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Blog Tour: Rarely Pure And Never Simple by Angel Martinez

Rarely Pure And Never Simple | Angel Martinez

Variant Configurations #1

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Release Date: June 28th, 2022

Publisher: Mischief Corner Books

Cover Artist: Natasha Snow

Heat Rating: 3 flames

Length: 67,000 words

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Blurb

Variant children are vanishing at an alarming rate. It will take a uniquely mismatched pair of trackers to untangle a web of conspiracy and misdirection to find them.

In his isolated cabin, variant Damien Hazelwood avoids human contact as much as possible to prevent attacks of blind berserker panic. But his rare talent as a locator makes him the go-to contractor for tricky missing person’s cases and when agents bring him a troubling contract involving missing variant children, he finds it impossible to refuse.

Licensed tracker Blaze Emerson can’t help being irritated when he’s expected to follow the strange, twitchy locator’s lead on his latest case. He works alone, he’s damn good, and as a variant sparker, he has both the fire and the firepower to take on anything out there. Though he has to admit there’s something intriguing about a man who can find people with his brain.

With vastly different temperaments and backgrounds, Damien and Blaze need to negotiate quickly how to work together if they’re going to crack this case. Add in the sudden appearance of Blaze’s outlaw ex, the perils of tracking in the wilds, and a maddening lack of discernible motive or method, and they soon find themselves in as much danger as the kids they’re trying to rescue.

Variant Configurations takes place in a future Earth where humanity is reclaiming its spot in a gradually healing world. This book contains mentions of past abuse, action-adventure style mayhem, and the beginning sparks of a slow burn, series-spanning relationship.

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Excerpt

The ice around the weed bed glowed blue as first morning rays stretched tentative fingers across the lake. Even the sun was smart enough not to rush out of bed on a cold-as-a-penguin’s-pecker Vermont morning. Damien, however, apparently suffered from some intellectual deficiency since he was out on the lake already with his ice chisel, chipping away at a likely spot for a fishing hole.

His breath ghosted in front of him, every gulp of air biting into his lungs. It wasn’t that he liked the cold or enjoyed the self-sufficient, mountain-man lifestyle. He hated it. His hands always hurt. He was always hungry. It took him forever to warm his lonely bed at night no matter how many pairs of socks he put on, the frame rattling with his shaking for an hour or more.

Chip-chip-chip. The ice chisel on six-inch lake ice echoed back to him off his cabin in a strange, one-sided conversation.

The move wasn’t for his health or even part of a dream of a better life. He had left Raleigh to escape. Yes, he could have taken it a step farther and vanished. Away from the coasts, out in the abandoned wilds to the west, he might have found somewhere to hole up. Much of the land surrounding the Mississippi was still poisoned, but farther out toward Kansas, the remains of chemical skirmishes diminished.

The life of a wilding was dangerous for a lone person, though, and the constant need to be on high alert against scavengers who roamed the wastelands would have worn him down to nothing within a few months. Here, he was close enough to civilization for relative safety, far enough away for some peace. He’d given a promise for a promise, after all—his promise to Dr. Parma that he would still take the jobs he was uniquely suited to and her promise that he would be a last resort.

Mostly, the arrangement worked.

Up here, they couldn’t hound him so easily with every minute need. Up here, anyone seeking him out had to go to considerable trouble to reach him. They knew where he was, of course. The inconvenient locale enforced the mandate that they think long and hard before paying a call, and now they only showed up when they had exhausted other options.

So he pretended not to hear the crunch of the snow-crawler’s treads as it trundled up the snow-crusted hill accompanied by the whisper-hum of its solar battery engine. Then he deluded himself a few more minutes with the fantasy of late-season sport fishermen. The voices, when they reached him, shattered his careful illusion.

Chip-chip-chip. If I ignore them this time, will they give up and go away? Probably not. Please go away.

“That’s him? He’s kinda puny,” an unfamiliar voice rasped.

They hadn’t sent Cummings? What idiot was in charge now? They’d sent some stranger as the messenger, someone who didn’t understand him?

“Variants come in all the usual shapes and sizes, Wirth.”

There was Cummings. Thank God for small favors.

“But Sledge—”

“Is just one guy,” Cummings snapped, obviously losing patience with what had to be a rookie.

Footsteps crunched through the snow toward him. Damien tried to block them out, but his muscles tensed. The terrible sensation of having someone walking up behind him crawled up his back on millipede legs.

Chip-chip-chip.

“Wirth, hold up! You don’t want—”

Something touched Damien’s elbow. The millipede crawling up his spine leaped into his brain and exploded in a thousand spiny pieces. He whirled, snarling, and swept the ice chisel at whatever had put a hand on him without permission.

“Holy fuck!” A dark-haired man leaped back from the makeshift halberd. He fell on his ass and scrabbled backward on the ice, his eyes cow-patty huge in shock.

“I tried to warn you,” Cummings said calmly from the bank. A squared-off man with salt-and-pepper hair, he was the perfect bland-faced federal agent. He stood with his hands in his trench-coat pockets, stance relaxed and nonthreatening. There was a reason they usually sent him alone instead of sending a team or someone from the Guild, as they’d done once or twice. Cummings didn’t judge. Cummings understood Damien’s boundaries. “Maybe you’ll learn to listen now.”

“He tried to fucking kill me!” The intrusive man, presumably Wirth, still scrambled backward as he failed to get his feet under him.

“No. You invaded his space without warning. You don’t do that. I might kill you if you don’t stop acting like a jackass,” Cummings grated out, shaking his head. Then he gave a nod to Damien and said more evenly, “Hazelwood. Good to see you.”

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About the Author

Angel Martinez headshot

Angel Martinez is the pen name of a writer of several genres who writes both kinds of queer fiction – Science Fiction and Fantasy. (What? There are others?)

Currently living part time in the hectic sprawl of northern Delaware, (and full time inside the author’s head) Angel has one husband, one son, at least one cat at any given time, a changing variety of other furred and scaled companions, a love of all things beautiful and a terrible addiction to the consumption of both knowledge and chocolate.

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Series Review Tour: Witchbane Series by Morgan Brice

The Devil You Know

Witchbane #6

Release Date: February 8th, 2022

Length: 240 pages

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THE DEVIL YOU KNOW

Blurb

It all comes down to trusting the devil you know

Seth and Evan met “on the job” when Evan was the intended sacrifice of a dark coven, and Seth came to the rescue. Now, they’ve teamed up to stop a century of ritual murders and get justice for Seth’s brother Jesse and the other victims.

Seth and Evan have a plan to stop the next witch disciple, plus new allies and magic. But this time, the warlock knows they’re coming, and he has plans of his own. When Seth disappears and is trapped in a spell that gives him his heart’s desire, can he free himself in time to help Evan?

And when Evan’s younger brother shows up unexpectedly, can Evan trust Parker to have his back? It all comes down to trusting the devil you know!

The Devil You Know is a thrill-packed urban fantasy MM paranormal romance with plenty of supernatural suspense, hurt/comfort, hot sex, found family, and dark magic and features an evolving, established romantic relationship with all the feels.

Excerpt

We just might die tonight, and it won’t even be monsters that kill us.

Seth Tanner hunched low over the handlebars of his black Hayabusa motorcycle and urged the roaring engine to eke out a bit more speed.

Behind him, his partner Evan Malone wrapped his arms tight around Seth’s midsection and tucked his helmet against Seth’s shoulder blades.

The rev of a truck close behind them told Seth their pursuers weren’t ready to give up. Then a shot fired, changing the whole game.

“Fuck,” Seth muttered and wove from one side of the lane to the other, desperate to keep the goons from getting a clear shot.

The gunman fired a second time and a third. Seth’s luck wasn’t going to last forever, and then one of the bullets would hit Evan, the bike, or him. Seth had a good idea who had hired the hitmen, and he doubted they showed up on a dark Ohio road just to send a warning.

A light ahead drew Seth’s attention, and he skidded into the gravel lot of a cinder block roadhouse. Neon beer signs cast a crimson glow that attracted a row of pickups and Harleys. Red paint on white walls proclaimed it to be Charley’s Place.

I’ll take my chances on a bar fight over being shot in the back.

The charcoal Ford truck chasing them never slowed, rumbling past the bar too fast for Seth to get a good look, and then it was gone, swallowed by the night.

He faced the motorcycle toward the road, sheltered between a beat-up green F-150 and a red Silverado with a gun rack in the back window. Seth felt sure that he and Evan would be no more welcome inside than they’d been with the guys who chased them, so when their attackers didn’t return, Seth hit the gas and headed back the way they came.

His heart didn’t stop pounding until he slowed at the entrance to the campground where they had parked their RV. While it wasn’t late, Seth was hyper-aware of the rumble of the motorcycle’s engine, not wanting to draw attention. When they pulled up in front of their site, he breathed a sigh of relief.

“Doesn’t look like anyone’s been here,” he said to Evan as he climbed off the bike and secured it. His body still hummed with adrenaline, and Seth scanned the area for danger as Evan followed him to the RV’s door.

Locks and security alarm aside, the fifth-wheeler and black pickup that towed it were also protected by magical wardings, courtesy of friends with supernatural abilities. The protections recognized Seth and Evan but were designed to keep out intruders.

Seth turned on the lights and gasped when he saw the blood on Evan’s jacket and realized his boyfriend was leaning heavily against the wall.

“You’re hit.” Seth helped Evan to sit at the table and went to fetch their medic kit.

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About The Series

Witchbane is a supernatural, second chance at love thrill ride packed with hurt/comfort, deadly magic, immortal witches, determined hunters, spells and curses, true love, impressive explosions, spooky chills and sexy thrills!

Genre/s: Gay romance, MM romance, supernatural romance adventure, urban fantasy

Trope/s: Hurt/comfort, skeptical strangers to lovers, found family, second chance at love, ‘I would risk anything for you’

The stories are stand alone with no cliffhangers, but you’ll understand the world better if you read them in sequence.

Overall Heat Rating for the series: 4 flames

Witchbane

WITCHBANE

Release Date: February 19th, 2018

Length: 246 pages

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Blurb

Seth is used to risking his neck. He never intended to risk his heart.

Seth is used to risking his neck. He never intended to risk his heart. Seth Tanner swore to avenge his brother’s death. But when his quest for vengeance brings him to Richmond to stop a dark coven’s next ritual murder, he’s hell-bent on keeping Jackson Evan Malone from becoming the warlocks’ next victim. He just didn’t expect to fall in love with the man he’s sworn to protect.

Evan thinks Seth is crazy. Maybe that’s true—but Seth could still be right about the danger. Evan doesn’t believe in witches, and he’s still healing from past betrayals. He might trust Seth with his life—but what happens when he starts to fall for his handsome, dangerous protector?

Witchbane is a supernatural, second chance at love thrill ride packed with hurt/comfort, deadly magic, immortal witches, determined hunters, spells and curses, true love, impressive explosions, spooky chills and sexy thrills!

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Burn

BURN

Release Date: September 26th, 2018

Length: 120 pages

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Blurb

Fate and danger threw them together. But once the adrenaline fades, will love last?

Seth saves Evan from a dark witch, and they go on the run together, on the trail of a coven of ritual killers. But when the dust settles, will Evan regret his choice? Seth’s life as a hunter is dangerous, and he’s constantly on the road. He’s fallen in love with Evan and he wants him to stay, but Seth is afraid Evan would be better off without him.

Evan’s whole world has been turned upside-down by the dangerous stranger who saved his life. Evan made a split-second decision and teamed up with Seth when just days ago, he didn’t even believe magic was real. Now Evan’s worried that he might not be able to hold his own, but he’s determined to have Seth’s back. He’s sure of only one thing—his love for Seth.

If they’re going to survive, they need to learn to fight like a team. And if they’re going to make it as a couple, they need time to heal old wounds, confess secrets and fears, and risk trusting each other—body and soul.

Burn is a supernatural, learning-to-trust-again thrill ride packed with hurt/comfort, deadly magic, immortal witches, determined hunters, creepy ghosts, scary monsters, true love, impressive explosions, spooky chills and sexy thrills.

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Dark Rivers

DARK RIVERS

Release Date: October 23rd, 2018

Length: 238 pages

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Blurb

If the skills they possess aren’t enough to protect them and their bond can’t keep them together, the ancient evil will remain unchallenged, and more people will die…

Seth Tanner and Evan Malone are learning to navigate their new partnership—as lovers and as monster hunters—while hot on the trail of a coven of dark warlocks. Seth has never been in love like this before, consumed by white-hot passion and willing to risk his life to protect Evan. His quest to avenge his brother’s murder used to be an obsession, one he was willing to die for. Now, Seth worries that his reckless pursuit of vengeance might get Evan—or both of them—killed. But he can’t walk away—the witches’ century-long killing spree has to stop. Seth prays that both he and Evan make it alive and together to the finish line, when the fight is done.

Evan’s normal world turned upside-down the night a dangerous stranger rescued him from being sacrificed in a bloody ritual. Now he knows that magic and monsters are real, legends and lore are true, and fighting for his life has become an everyday event. He’s learned to hold his own. But when a vengeful ex-lover stalks him while they’re on a case, Evan has to confront his past and confess an ugly truth. His love for Seth had been strong enough to get them this far, but he fears that the stalker or the warlock could tear them apart forever.

If the skills they possess aren’t enough to protect them and their bond can’t keep them together, the ancient evil will remain unchallenged, and more people will die…

Dark Rivers is a supernatural, daring-to-love-again thrill ride packed with hurt/comfort, deadly magic, immortal witches, determined hunters, creepy ghosts, haunted houses, a developing established relationship, impressive explosions, spooky chills and sexy thrills.

***

Flame and Ash

FLAME AND ASH

Release Date: September 5th, 2019

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Blurb

When their lives are on the line, will love be enough?

The hunters become the hunted. When their lives are on the line, will love be enough? Seth Tanner and Evan Malone are hot on the track of a coven of dark witches responsible for a century of ritual murders. Seth saved Evan’s life, and Evan joined him on the road, getting a crash course on magic and the supernatural, learning how to fight and hunt. Seth worries that Evan’s going to get hurt, or that he’ll realize this crazy, dangerous life isn’t for him—and break Seth’s heart.

Evan Malone has fallen head over heels for Seth, despite the danger and chaos. Their relationship is new, their emotions are raw, and every hunt could be their last. Evan wants to prove that he’s committed to their relationship, despite the rushed and rocky beginning. He’s pushing himself to learn new skills so he can have Seth’s back—and his biggest fear is that Seth might get hurt because Evan isn’t good enough.

Their next hunt takes them to the Blue Ridge Mountains, but this time, the dark witch knows they’re coming—and has plans of his own. Then Seth vanishes, and everything Evan has learned and his belief in their bond as lovers is put to the test.

He’s got to prove he’s up to the challenge and Seth’s faith in him, before the whole situation goes up in flames and leaves nothing but ash.

Flame and Ash is a fast-paced supernatural thrill ride packed with hurt/comfort, deadly magic, immortal witches, determined hunters, creepy ghosts, haunted tunnels, a developing established relationship, impressive explosions, spooky chills and sexy thrills.

***

Unholy

UNHOLY

Release Date: February 5th, 2020

Length: 224 pages

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Blurb

A deadly curse on Seth and Evan means time is running out. Can they find a way to turn the tables, or is Charleston their final destination?

Seth Tanner swore vengeance on the dark coven that killed his brother, Jesse. He rescued Evan Malone from one of the witches, and they’ve fallen in love despite the danger and chaos, going on the road to end the cycle of ritual murders. Their relationship is still new, tested at every turn by danger and magic.

Seth and Evan head to Charleston to stop the next warlock and save his intended victim. But this time, they’re too late. The warlock has already powered up, and he’s determined to destroy the two hunters one way or another.

Unholy is a thrill-packed urban fantasy MM paranormal romance with plenty of supernatural suspense, hurt/comfort, passion, found family, and dark magic, and features an evolving, established romantic relationship with all the feels.

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About the Author

Morgan Brice is the romance pen name of bestselling author Gail Z. Martin. Morgan writes urban fantasy male/male paranormal romance, with plenty of action, adventure and supernatural thrills to go with the happily ever after. Gail writes epic fantasy and urban fantasy, and together with co-author hubby Larry N. Martin, steampunk and comedic horror, all of which have less romance, more explosions. Characters from her Gail books make frequent appearances in secondary roles in her Morgan books, and vice versa.

On the rare occasions Morgan isn’t writing, she’s either reading, cooking, or spoiling two very pampered dogs.

Series include Witchbane, Badlands, Treasure Trail, Kings of the Mountain and Fox Hollow. Watch for more in these series, plus new series coming soon!

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TROPES

Can’t make up my mind with this one – which is the case with the story itself

No Filter (No Shame Series Book 1)No Filter by Nora Phoenix

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The plus points: This is well edited and isn’t plagued with poor punctuation and grammar as can sometimes be the case with, as I understand it, a debut novel.

Another plus point is the loyalty and friendship of Noah and his best friend Josh. Also a plus point is the scene setting and world building.

Sex is hot too and here’s where the first minus appears. The oddness of this possible menage a trois because it never really seems sure where it wants to go. There’s no real attempt at either making this a story about two men accepting a third to complete their own relationship or to just have the sexual encounters be threesome.

Instead it diverts off into two different storylines with yet another bloke introduced who is obviously the love interest for Josh in book two and a narrative about Indy’s dangerous background and him and Noah getting it on.

There’s not cheating in the traditional sense though, each of the three men is fully aware of what’s going on and there are reasons given for why each one behaves as they do.

Ultimately though it turned into a bit of an accidental sex-fest (as I don’t think that’s what the author’s narrative probably meant to be) and lost the impetus somewhat and it was left on a HFN with possible threat on the horizon.

I probably would read book two though to see if Josh and Connor work it out and because Connor’s real name is Ignatius 😉

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

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