tonight.”

“Yeah…you lent me a key, remember?”

“Gave it to you.” Nao wiped his eyes with the back of his arm.

“What happened?” This close, Nao smelled different. A strong aftershave marred his floral-lemon scent that Seth loved so much. This was another person’s smell—the client Nao had just slept with, the one who’d hurt him. Seth’s blood boiled. Anger coursed through him, and he wanted to find the asshole and skin him alive. How dare someone hurt Nao? All Seth could think about was the bitter scent on Nao that infected him like a virus.

Nao shook his head and got to his feet. “It’s not important.”

Over the time they’d known each other, while Nao was very open about a lot of things, he never complained about his problems or showed any fatigue. “Why do you do this?” Seth reached out and put a hand on Nao’s shoulder. “You don’t have to handle everything by yourself.”

Nao brushed him off again, but he wasn’t rude, his laugh brisk, and his steps more so. “Just a bad day, that’s all. Sometimes things are so good that I forget about the shitty side.”

“Side of what?”

“Humans.” Nao smiled. A few tears slid down his cheeks.

Seth’s temper rose by the second. “What did he do to you?”

“Nothing super terrible, really. Some days I’m more sensitive than others.”

“I still wanna go and kill ‘em.” The scent on Nao only served to fuel Seth’s anger. He never wanted to punch someone more in his life than he did at this moment.

Nao smiled. “‘Course you do.” Finally, he dropped his façade of strength and sank down on his couch. “It’s days like this that I have to remind myself of all of their good sides, else I’ll wanna run back to the cattery.”

“Gonna tell me what happened?” Seth sat down by Nao’s side.

Nao shook his head. “Honestly, I’d rather not even talk about it at this point. Which is a stupid thing to do ‘cause it’s gonna make you think I was raped or something terrible, and in the scope of things, it wasn’t.”

Seth flinched at the word rape.

“I wasn’t.” Nao rolled up the dress until he could slip out of it, then sent it flying somewhere on the impeccably clean floor. His messy behavior must’ve meant his day was more stressful than he let on. It was another example of Nao wanting to hide his vulnerabilities.

Seth swallowed at the sight of Nao’s bare chest—firm muscles over smooth, soft skin. His hip bones were defined, and his abs were shaped perfectly. It was like staring at a masterpiece.

Nao’s dark eyes found his. “Sometimes it gets painful, that’s all.”

“Painful? Did he make you do something you didn’t want to?”

Nao shook his head. “Then I’d be much worse than I am now. Just forget it. I’ll tell you when I’m not so tired. Speaking of which, can I borrow your lap?”

“Huh?”

“Lap. I’m exhausted.” Nao lay down on the couch, and Seth had a perfect view of his shapely ass, covered by silky black panties that rode up his cheeks like a bikini bottom.

Seth’s face heated up. “Um, yeah. Sure.”

Nao smiled gently. Sniffling, he put his head in Seth’s lap.

Even Nao’s hair smelled like that asshole. Seth tried to breathe through his anger and jealousy. Nao needed him. He couldn’t give in to these feelings. Slowly, he petted his hair.

“Hmmm, that feels good. I might…” Nao nuzzled into Seth’s thigh. “Do you mind?”

At Nao’s gentle words, Seth’s anger dissipated. He didn’t know what Nao was asking, but he wasn’t about to tell him no. He shook his head.

Nao’s transformation started slowly. His ears became cat ears, and he spouted a tail. Then fur covered his body so fast that Seth didn’t make out the change from human to cat. Next thing he knew, Nao’s panties pooled on the couch, empty. Nao, the black kitty, climbed into his lap and nuzzled his knee before he curled up and fell asleep.

Seth sat perfectly still, shocked, and a tad scared—mostly awed by Nao’s trust in him. The world treated werecats with suspicion or hostility. As such, they didn’t revert to cat form much. Nao said it left them too vulnerable. Did that mean Nao felt comfortable around him? He had a key to Nao’s place. Wasn’t that enough to quell Seth’s uncertainty?

Gingerly, he stroked Nao’s back, petting the soft fur. Then he rubbed behind Nao’s ears.

It started out low, but soon Nao was purring.

He loved Nao. He wanted to free Nao from this life. To forever protect him. To never allow a customer to hurt him again.

This was the first time he’d seen Nao cry. What had that asshole done to him? If it wasn’t so bad, as Nao claimed, why did he breakdown the moment he got home?

Seth curled his lip and balled his fist not petting Nao. Most likely, that client wouldn’t suffer any consequences for his actions. Nao couldn’t go to the cops. Never thought I’d think this, but if prostitution was legal, Nao could at least seek help.

Werecats can’t actually go to the cops. Nao had said that. If that was true, then did they have any justice? That’s right. Panthers. Nao could go to Papa to report this client. Then the man would get some punishment. Of course, with the way Nao underplayed the incident, most likely, he wouldn’t say anything.

And yet, regardless that he had hurt Nao, that client still got to have sex with him. That last thought struck Seth hard.

Other than once, when he’d been drugged, Nao never tried a move on him. Even that kiss on the beach had been initiated by Seth, not Nao. Maybe that wasn’t Nao’s end goal? That was saddening. Nao would sleep with strangers, but he wouldn’t sleep with him.

Was it because he wasn’t paying? Having Nao as a friend should’ve been combatting Seth’s self-defeating thoughts about the world not liking him, and never feeling wanted. It did some of the time, but not right now. Were they not having sex because Seth wasn’t paying, or was Nao simply not attracted to him? Neither of those helped his self-esteem. Their one night together must’ve been all an act for money, because they had so many chances to have sex, and yet Nao never took them.

Not like Seth took them either. But when he had on the beach, Nao had reciprocated…

Still, he didn’t want to encroach upon Nao’s space. Everyone else did, and Seth wanted to be better than that. He also wanted to devour Nao’s lips with deep kisses, and explore the caverns of his mouth. They had kissed on the beach. What had that meant? If their ice-creams hadn’t been a problem, would they have taken it to another level? Nao had kissed back. Maybe he did desire him? And not just when he was drunk.

He should probably talk to Nao about their kiss, but he was afraid. What if Nao flat out turned him down? Or worst yet, what if Nao only kissed him out of pity?

Seth felt so confused, and his mind wasn’t helping at all. Instead, Nao’s heat had him remembering their night together when he’d been a client. The soft feel of Nao’s insides. The way he moaned when Seth had entered him. How Nao had completely surrendered and took perfect control. Seth had never felt more alive. Nao awoke his senses. Fucked his brains out, for lack of a cruder expression, but as with everything involving his beautiful friend, Nao was complicated. Perfect and complicated.

If not for Nao’s cat form, Seth would have lost the battle and kissed him.

About The Author

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Melissa writes character-driven fiction, and any genre is fair game! When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading, anime, manga and gaming. Living by the motto of trying all things twice, Melissa has jumped out of a perfectly good plane, swam with manatees, dove head first into Alice’s rabbit hole, and seduced classy ladies in 6-inch heels.

A free-spirited bohemian, she currently lives in artsy St. Petersburg, Florida with her soulmate and their two, adorably needy cats.

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FB Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/MelissaCostaAuthor/

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