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Release Blitz: Textual Connections by Becca Jackson

Textual Connections | Becca Jackson

Love in No Man’s Land Series #1

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Release Date: January 16th, 2023

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Blurb

Mal

I thought I was good with my life in No Man’s Land. Truth be told, I was, until I messaged Bear.

What started as an online debate about coffee vs wine, has become something so much more, it doesn’t even matter that I don’t know his real name and have never seen his face. My daughter doesn’t agree.

She wants me to find someone “real” before she leaves for college, so when the neighbor’s hot brother rolls into town, she’s less than subtle about my single status.

Bobby is a free spirit, man in every town, according to his sister, but that’s not really him. He’s fun, adventurous, kind, and he’s a fantastic flirt, so when the similarities between Bear and Bobby start to align I can hardly believe my luck.

Can my online crush really be the guy next door?

Bear

I never wanted to come back to Nomanland, traveling the world is everything to me, but the money has almost run out and I’m in desperate need of a sponsor that doesn’t make me cringe.

My sister thinks I’m crazy for not wanting to settle down, and when I told her about chatting online with Mal she basically gave me the whole catfish creeper tv-special warning and begged me not to try to meet him for real.

Not that Mal would want to come to Nomanland. I can’t see what this small town has to offer anyone, that is until Michael takes it upon himself to show me the beauty of this town I’d chosen to forget.

Michael owns the local café, he’s a fan of puns, is an amazing dad and loves travel, though he’s never actually been anywhere… just like Mal.

I tell myself I must be crazy, because if Michael really is Mal, how long has he known? Was Meg right? Did I come back to Nomanland just to get my heart broken, or could Mal really be the happy beginning I never knew I needed?

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Excerpt

Sneak Peek – Chapter One:

Mal

And that’s why you never take directions from a man wearing a coconut on his head.

– Unfiltered Earth.

I stare at the screen, but no matter how many times I read his latest post I have no idea what to comment. I open another tab, do a quick search for coffee puns, and find one that doesn’t completely suck.

Now, do I post it publicly, or in a private message? The first time I messaged Bear, I’d thought I was sending a private message. Little did I know, my long rant about how coffee is better than wine was posted publicly under an image he posted of a wine glass.

Ooops?

It gained a lot of comments back from other followers, and luckily, he thought it was hilarious, shooting me a private message afterward to thank me for the boost in engagement.

I still don’t understand how there can be so many social media platforms. I’ve only just wrapped my head around Facebook and Instagram and now Jess is Tweeting and Tiktoking and Discording. I shudder thinking about it. It’s not that I can’t use technology, I’m only in my forties, it’s that I’m not really interested in it. I don’t want a million ways to share everything about myself with the world, and I don’t see the need to replace my phone just because a new shinier version is available when the old one works just fine. Or works well enough for phone calls, at least, which is what a phone is for right?

Jess barrels down the stairs, rounds the banister in a leap, and lands beside me. “Hey, Dad. What are you still doing up?”

Do I tell her instead of doing the books for the café, I’d spent the last half hour on my laptop rereading the latest Instagram post from the man I’m crushing on? Really, I spent most of that time trying to figure out what to comment back.

“Did Unfiltered Earth post again? It’s been a week, right? That’s forever for him. Is he okay?” She leans over my shoulder to check out the post for herself.

“He was given bad directions to a local waterfall and spent three days lost in the jungle before an old woman and her goat found him.”

“Oh my god, you can’t make this stuff up it’s that good. Did he get to see the waterfall?”

“Really, Jess?”

“What? You would think after three days he would have at least found it himself on accident. So, did he?”

I scroll up to the top of the post to a photo of Bear’s hand holding a makeshift leaf cup, toasting a brilliant waterfall. This is one of the reasons I love using my laptop for anything internet, Bear’s images are amazing on the larger screen. It totally has nothing to do with the images on my phone only loading twenty percent of the time.

“See? Told you,” she says then heads for the kitchen.

I quickly click the account name then hit the message button and send Every latte thing is going to bean all right.

I should close the computer and head to bed. I have to be up at six to roast coffee beans before the café opens at eight, but I can’t pull myself away from the messages. It never takes Bear long to reply. Not anymore. And a few minutes later the three little dots appear. I hold my breath. It’s crazy. If someone had told me a year ago that I would be staying up late, hoping to read a message from an almost stranger who I’d never even seen, I would have made them a double shot and told them to wake themselves up.

But here I am. Three blinking little dots holding my complete attention. Bear isn’t even his real name. I don’t know his real name. It isn’t on his Instagram anywhere and a few Google searches resulted in nothing either.

Having only ever seen his beefy arms in his photos, and his posts about his adventures and survival, I made a joke about him being the unfiltered Bear Grylls and he changed his handle to it in our private chat a few days later.

BEAR: Did you like the cup? I think I did okay, given the fact I’d slept out in the open for three nights and the third was next to that waterfall. Fun story—I’d pulled a stack of large leaves off a tree to lay on so I could sleep close to the falls because the ground there is mostly rock. Little did I know the leaves attracted some small variety of sugar ants and I woke up covered in the tiny fucks. They didn’t bite, but those things got into some interesting places.

A laugh escapes me and I cover my mouth, imagining the places he means and wishing his photos showed more than his right hand. A few months back, his whole right arm made it into the shot. The slightest peek of a blurred tattoo on his shoulder did too. It was the most I’d seen of him, and I’ll tell you, seeing his entire toned arm stretched out over a canyon, a glass of red wine in his hand, was way hotter than I would have ever thought it could be. From what I can tell, he isn’t body builder huge, but the vein that popped from his bicep made me want to see more.

I lean back in my chair and glance toward where Jess disappeared into the kitchen. It isn’t that I’m hiding my chats with Bear; Jess is the one who showed me how to private message instead of posting on the feed or whatever it’s called. But our chats at some point have become more… personal. He knows more about me than most of my friends. Like how I’m freaking out completely about Jess going off to college at the end of the year. She couldn’t know that. She’d try to make it better—or worse—she’d stay.

I quickly type my reply.

MAL: I thought the leaf cup was particularly inspired. Maybe I should start calling you MacGyver? How did you get rid of the ants?

BEAR: Ha. Please. I got more skills than Dick. Waterfalls are colder than you’d think. You see all these movies of lovers going at it under a waterfall and think, that would be hot as fuck, but not this waterfall. I swear there must be a glacier on top of this thing chilling the water to just above freezing. My cock and balls never retreated so fast in my life. I won’t go into details about how I coaxed them back out.

I choke back my laugh. How do I respond to that?

I turned off my activity status so he can’t know I’m still active in the chat, but he will know I’ve seen his message. Hopefully, he just thinks I’ve gone to bed. I should be in bed. But now all I can think about is the cold water dripping off his muscled arms, and him trying to warm himself back up. There are plenty of non-sexual ways he could be referring to, but my mind isn’t going there. My mind wants to wander to the ways he coaxes his balls back out.

I should really go to bed.

The microwave dings and I close the lid of the computer just as Jess appears with two mugs of hot chocolate.

“Don’t stay up chatting all night with your friends, you’ve got a busy day tomorrow,” she jokes, placing a mug down on the coffee table in front of me before kissing my head and heading back to her room.

Oh, how the tables have turned.

I grab the mug and the computer and do the same, hoping by the time I get to my room I’ll know what the heck to reply with. I decide to keep it simple.

MAL: Sounds like my average Friday night here in No Man’s Land. I swear it’s been a year since my last date.

What I call No Man’s Land, is actually Normanland, a tiny town west of Knox County. Seventeen years ago, it seemed like a nice, quiet place to raise Jess. Over the years it’s grown into a thriving tourist spot perfect for romantic escapes and destination weddings. I’m not complaining. The tourist trade is what saved my beans all those years ago. When the craft shop closed beside the small bakery cafe I half own, my business partner and I bought it for a steal, opened up the wall, and bam. Bigger footprint, bigger business, bigger bank.

BEAR: It’s been a while for me too, and not just because I’ve been lost in a jungle. Where are the hot, half-naked men those tribal documentaries promised?

MAL: No idea, but if you find them, send them to No Man’s Land. I’ll show them a real friendly welcome.

BEAR: How friendly are we talking?

MAL: It’s been a reeeeeally long time.

BEAR: So where is this No Man’s Land you speak of? I might make a detour and see this really friendly welcome for myself.

I sit up, almost spilling my hot chocolate over the keypad. Is he serious? We’ve joked before about meeting up or chatting for real, but not for this. The image of his muscled arms wrapping around me and his rough hands trailing from my chest down to my cock has my dick twitching.

MAL: One day I’ll tell you where I live and then you’ll have no excuse not to visit.

I follow up with a quick second message ending with my usual coffee pun meaning chat later.

MAL: I’m off to bed, chai latte.

Then I close the browser and head to the shower to relieve the ache in my balls.

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About the Author

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Becca Jackson is the author of mm romance stories that deliver heart, heat, and happily ever afters for some totally adorkable and fabulous guys.

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To celebrate the debut release of Textual Connections, Becca is giving away a hardcover special edition cover of the release.

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Release Blitz: Two Truths and a Lyle by DJ Jamison

Two Truths and a Lyle | DJ Jamison

Games We Play Prequel

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Release Date: January 26th, 2023

Heat Rating: 3 flames

Length: approx 31,500 words 

Available in Kindle Unlimited

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Blurb

Two Truths and a…wait, what?!

What happens when drunken idiots, aka your friends, use a silly drinking game to sideswipe you and your BFF with the truth bomb that you’re actually in love with each other?

Truman: You impulsively kiss the best friend you’ve been in love with for ages…then wake up with a hangover—and regrets.

Lyle: You freak out because you’re not gay or bi, before realizing the kiss wasn’t *actually* bad. Then you begin to wonder…should we do it again?

Two Truths and a Lyle is a cute, low-angst M/M romance with two oblivious best friends who are perfect for one another, a town full of quirky residents who get in everyone’s business, and a sweet sexual awakening.

This novella was previously published as part of a promotion, but some new content has been added.

Lyle Teaser 2

Excerpt

“Okay, the game is Two Truths and a Lie,” Kevin announced. “Who’s first?”

Calista and Darren put their heads together, conferring quietly. Then Darren straightened, gesturing to Calista. “Ladies first.”

“I’ve never been accused of being a lady before,” Calista said to a round of laughter. She was gorgeous, with curly hair that was a little wild and curves that attracted her a steady number of boyfriends. But she was also one of the crudest people I’d met, always down for a dirty joke or reckless adventure. “But sure, I’ll go first. Okay…two truths and a lie. Hmm. Oh, I’ve got it! Here goes: I’m a Scorpio. I once wrecked my dad’s car. And my two best friends are in love with each other.”

“You’re not a Scorpio,” Tru said.

“Wait, aren’t all the truths supposed to be about yourself?” I asked.

At the same time, Evan said, “I thought I was your best friend. I’m not in love with anyone!”

And that’s when it hit me.

She was talking about me and Tru.

“Drink up, Calista!” Kevin called. “They busted you on the lie. You’re not a Scorpio.”

I noticed no one was suggesting she told more than one lie. Or calling her on the fact she’d told a supposed “truth” that wasn’t her own.

“I’ll go next,” Darren announced gleefully.

My gut clenched. Somehow, I knew what was coming. I glanced around the group playing the game, all ranging in age from about eighteen to twenty-two, all long-time acquaintances or friends. Was this some type of organized effort? Evan hadn’t seemed to know it was going down. So maybe it was just Calista and Darren. But that was still too much.

“Maybe we should head out,” I said to Tru.

“Why? We haven’t even played yet.”

Before I could answer, Darren was announcing his truths and a lie. “I’m a Scorpio. I’m a virgin. And my roommate and his best friend totally need to bone because they are in luuuurrrve.”

There were shouts of laughter, and Calista smirked. “I know you’re not a virgin.”

Hold up now. Calista and Darren? Surely not. At the ooohs and ahhs they started to get, Calista flipped off the room. “Dude, he’s a slut. I don’t need to screw him to know.”

I dragged a hand down my face.

“Wait, hold on,” Tru said. “Ly is your roommate.”

Darren smirked. “Yep.”

“And…his best friend is…?”

Darren raised his brows. “Don’t you already know the answer to that?”

Tru frowned, glancing between me and Darren. “I thought I did. Now, I’m just confused.”

“Join the club,” I muttered, though I suspected we were confused about different things. My stomach was squirming with discomfort as half the eyes in the room fixed on Tru and me. Fucking Darren. I knew he was behind this. I didn’t know why, but I’d find out.

Part of me wanted to jump up and tell him to knock it off. The other half wanted to sink into the sofa and disappear rather than draw more attention to myself.

“Ah, I think I get this game now,” Evan said. “Can I go next?”

Sweet Evan. Sweet, naïve Evan. I sighed with relief. Finally, the game would move on, and everyone would forget Darren and Calista’s entirely deluded suggestions that Tru and I were anything but good friends.

Hell, I wasn’t even gay. Or bi. So how could I be in love with my male best friend? I barely dated women, much less men. I was too busy working my ass off, trying to prove myself at the construction company Truman’s dad had built from the ground up while my dad did his best to drink himself into an early grave.

I’d always thought Truman would be right there by my side on the crew, making the back-breaking labor more fun. He had a way of turning everything in life into a big laugh. I hadn’t even realized how much he made me smile until he was gone and every day was just one dreary slog after another.

“Two truths and a lie,” Evan said. “Okay. I’m creating my own app.”

That was undoubtedly true. Evan was a classic tech geek, and at eighteen, he already did freelance work for a handful of companies. He didn’t need a degree, evidently, because he’d taught himself everything he needed to know in his spare time.

Evan continued, “I’m dating a girl.”

There was an immediate snort of laughter. Evan had been out as a gay boy for years.

“And…” He glanced guiltily in my direction. Oh no. Not him too. “Lyle and Truman are totally couples goals. If they could only see it for themselves.”

“Et tu, Evan,” I said.

Beside me, Truman gasped. “Evan, you’re dating a girl?”

Evan looked floored. “What? No?”

“The game is two truths and a lie,” Tru said. “If you’re not dating a girl, you told two lies.”

Evan shook his head. “Sorry, guys. But I’m still gay.”

“Well, I’m not,” I said shortly, standing and dragging Truman up by the arm. “I think it’s time to call it a night.”

Lyle Teaser 3

About the Author

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DJ Jamison writes romances about everyday life and extraordinary love featuring a variety of queer characters, from gay to bisexual to asexual.

DJ grew up in the Midwest in a working-class family, and those influences can be found in her writing through characters coping with real-life problems: money troubles, workplace drama, family conflicts and, of course, falling in love. DJ spent more than a decade in the newspaper industry before chasing her first dream to write fiction.

She spent a lifetime reading before that and continues to avidly devour her fellow authors’ books each night. She lives in Kansas with her husband, two sons, one snake, and a sadistic cat named Birdie.

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Audio Release Blitz: The Humbug Holiday by Lane Hayes

The Humbug Holiday | Lane Hayes

Narrated by Michael Dean

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Release Date: December 12th, 2022

Narrator: Michael Dean

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 03 Hours 50 Minutes

Universal Link: mybook.to/The-Humbug-Holiday

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Blurb

Two grumpy bears and a holiday season neither will forget…

Joe

So this sexy silver fox rolls into my small New England town and buys a run-down old house in need of renovation. That’s where I come in. My job is to do some basic repairs, so he can write in peace. Yep, the hotshot is a bestselling author, but that’s not why I recognize Cameron Warren.

No worries, I won’t let a one-night stand make things awkward. I could use the work, but is he seriously asking me to help him buy a Christmas tree too?

No way.

Cameron

I’m a good-natured guy all year long, but I have to admit…I hate the holidays.

There. I said it.

This season, I’m hiding away on the opposite side of the country in a picturesque village. My family isn’t excited about my decision, and the only way to assure them I’m fine is to deck the darn halls. Or hire someone else to do it.

The handyman might not be the logical choice for an elf, but his grumpy act makes me smile. Which makes me think the holidays might not be so “bah-humbug” this year after all.

The Humbug Holiday is a bisexual, age-gap romance featuring two grumpy bears who find unexpected magic and learn to embrace everyone’s favorite time of year!

THH Teaser 1

Excerpt

“No, thanks.”

Cam narrowed his gaze. “What do you mean ‘no, thanks’?”

I set the strand of fairy lights on a green plastic bin and scowled. “Do I really look like fuckin’ Santa Claus?”

“No, but—”

“My holiday cheer begins and ends at my mom’s bingo deal. That’s it. I don’t own twenty boxes filled with useless knickknacks. I don’t put up a tree or hang lights or…any of that shit for myself. Why would I do it for you?”

“Money. I’ll pay you handsomely to deck the damn halls and take a few photos. That’s in addition to the handyman stuff.” He named an even more outlandish sum than the one he’d proposed two days ago.

I whistled as I crossed my arms. “You do realize that’s insane, right?”

He shrugged. “A little. Look, I need a few Christmassy photos for my aunts.”

“Why?”

“Because…well…it’s a family thing,” he hedged, narrowing his eyes as he cast a wary glance over the array of boxes still littering the entry hall. “And as you can see, it’s complicated.”

I peeked at Tony’s roofing truck through the lacy curtains. “I’m a carpenter or a general handyman. I can’t, in good conscience, take money for something like putting up a tree. I mean…it would be one thing if you couldn’t physically do it yourself, but you seem perfectly capable of putting up a few decorations.”

“Physically yes, mentally…no.”

I stared at him for as long as I could manage without blinking, then let out a heavy sigh. “Is there an artificial tree somewhere in those boxes, or are you going to need a real one?”

“I have no idea. I haven’t looked and I don’t want to. I want to hire you to do all of that for me. Put it up and take it all down…within forty-eight hours. It’s Tuesday. If you get a tree today, it can be gone by Thursday, and then you can concentrate on the rest of the house stuff.”

“Your priorities are kinda whack.” I snorted. “Christmas is in three weeks. Don’t you FaceTime with your family?”

“Yeah. Why?”

“They’re gonna notice the lack of cheer on the big day.”

Cameron frowned. “Oh. That’s true.”

“Look, I should probably get out there and deal with Tony,” I said, stepping toward the door. “I’m not opposed to taking your money, but I’m no designer and I don’t like the holidays any more than you do. I’ll ask in town. Janie Calhoun owns the Christmas store on First Street and she does some staging for a couple of home boutiques in the area. If you want this done right, she’s a better bet than me.”

“No, thanks. I’ve had my fill of designers.” He waved impatiently and stalked over to the bins. “How about this? Let’s buy a tree, put some lights on it, and throw on a few ornaments. Then we’ll toss the whole thing in the trash before noon on the twenty-fifth and be done with it.”

“And what about all that stuff?” I inclined my head meaningfully at the holiday shit he had yet to unpack.

“Leave the box with ornaments, and put the rest in the basement. Out of sight, out of mind. Or better yet, throw it all away.”

“Wow. You are Scrooge.”

Cameron smirked unapologetically. “I told you so. My youngest cousin is having a baby any minute now, so with any luck, my aunts will forget about me for a while. Just knowing there’s a tree up will make them happy, and that’s what matters. So…what do you think?”

I fixed him with a long, hard stare.

“I think you’re up to something.”

He widened his eyes in surprise. “Such as?”

“I dunno. People who don’t like the holidays wouldn’t go through the hassle of hiring someone unqualified to do their dirty work, even if money were no object. It would be much easier to hole up in your office and hibernate for the rest of December. What do you really want?”

“Huh?”

“Is this about sex?”

“Sex,” he repeated with a huff. “Don’t get me wrong, I’m not opposed to a repeat, but I’m not in the habit of paying for a good time.”

Christ, all he had to say was “repeat” and I popped a boner.

Lane Hayes

About the Author

Lane Hayes loves a good romance! An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions, and were winners in the 2016, 2017, 2018-2019, 2020-2021 Rainbow Awards.

She loves wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in a newly empty nest.

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