Tag Archives: thriller

A masterclass in tension wrapped in a historical romance package

Master-Wolf-KindleMaster Wolf by Joanna Chambers

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’m missing the words I need to do justice to this book so I shall try tomorrow when I’m at the laptop.

***

I’m still not sure I’ve got the words to explain just how this book blew me away and took me on a rollercoaster of a journey from abject despair through complete sorrow and out into unbridled joy.

It’s been a while coming but it was so worth the wait because Joanna Chambers has taken the complex paranormal historic world she created in Gentleman Wolf and built on it to add so many more layers of beautiful writing.

My feelings were at war almost as much as Drew Nicol’s were as he continued to fight the wolf inside him, created by his former lover Lindsay Somerville in order to save his life some 30! years earlier as this book begins.

I raged at Joanna probably as much as I watched as Drew fought his feelings, the bond which was so blindingly obviously love to me as the reader, but which he couldn’t seem to recognise in his own heart until it was almost too late.

The same malevolent air hangs over the whole narrative as in book one, secret societies, captive wolves and deadly enemies drawing ever closer to the Edinburgh streets where Lindsay now lives.

I loved where Joanna took this book, even as tears welled up in my eyes and I mourned. I appreciate the bold choices she made and the decision the story took to go down this path and, while I was gutted at the outcome, for me it was a masterstroke in plot twist to reach that end.

Brilliant storytelling with an interweaving of mystery, suspense, thriller and historical fiction, all wrapped up with an unconventional love story which ultimately left me very satisfied.

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

View all my reviews

Series Refresh: Shatterproof Bond by Isobel Starling

Shatterproof Bond | Isobel Starling

Publisher: Decent Fellows Press

Release date: Already released in print, ebook, and audiobook

Length (Print & Ebook/Audio):

Book 1: As You Wish, 45k words | 4 hours audio

Book 2: Illuminate the Shadows 55k words | 5 hours audio

Book 3: Return to Zero 70k words | 7 hours audio

Book 4: Counterblow 48k words | 4.5 hours audio

Book 5: Powder Burns 103k words | 10 hours audio

Buy Links:

As You Wish: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B012T8J92U

Illuminate the Shadows: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01ELOXC

Return to Zero: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01FHYJWTS

Counterblow: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072LP9Y9N

Powder Burns https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07XP9PMR7

Blurbs

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As You Wish

WINNER OF THE 2018 AUDIOBOOK REVIEWER AWARD FOR ROMANCE

1 wedding, 2 best men, one hell of a love story!

Declan Ramsay was set to be the best man at his brother’s wedding in Scotland, sharing best man duties with the bride’s gay kid brother Sam. Sam was abroad finishing his studies so the best men communicated by email for more than a year and wouldn’t meet for the first time until a few days before the wedding.

But on meeting Sam Aiken, Declan is surprised to see he isn’t a kid at all, but a striking, athletic blond man with gorgeous green eyes and a wicked sense of humor. Declan is alarmed by the ferocious attraction he feels for Sam. And as the attraction is reciprocated, the events at Dunloch Castle change everything Declan has ever believed about himself.

But is Sam Aiken all he appears to be?

Also available in paperback and as an award-winning audiobook, narrated by Gary Furlong.

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Illuminate the Shadows

A Scotsman and an Englishman fall in love…

After the most amazing week of his life, at Dunloch Castle on the banks of Loch Ness, in Scotland. The charming, mysterious Samuel Aiken has turned Declan Ramsay’s life upside down. Declan has experienced a remarkable change. He has come to terms with the fact he is bisexual, and he has fallen head-over-heels in love with his boss’s son Sam.
However, falling for his boss’s son was never going to be an easy path to happiness, mainly because the boss in question is multi-millionaire property tycoon and former MI5 operative, Sir James Aiken.

Sir James is repulsed by his son’s homosexuality, and so discovering that his employee Declan Ramsay- the man he installed to run his luxury property rental empire- is in a relationship with Sam, does not go down well.

The lovers cannot hide from the looming presence of Sir James Aiken for long! Soon enough James makes his move, and Declan finds out what he will have to endure to stay with Sam, and what he will have to give to feel worthy of Sam’s love.

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Return to Zero

Life takes a darker turn for Sam and Declan…

Pulled into a world of secrets and lies for the man he loves, Declan Ramsay’s life has changed immeasurably in the eight months since meeting and falling for his boss’s son, Sam Aiken. Declan’s journey of personal discovery is about to take a darker turn, and for Sam, the world becomes more treacherous than he could ever have imagined.

Two agents are missing — presumed dead, while on a reconnaissance mission at an outdoor adventure center in the Scottish Highlands. Sir James Aiken sends his son and Declan to follow the trail, and discover the fate of the agents.

As the mission offers his first chance to use the skills he learned on the MI6 training course in Morocco, Declan is keen to get started. However, Sir James sees to it that the seeds of doubt and discord have been sewn between the couple, as they begin their mission.

The journey to their Highland location, and the discoveries they make when they reach the G’wan Adventures center, prove that Sir James Aiken has been less than honest with his son.

Events in the Highlands force Sam and Declan to face their greatest fears and understand what they both really want from life — and from each other.

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Counterblow

True love comes at a cost…

After the devastating events in the Scottish Highlands, Sam and Declan have moved on to a new, deeper level in their romance. Their commitment to each other is unquestionable; however, there are plenty of questions that need answering about other aspects of their lives, and those who sought to end them.

Sam is trying his best to deal with the day to day frustrations of his injuries. He’s completely dependent on Declan for everything and hates the way the scales have tipped in their relationship. Although he’s officially on leave, Sam’s mind cannot stop replaying all that happened to him and questioning why, and who is behind it all.

Declan’s relief at having Sam home throws him into house-husband mode. He’s happy to take the reins and care for his partner, however, beneath the surface Declan cannot help but be drawn back to how he felt in the Highlands, and how they were betrayed by a man who was supposed to have their back.

Declan had promised Sir James Aiken that he would pay if he hurt Sam, and now Declan has to decide how he can deliver his payback and put his and Sam’s world back on an even keel.

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Powder Burns

One book, Two Missions, and a memory-key full of secrets!

After a series of terrorist attacks on fracking sites owned by a Gas multinational named Drilsink, Sir James Aiken’s agency is bought in to find the radical Eco-terrorist group responsible. He sends Sam and Declan to work undercover at Imperial College where Intel suggests the group is recruiting.

While Sam works behind the scenes, Declan takes on the identity of Geologist Dr. Tobias Hunter and soon makes an enemy of a fellow science geek- a man who Declan comes to despise more than Sir James Aiken!

When the operation moves from London to Munich and then Vienna, Sam, and Declan are thrown headlong into a spy scenario straight out of the thriller novels they love to read—but with a distinct and disturbing sexual twist! Sam meets an old friend and uncovers shocking information about James’ past.

With Erik Madsson still imprisoned inside the A.L.L. HQ, James comes to realize that he should have listened to his son. Keeping the enemy inside his own home is about to be the biggest mistake he has ever made.

Excerpt

As You Wish

Shatterproof Bond #1

“Flight B-A-one-four-three-two to Edinburgh will be boarding from Gate A twenty-six.”

Sam Aiken paused and glanced up at the yellow airport signage directing that the walk to Gates A1-A26 would take ten minutes. “Shit,” he muttered under his breath. Sam’s flight to Edinburgh was also due to take off in ten bloody minutes. He shouldered his heavy rucksack and sprinted through Terminal Two at London’s Heathrow Airport, ducking and diving around fellow travelers.

It was partly Sam’s fault that he had been delayed. Initially, it was by choosing the wrong queue and getting stuck in the security check line for twenty minutes. And then, by attempting a conversation with a security guard and being given a thorough groping in response. If he hadn’t been so stressed, Sam might actually have enjoyed the attention.
Sam Aiken was over six feet tall and wore his sandy-blond hair to his shoulders. His boyish face, tanned by the Saudi Arabian desert winds, had sprouted a monstrous attempt at a beard. It looked ridiculous. It couldn’t even be called a beard, more scrub than forest! Sam had spent the past year in the Middle East, where the beard is the symbol of manhood and honor, so he’d grown it to try and fit in. It worked there, but back in the UK, it just made him look a bit grubby. Sam was dressed in knee-length khaki shorts and an over-washed, cranberry-red T-shirt. His appearance was that of your average backpacker, so why security had singled him out for the extra attention, Sam didn’t know. Maybe he should know better than to try and crack jokes with security officials, especially when they had his balls in their hands.

“Nice wand! Watch where you’re sticking that thing, I might like it!” Sam joked nervously in his soft British accent. The very well built, alpha security guard waving the metal detector wand over his body glared at him. Sam arched his brows and grinned, hoping to inspire an illicit smile from the man, but instead, the security guard pulled him aside and got his friend to observe as he gave Sam a thorough feel up. He wished he had kept his mouth shut. That thirty-minute delay left Sam on a knife-edge.

As he ran through the featureless, white airport corridors towards Gate A26, Sam wasn’t sure now whether he would make the flight. His mind raced with the snowball effect of that possible future event. All of his father’s well-made plans would be shot to shit, and he would be the reason— in the dog house and only back in the UK an hour.

Sam turned into a wide, open-plan lounge. Out of nowhere another traveler suddenly appeared, cutting across Sam’s path, dragging a black, wheeled suitcase. Sam couldn’t stop himself from tripping. He fell forwards and then halted in mid-air. The broad masculine hand of the traveler was gripping his bare forearm to prevent the fall. He pulled Sam to right himself. The two men glared at one another.

“Jesus! Watch what you’re doing with that thing!” Sam exclaimed, furious.

“You watch where you’re going, eejit!” the stranger retorted in a posh Edinburgh brogue.

The Scotsman rushed off, dragging his suitcase, and Sam continued to run on to the correct gate, fretting internally about what idiot’s people can be.

When Sam arrived minutes later, he saw a throng of passengers milling around, and on glancing at the info board, he read there was a delay of ten minutes. Sam breathed a deep sigh of relief. He unhooked his rucksack and found a wall to slide down. He searched in the front pocket of his pack, drew out his phone, and made a call.

“Hi, this is Samuel Aiken. I have a one-thirty p.m. pick up from Edinburgh Airport. Well, my flight is delayed by ten minutes. I just wanted to let you know. Great, see you then.”

Sam ended the call and glanced down at his left forearm. He saw the outline of red grip marks. He absently rubbed the imprints left by the Scotsman with the wheeled black case, unable to deny that being touched so roughly had made warmth flood into his gut.

Giveaway

To celebrate the refresh of the Shatterproof Bond Series, Isobel Starling is giving away 2 complete e-sets of the series!

Open internationally, must be 18 years old to win. 

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New Release Blitz: IM by Rick R. Reed

IM | Rick R. Reed

IM Banner

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: February 10, 2020

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: No Romance, Male/Male

Length: 91,600

Buy Links:

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Add to Goodreads

IM-f500

Blurb

One by one, he’s killing them. Lurking in the digital underworld of Men4HookUpNow.com, he lures, seduces, charms, reaching out through instant messages to the unwary. They invite him over. He’s just another trick. Harmless. They’re dead wrong.

When the first bloody body surfaces, openly gay Chicago Police Department detective Ed Comparetto is called in to investigate. Sickened by the butchered mess of one of his brothers left on display in a bathtub, he seeks relief outside where the young man who discovered the body waits to tell him the story of how he found his friend. But who is this witness…and did he play a bigger part in the murder than he’s letting on?

Comparetto is on a journey to discover the truth, a truth that he needs to discover before he loses his career, his boyfriend, his sanity…his life.

Because in this killer’s world, IM doesn’t stand for instant message…it stands for instant murder.

WARNINGS: Graphic depictions of violence and mutilation, murder, pedophilia, scene of underage rape.

Excerpt

IM
Rick R. Reed © 2020
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One
When Tony logged on to the Men4HookUpNow website, he didn’t know this would be the last time he would type in his screen name and password, the last time he would scroll through thumbnail-sized pictures of men in various states of undress, or the last time he would read an instant message.

Tony didn’t know that logging on to Men4HookUpNow.com would be one of the last things he would do.

Ever.

The simple blue-and-white instant message box was a blank canvas, containing only a list of provocative screen names: musclestud, pnpjock, pozpup4u… And any one of these screen names could spring to life by sending Tony an instant message or, as everyone called them, an IM. Anyone could arrive within its simple frame: a college football player, a construction worker, a truck driver, or just a man in tight jeans and engineer boots.

There was a pinging sound, and a message appeared on the screen. Tony leaned forward to see who had come to call.

And whoosh, a real man came through cyberspace, delivered like a gift. The box held only one word, “Hi,” yet Tony felt its author could see through his monitor, see him there in his living room wearing only a pair of boxer shorts, see the porno playing on his TV screen.

“Come on, man,” Tony whispered, fingers poised above the keyboard. “Hi? Can’t you do better than that?” He wanted someone with a bit more personality this languid August night, so he hit the Delete key and banished the guy into limbo, where someone else might take his “Hi” with a little more encouragement. Tony began a scroll through the “Available Now” guys, reading the inane descriptions (“Let this hot, beefy muscle boy serve you. I’m six two, red hair, green eyes, former All-American football player;” “Aggressive bottom looking for well-endowed top men. I’m into just about everything except for scat, and I know how to take orders;” “Looking to party with a hot stud;” “Straight-appearing and acting;” “Negative… UB2”) and stopping if one of the thumbnails caught his eye, especially if the guy had the courage to show his face.

Tony idly stroked himself as the images paraded past. He asked himself why he was bothering with going online. For Christ’s sake, here it was, Saturday night. Couldn’t he throw on some jeans and head down to Halsted Street? At least in a bar, he would know for sure what the guy looked like if they decided to hook up, rather than seeing a cock shot and hoping the guy had a nice face or trusting a face pic a decade old. This way, all he had to work with was exaggeration, living in a world where “stocky” and “football-player build” meant fat, where thirty-eight-year-olds tried to pass as twenty-nine, where any bald guy could lay claim to looking like Bruce Willis, where average meant so hideous you might as well hide under a rock.

The instant message box popped up.

“Hey, what’s up?”

Well, at least better than “Hi.”

Tony keyed in: “Just real horny. Looking to hook up.” If the horny part weren’t so true, Tony wouldn’t have been able to keep himself from laughing. Trying to put a macho façade on his typed words, trying to make himself sound like he had an eighth-grade education made him feel idiotic. A queer Stanley Kowalski.

“Know what you mean, dude.”

So the guy was playing the macho game with him.

“So, man, what do you look like?”

“Twenty-four. Black. Blue. Nice lean muscular build, work out about three or four times a week. Nicely defined pecs. Good tan. Hairy chest. Eight inches cut, real thick. You?”

Tony felt himself transported. It was like the guy got into his head, reading the ingredients for his perfect fantasy man. His dick started to rise with anticipation, and he found his hand moving up and down the length of it, almost of its own accord. He clicked on the guy’s screen name on the instant messenger list, jock4play, and was disappointed to see no pictures in his profile. Still, if the description was accurate… Tony typed in: “Yeah, I’m twenty-eight. I’ve got dark blond hair, green eyes, moustache, goatee. Smooth swimmer’s build. Work out a lot too. Um. Got about seven, cut, shaved balls. Check out my pics.”

“You a top or bottom?” There wasn’t even a pause, so Tony wondered if the guy had bothered to look.

“Pretty open. I like it all. Very versatile. How about you? What are you into?”

“I’m a top, dude. Lookin’ for a good bottom boy.”

“I can do that.”

“Yeah?”

“Sure. Whereabouts are you, man?”

“North Side.”

“Yeah, me too. I’m in Rogers Park, Touhy and Ashland.”

“I’m not too far from you.”

Tony swallowed his common sense as the image of his fantasy man took over. “You wanna come over?”

“You like to party?”

“Yeah.” Tony loved little more than getting high and getting down. “Tina’s here.” Tony eyed the little glass pipe, its bottom crusted with black residue and white powder. His nerves—right along with his libido—were in overdrive.

“Poppers?”

“Got ’em.”

“Hmmm. I could be interested.”

Tony looked briefly at the TV, where a hairy-chested drill sergeant had a lithe blond “private” bent over his desk. He wanted to get things moving, so he typed: “You wanna call me?”

“Sure. Number?”

“My cell is 555-7654. Call me right back. Okay?” Was that too pushy? Many times they never bothered to call. Many times they said they would show up and never did. But once in a while, it all came together.

His cell chirped. He flipped it open. “Hey.”

“What’s goin’ on, dude?”

“God, I just need some dick. You interested in hookin’ up, man?”

“The sooner the better.”

“Got somethin’ to write with?” And Tony got busy, giving precise directions to his apartment.

Precise directions to a stranger.

After he hung up, Tony felt flushed, a deep burning radiating from chest to face. His heart pounded as if he had just done a big hit of poppers. God, the guy sounded incredible! He suddenly knew why he was doing this as opposed to going out to a bar. When the site worked, it worked. There was no bullshit, no game playing. No eye contact for an hour, no fumbling for something to say and then sounding like a dork. When it worked with the site, it was simply two lusting men getting together and pleasuring each other. They didn’t need to say a word. Then why not a bathhouse? Tony asked himself, wandering around the apartment, folding up newspapers and throwing magazines in the wicker basket he stored them in. He remembered Man Universe and the last time he was there. It was okay, he guessed; there wasn’t the usual amount of bullshit. He thought with a grin of the open doors and the guys lying within, naked on their stomachs, the white moons of their asses a focal point, the bottles of lube and poppers on the little tables beside the beds. But the bathhouse lacked one thing the Men4HookUpNow offered: the element of surprise. Having someone show up after making an online connection, there was always that breathless moment when you opened the door to see what you were getting. Even if you had seen photos, it was always a crapshoot. A grab bag. And that’s what made it so exciting. The gamble made the rewards all the sweeter. And, hey, if you lost one time, you just said “Sorry,” closed the door, and got back online.

There was no shortage of hot guys online.

Or at least adequate ones.

Tony glanced at himself as he passed the mirror in his dining room, grateful he had worked out earlier in the day, grateful for the fact that he never had to exaggerate. His blond hair was buzzed, and his muscles had good definition. His lips were slightly pouty, giving his face an aura of innocence defiled… Details in his face combined to form a very pleasing contradiction: sleazy and at the same time babyish, childlike.

Tony never lacked for admirers.

And sometimes he wished he did. He thought of him, the asshole who was always around, the one who, after three dates, couldn’t handle his request to be just friends.

But think of that another time! A party was coming up. And Tony wanted to make sure this party was of the all-night variety.

He headed for the kitchen to take the poppers out of the freezer. He held the little brown glass bottle up to the light and shook it. It was about at the halfway point, certainly enough to see him through the evening.

In the bedroom, he placed a couple of towels on the nightstand, along with a bottle of Wet. At the portable CD player, he put in Delirium—great fuck music—and he made sure the votive candles were adequate enough to burn for the hours he planned on taking with this guy, if he was as good as he sounded.

Tony turned to the mirror once more, running his hand through the blond spikes, making them stand on end. He flexed his biceps and was pleased at the image the mirror threw back.

He reached in his dresser drawer, pulled out his metal cock ring, and slid it over his dick and balls. He strapped a metal band with studs around his right arm “Perfect,” he whispered to his grinning reflection.

Blood pounded in his ears. A line of sweat formed at his hairline and under his arms.

He couldn’t wait.

The buzzer sounded.

Tony walked slowly to the intercom box in the front hallway, not wanting to appear too eager. Desperation was never pretty.

It sounded once more before he placed his hand on the Talk button. “Yeah?”

“It’s your buddy from online.”

Tony pressed the button marked Door and then the one marked Listen so he could hear the guy coming in. He hoped he wouldn’t be disappointed.

It was hard to tell, but the guy’s voice didn’t sound quite as deep as he thought it had when the guy called his cell. Perhaps the intercom was just distorting his voice a bit.

But there was something else. No, it couldn’t be…but the voice had a familiar cast to it. Tony wondered when the day would come when he ran into someone he knew from Men4HookUpNow.

Perhaps the day was today.

But the familiarity of the voice didn’t have pleasant associations.

Imagination. Tony, bud, you’re imagining things.

Anyway, there was no time to think about that now, not with the guy tapping on his door.

Tony peered through the peephole.

And saw nothing.

He didn’t like that. But the guy was probably standing to the left or right of the hole, that’s all. Good sense deserted Tony, usurped by lust.

He opened the door, and the color drained from his face. “What the hell are you doing here?”

RickRReed-524x749

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…”

You can find him at http://www.rickrreedreality.blogspot.com. Rick lives in Palm Springs, CA, with his beloved husband, Bruce, and their fierce Chihuahua/Shiba Inu mix, Kodi.

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IM Now Available

New Release Blitz: The Empires of Luxor City by Sasha Hope

The Empires of Luxor City | Sasha Hope

The Empires of Luxor City Banner

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: February 3, 2020

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 77,400

Buy Links:

NineStar Press | Amazon

Smashwords

Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Add to Goodreads

TheEmpiresofLuxorCity-f500

Blurb

In the aftermath of his father’s funeral, Dom Wesa, the new Alpha of Luxor City’s Central Empire, stumbles upon an Omega in desperate need of help. The Omega, Lin Vasiliev, wakes to find he’s been taken into Dom’s home to be rehabilitated.

Dom thinks the young addict may have information about the illicit drug trade going on in his Empire. He gets Lin sober to question him only to discover that Lin is new in town and ignorant of Luxor’s laws.

Dom and Lin are both suspicious of each other at first for their own reasons, but as that wariness wears away a deep attraction develops between them. Dom dotes on Lin, leaving the once stone-broke Omega bathed in finery he never could have imagined.

They start planning for Lin’s upcoming heat, when they will be driven together by their kindling bond and strong compatibility as an Alpha and Omega pair. However, in the midst of their swelling romance, Luxor’s most notorious Alpha reappears sparking a gang war that threatens to turn the entire city into a battleground.

Excerpt

The Empires of Luxor City
Sasha Hope © 2020
All Rights Reserved

There had never been fewer tears shed at a funeral.

It was strange. Crowds had wailed at funerals for worse men, but not a single soul in Luxor City wept for Malik Wesa, a business magnate who’d left behind a wife and two sons. They just stood there, all of them staring straight ahead with cold black eyes as the funeral director rolled the old man’s coffin into the crematory. Visible through a tiny char-stained window, the man who’d once been their leader burned down to ash and bone until there was nothing left of him but dust.

Shaking the image from his mind, Dom Wesa walked out through a wrought-iron fence and left the inner-city funeral home. He buried his hands deep in the pockets of his overcoat and made his way back across the busy city streets toward his office on the east side of town.

A chill rolled off the water near the docks as the year moved into fall. Dom originally drove to the funeral home with the rest of the family, but he couldn’t bear to spend another second with them even if it meant enduring the icy wind.

When a family member dies, all too often they are given a whole new life story. This was a universal truth Dom struggled to wrap his head around. There weren’t any tears at his father’s funeral, but there were enough artificial words of kindness to make him grit his teeth and bite his tongue until his eyes watered.

They all loved to mention how hard things would be for Dom with his father gone; how much weight would now fall on his shoulders.

Dom wanted to laugh. He’d been running this town without his old man’s help for ages. The death of the man he had stopped calling father a long time ago wouldn’t change a thing in his day-to-day life; it just made his position more official. Dom was now the eldest Alpha of the Wesa family, one of the great crime families in Luxor City, the capital of New America.

Decades back, when the government’s power over New America first started to crumble, the gangs of Luxor City went to war, fighting for control over the expansive city’s lucrative ports. As Dom walked through the streets, he passed the remnants of that conflict in the form of bullet holes etched into brick walls that lined the sidewalks and boulevards. Luxor hadn’t always been a haven of prosperity. These wounds were stark reminders that they should not let war tear their city apart again. They’d been preserved during reconstruction.

After years of brutality and gangland warfare, the dust finally settled over the metropolitan battleground. Only three factions were left in a city divided by chaos. They brokered a peace treaty, a deal that divided Luxor into three Empires, each ruled firmly by the Alpha heads of the surviving crime families: Wesa in the Center, Faraji in the North, and Sun in the South.

Dom Wesa was the sole Alpha heir to the Central Empire, a great strip of land stretching from the high-rises along the city’s eastern ports all the way to the cliffs on the western coast. Their portion of city was the smallest, but the Center also included the West Island, the final stretch of green pasture and woodland in Luxor, a place where only the wealthiest families could afford acreage.

Sila Wesa, the family’s Omega matriarch, still maintained an estate there. She would probably return home once the ladder-climbing mourners all left her in peace. As an Omega, she was expected to stay home and mourn her Alpha’s death for at least a year. Dom hated thinking of her returning to that vast hollow estate, but she wouldn’t be alone. She had his younger brother, Atsadi, with her.

Maybe they could be happy there now, but Dom couldn’t stand the place.

He made his way to his portside office, the private sanctuary where he conducted the family business, far removed from his father’s offices across from the luxury hotels and nightclubs downtown. It was an old-fashioned Deco-style building, relatively small compared to Luxor’s expansive high-rises, but taller than the nearby brownstone residences lining the old dock’s edge.

Dom entered through the public hall and took the stairs to his office instead of his private elevator. He couldn’t stand still, not even for a minute, not until he got a drink in him.

His office took up most of the fifth floor. A large window lined the street-facing wall, giving him a view of his docks and businesses as well as the swaying blue horizon of the Pacific Ocean.

Ships pulled in and out, always coming and going. The ports were the center of all business in Luxor. They had been around since the city’s foundation and wrapped around the entire coastline, enclosing Luxor in a circle of docks extending out into the water like a sea urchin’s spikes. It was a well-known fact that he who controlled the ports, controlled the trade, and he who controlled the trade, controlled the city.

Dom was fond of the old portside architecture. He had always been keen on the brutalist, Deco styles of ancient cities. He even decorated his office to match with polished wood and geometric patterns of gold emblazoned on black surfaces.

Inside the familiar space he’d made his own, he poured himself a glass of whisky from a decanter on his side table. He took a good long swig before taking a seat in the plush leather chair behind his mahogany desk.

Sighing heavily, he closed his eyes until a quiet thud on his desk drew them open again.

A thin newssheet folded down the middle sat in the center of his desk. Images flashed across its holographic surface. Dom recognized himself, his brother, and his mother in more than one. Fucking paparazzi.

The Luxor City Times headline read: Death of Malik Wesa leaves Central Empire in hands of son, Dominik.

Dom stared at the paper with a deadpan expression. Unblinking, he took another sip of his drink.

“Somehow I figured you’d be back in the office today.”

Dom’s gaze shifted in the direction of the voice.

His right-hand woman, Isa Saqui, stood over his desk smirking down at him.

Isa had been Dom’s eyes and ears ever since terminal illness took his old man out of power and put Dom in charge. She was an Alpha, a member of the dominant sex, like everyone in his inner circle. Isa stood tall, a muscular and imposing woman with angular bone structure casting dramatic shadows over her olive skin. Her long hair was tied in an intricate brunette braid that fell over one shoulder.

Dom turned away from her and picked up the newssheet. Without giving it another glance, he tossed it back across the desk toward her.

“The headline is hilarious,” he muttered before taking another drink.

Isa chuckled as she snatched the thin device back up.

“Isn’t it?” she said as she examined the article. “I mean, it’s not even news. Your old man hadn’t been running shit for years.”

Dom huffed.

It was true. Even before his father’s illness, Dom had been in charge, but Malik’s stint in the hospital had truly put him in power. In under a year, he’d earned the city’s respect and made vast alterations throughout the Central Empire to counter his father’s ineffective rule. Dom had always been in control; nothing would change now Malik Wesa was gone.

“We shouldn’t speak ill of the dead,” Dom said, smiling around the rim of his glass.

“Then let’s talk business.” Isa grinned like a shark. “Because I haven’t got anything good to say about the old bastard. How was his funeral, by the way?”

Dom simply shrugged in response. “Let’s talk business.”

With another snort of a laugh, Isa pulled out her phone and started going over a list of the day’s imports. The ships had come in on time, and their guys on the docks were already warehousing their “product,” storing it until it could be shipped throughout Luxor.

“So, we finally received those luxury cars we’ve been waiting for, two weeks late, but that’s the Southern trade route for you. Same shipment had a few crates of unprocessed opium—”

Dom cut in with gritted teeth, “Make sure that goes straight to the labs. Apart from heat suppressants, I don’t want to see that shit on my streets.”

“Already done.” Isa hardly even glanced up from her phone. “The independent Omegas of Luxor are already thanking you. You truly are a hero, Dom, providing them with suppressants and saving them from their dreaded heats. Less mating means more working. Off your backs and on your feet. That can be your campaign slogan.”

Dom eyed Isa, trying to gauge her level of sarcasm before gesturing for her to carry on with a short huff of amusement.

“What else?”

“Firearms from the mainland,” Isa said before listing off the models and manufacturers. “About half of this shipment is being sold to the Sun family in the south. They’ve got an underground trade problem on their hands.”

In the south of Luxor City, the Sun family controlled the majority of the city’s ports, but only imported from the Second Continent, across the western seas. This made them an excellent trading partner for Dom whose eastern ports shipped to and from New America. Whenever the Southern Empire wanted products from the New American mainland, Dom was their man, and when he needed Second Continent shipments, he knew just who to ask.

“All right.” Dom stood from his chair, rubbing his hands together. “The agent from the Sun family will want to see the guns before we truck them over. I’ll call—” Dom stopped abruptly when a terse shout erupted from the streets below, loud enough to resonate through the glass window and into his fifth-floor office.

“What the hell was that?” Isa asked with a furrowed brow.

Dom walked over to glare out of the window. They were right above the lobby, so a glance down offered a clear view of the ground below.

Across the street, a young man stumbled along the sidewalk. Even from the distance, Dom could tell there was something off about him. He swayed with each step, unable to keep to a straight line and using one hand to balance himself against the wall of the opposite building to keep from falling over.

He disappeared into an alleyway, followed closely by another man. This much larger man was the one shouting furiously as he marched into the narrow passage after the boy.

Dom turned from the window and grabbed his coat. Without a backward glance, he stormed out of his office.

“Dom? Hey! What the hell was that?” Isa repeated as he passed. She tried calling after him again, but he was already out of the door.

Meet the Author

Sasha Hope is a lover of story, art and design based in Canada. As a writer and an artist, she enjoys having the opportunity to create new characters and build new worlds for readers to explore.

Having studied linguistics and a myriad of languages from a young age, she is passionate about including characters of different backgrounds in her work. Whether the setting is fantasy or reality, she believes that a diverse cast with diverse languages and cultures is a wonderful thing.

Crafting stories that embrace MM romance and erotica is her modus operandi. When she is not creating new worlds she is travelling this one looking for inspiration or enjoying her career in the videogame industry.

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The Empires of Luxor City Now Available

Book Blast: Earnest Ink by Alex Hall

Earnest Ink | Alex Hall

EARNEST INK

Publisher: Nine Star Press

Published: October 14, 2019

Cover Artist: Natasha Snow

Heat Rating: 1 flame

Length: 72,100 words/244 pages

It is a standalone book

Buy Links

NineStar Press | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Smashwords | B&N | Kobo

Add to Goodreads

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Blurb

While twenty-year-old FTM Hemingway is making an excellent living as a tattoo artist in a near-future version of Hell’s Kitchen, the rest of the country is splintered and struggling in the wake of a war gone on for too long.

Technology has collapsed, borders rise and fall overnight, and magic has awakened without rhyme, reason, or rule, turning average unwitting citizens into wielders of strange and specific strands of magic.

Hemingway’s particular brand of magic has made him a household name. Not only is he a talented artist, but his work comes to life. Literally.

When NYC’s most infamous serial killer—the East River Ripper—abducts Hemingway’s best friend, Grace, he has only days to save her. Hemingway teams up with his stoic cop roommate to hunt for the killer and rescue Grace before she becomes the Ripper’s latest victim.

But as the duo chase clues to the serial killer’s identity, Hemingway begins to fear the magic he and the Ripper share might eventually corrupt him too.

Excerpt

Earnest Ink

Alex Hall © 2019

All Rights Reserved

I work without speaking because that’s the way I prefer it. The vibration of my machine, the softer buzz of the fluorescent lights overhead, the tap of my foot on the pedal—it’s the best music in the world.

When I hit a ticklish spot, the girl I’m working on gasps, jolting in my chair.

“Don’t move,” I say. And then, with a salesman’s false cheer: “Almost done!”

The girl is sweating down the crook of her neck. She’s got silver glitter paint on her eyelids and cheeks, a new fashion trend I just can’t quite get behind. Under my lights the mix of perspiration and makeup looks like a blurry constellation.

She wanted a bee inked onto her collarbone, one of those tiny honeybees you find on good tequila bottles. Easily done, and she met the cash requirement. She’s eager, nervous, and breathing in and out in little puffs.

I can’t remember her name, but that’s fine. Customer relations is Eric’s job.

There’s another kid leaning over my glass counter, watching eagerly as I work. “Does it hurt?” he asks. “When the magic happens?”

The bee’s fat yellow thorax wriggles from side to side as it begins to wake, fighting the pressure of my needle, hungry for life.

“It looks like it hurts,” the kid says. I ignore him.

One minute more and—thanks to my peculiar magic—this bee will fly free.

I’m perched on a swivel stool, a wet paper towel in my hand to wipe away ink. It’s too hot in my studio, even with the industrial fans whirling overhead and the door propped wide open. Evening light slants in through the door and the north-facing, floor-to-ceiling window panes that look out onto West Forty-Sixth. It’s muggy, too warm for New York in October, and all of Hell’s Kitchen is wilting, including my client.

“What does it feel like?” the kid demands. He’s leaving greasy fingerprints on the surface of the glass as he strains to get a better look at what I’m doing. I study him out the corner of my eye, wiping sweat off my nose with the back of my wrist before it drips on my customer. He looks like one of the street punks who have taken to running in packs near the cruise terminals, sleeping in old, abandoned cargo containers and panhandling up and down the marina.

He’s skinny and tall, hair dyed an unsettling violet and styled into spikes all over his head. He’s got a silver ring in his septum and more hoops in his ears; his eyelashes are coated with purple mascara to match his hair. Green glitter paint sparkles on his lids. His T-shirt and jeans are torn and dirty, and he’s got a pack of black-market cigarettes rolled into one sleeve against his upper arm.

About the Author

Sarah Remy/Alex Hall is a nonbinary, animal-loving, proud gamer Geek.

Their work can be found in a variety of cool places, including HarperVoyager, EDGE and NineStar Press.

Social Media

Blog/Website | Twitter: @sarahremywrites

Hosted by Gay Book Promotions

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Release Blitz: I’m The Last Face You’ll Ever See by Matt Converse

I’m The Last Face You’ll Ever See | Matt Converse

Release Date: January 23rd, 2020

Buy Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B083S2D4QG

Universal: https://smarturl.it/LastFaceYoullEverSee

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Blurb

Take a terrifying look inside the twisted mind of a serial killer in this modern day nod to Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho.

Sean’s nightmares seem psychically connected to Stephen, a loner who lives in the back of the building. After several grisly murders including a dead body reveal like no other, Sean and best friend Anna set out to expose him as the killer despite warnings from Anna’s boyfriend Danny.

The killer speaks directly to the reader and lives by the chilling words he tells his victims, “I’m the last face you’ll ever see, so you will love me forever.”

About The Author

matt-converse

Matt Converse of San Francisco is the bestselling author of the three book series #1 LGBT Horror bestseller Obsexsion, Strip Shot, and Behind the Velvet Curtain, erotic horror shocker Leather Head, LGBT thriller Window Watcher and his latest release I’m the Last Face You’ll Ever See. He aspires to bring diversity to the publishing world.

Like his idol Alfred Hitchcock, his books are sexy, smart and full of suspense but told in a style one reviewer called “a new kind of writing, like he was speaking just to me.” Another said of Leather Head, “the suspense tried to kill me.” A Matt Converse book is simply one you cannot put down.

Social Media

Amazon profile: https://www.amazon.com/Matt-Converse/e/B00TKCCVWY

twitter: https://twitter.com/MattConverse1

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/matt.converse.39

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13495845.Matt_Converse

New Release Blitz: Rialto by Jocelynn Drake & Rinda Elliott

Rialto | Jocelynn Drake & Rinda Elliott

Unbreakable Bonds #8

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Publisher: Drake & Elliott LLC

Release Date: December 16, 2019

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 74,000

Buy Link:

Amazon US | Amazon UK

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Blurb

Someone has it out for Rialto.

Ian Banner is loving his hectic life. He’s newly married, ready to start a family, and opening a new restaurant. All his dreams are coming true.

The last thing he needs is a problem with his restaurant.

But when one attack after another comes, he grows convinced he has another enemy.

Ian tries to handle things by himself, but his friends are soon drawn in when the attacks become violent. That’s when Ian realizes the target isn’t Rialto. It’s him.

Rialto is the final installment in the Unbreakable Bonds series and features sexy times, Daciana snuggles, overprotective family, fire, and of course, code names.

Excerpt

Ian sighed and stretched his legs out, putting his sock-covered feet onto the coffee table. He’d kicked off his shoes when they’d come in. “I’m still reeling over that damn raid. Someone had to have called it in, and I can’t figure out who would do such a thing. It’s driving me crazy worrying about it.”

“Everything’s fine. Even Sarah told you there’s nothing to worry about now.”

“Still, it shouldn’t have happened, and having those dogs in the kitchen?” He growled softly. “I just hope we don’t get any disgruntled reviews from the people we had to reschedule.”

“Bad reviews happen, you know that.”

“But over something like this? Something completely out of my control?” He sat up and faced Hollis. “I can’t get it out of my head that someone actually turned us in. And all that stuff about drugs? Drugs, Hollis! The last thing Rialto needs is a rumor like that. We had people in that restaurant who heard all that when they first came in.”

He stood and started pacing the room. Hollis watched his slim, agitated form as he moved, noting that his hands were clenched into fists at his sides.

“Rumors of drugs could hurt our chances of becoming foster parents, too!” he nearly yelled. He reached up and ran both hands through his hair, leaving the brown strands sticking up all over the place.

He’d worked himself into a frenzy again. Hollis stood and walked to him. He placed his hands on Ian’s shoulders, feeling the fine bones beneath his palms before sliding his hands down Ian’s back to pull the man into his body.

Ian slumped against him, wrapping his arms tight around him. “Thanks.”

“For what?” Hollis asked.

“For the hug. For knowing I needed one.” He tilted his head and stared into Hollis’s face. “You always know how to calm me down.”

“I don’t want you worrying about drug rumors. The fact that your restaurant only lost one night to the raid before opening up again will squelch any of those. Rialto will be fine. And this isn’t going to hurt our chances at being foster parents. We’ve already gone through the background checks and everything else. It’s all good.”

Ian had worried incessantly about the background inspection, but his past with Jagger had never been public knowledge. It also didn’t hurt that Ian had Rowe’s tech specialist, Gidget, run a check, making sure that there was nothing from Ian’s past that might throw up red flags. Gidget had confirmed that other than Jagger’s attack on Ian at Union Terminal three years ago, there was nothing linking Ian to Jagger.

“I just want it so much,” Ian mumbled against his chest as he leaned close again.

“I know, baby. I do, too.”

Ian lifted his head. “Yeah?”

“You know I do,” Hollis said as he bent down to kiss Ian. Ian’s arms slid up around his neck and he stood on his toes to press harder into Hollis’s mouth. That warm body felt too good against Hollis. He pulled away from Ian and stared at him, taking in the already blown pupils with a smile. “Enough of this worrying. I have a better idea. Stay right here.”

He walked to the front door to set the security alarm, then flipped off the lights. The automatic night-light on the stairs came on, but he knew where Ian was. He walked to his husband and lifted him. Ian’s legs automatically wrapped around his waist as Ian chuckled. Hollis knew he was laughing at being carried, but Hollis fucking loved carting Ian around.

“I bet I know what your idea is,” Ian murmured, kissing Hollis’s jaw.

“If it’s stripping you naked and having my way with you, you get a cookie.” He carried him up the stairs and into their bedroom, not setting him down until they were beside their bed.

Meet the Authors

Jocelynn Drake and Rinda Elliott have teamed up to combine their evil genius to create intense gay romantic suspense stories that have car chases, shoot outs, explosions, scorching hot love scenes, and tender, tear-jerking moments.

Their first joint books are in the Unbreakable Bonds series.

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