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Release Blitz: The Marshal’s Teacher by Este Holland

The Marshal’s Teacher |  Este Holland

Yours to Protect #3

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Release Date (Print & Ebook): December 12, 2019

Length (Print & Ebook): Approx. 40,000 words

Universal Link: mybook.to/marshalsteacher

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Blurb

Protecting him is no hardship.

Chaze Pullman has a sixth sense for trouble. He never thought it would come in handy when a man threatens him over a hot US Marshal.

Kean York may be recovering from a gunshot wound, but he’ll go to any length to protect a certain stubborn man. After all, Chaze’s life was put in danger because of York…

Or was it?

When emotions run high, information can be overlooked, and Chaze’s instincts are telling him something else is going on.

Something that may not involve him at all.

This is the third book in the Yours to Protect series. It’s novella length with a cliffhanger for the overall plot of the series, but it is HEA for the main characters.

Warnings: talk about deaths of parents.

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Excerpt

Chaze called the next day, and they arranged to meet at York’s house later that night. It wasn’t the weekend yet, but he’d sounded…not desperate, more like in a hurry.

York smiled as he made the bed with clean sheets. He stocked the fridge with plenty of cold beer, then showered. He had to be careful how he moved and to not to get his stitches wet, but he managed. He was feeling better already.

Date. He’d promised a date, not sex, but it didn’t hurt to be prepared. And he liked Chaze. He didn’t want to screw up. There was something about him that made York feel good, like he wanted to be near him more and more every time he saw him.

They’d agreed to stay in, since it was still difficult for York to move around much, so he ordered dinner ten minutes before Chaze arrived. And arrive he did, in tight jeans, a black, short-sleeved button-up, and a loose, skinny blue tie.

Damn. It was going to be difficult to keep his head on straight when all he wanted to do was peel off those jeans, blindfold Chaze with that tie, and suck his cock.

“Hey,” York said, stepping aside and to let him in.

“Hi.”

“You look great.”

“Oh, thank you.” He pulled on the tie. “I had a meeting this morning.”

He blushed, eyes darting around the room. York chalked it up to first-date jitters.

“How are you feeling?” Chaze asked.

“I’m good. I can move more today.” York demonstrated by rolling his shoulders carefully.

“That’s good.”

“Have a seat. Want a drink?”

“Yeah, beer, if you have it. Thanks.”

York took his time getting the frozen mugs out of the freezer and pouring two Coronas and squeezing in limes. He figured Chaze could use the time to settle.

“Here you go.” He brought the drinks in and set them on the table just as the doorbell rang. Chaze jumped and York chuckled. “It’s dinner. I hope Thai is okay.”

He blew out a breath. “It’s fine.”

Chaze lifted his mug and gulped half of it in seconds. York’s brows rose. He opened the door, gave the driver a tip, and brought the food into the kitchen.

Was Chaze that nervous to be there? Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea. Disappointment made York’s shoulders sag, and he winced at the tug of pain. He’d foregone a pain pill since that morning so he could drink.

He made two plates of food with a little bit of everything and carried them to the living room. Chaze stood studying the bookshelves. York didn’t have a lot of books, but enough were interspersed between the various photos and knickknacks he’d accumulated over the years to make him seem less plebeian.

“Are you sure you’re okay?” York asked, setting the plates on the coffee table. “You’re a little jumpy.”

Up close, York could see dark circles under Chaze’s eyes.

“I…” He ran those slender fingers through his hair, pushing back the front. “I don’t know what to do.”

Chaze’s voice held a certain note York associated with witnesses or victims, and his training kicked in. “Hey, it’s okay. Whatever it is, we’ll get it sorted out.” He gripped Chaze’s arm and guided him to the couch to sit. “Just start at the beginning.”

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An Interview with Este Holland

How long have you been writing?
I wrote my first novel in 2012, so 7 years. Though, I’ve written other things since I was in elementary school.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Yes! I’ve always loved books. I’m an avid reader, but writing was always something I craved. I used to have a binder with a story that was going to be my first novel. I was about nine or ten years old, I think. Can’t remember what it was about.

Writing is the one thing I do consistently, and the one thing that holds my interest. Jobs I’ve had always get boring after a few years…but not writing.

What advice would you give a new writer, someone just starting out?
Watch your filters. One way to spot a new writer is when their sentences are filtered with pronouns and verbs. You hear people say, “show don’t tell”. Basically, this means don’t use: to see, to hear, to touch, to sound, to taste, to realize, to look, to notice etc… For example: “She realized he was it for her.” You don’t need “She realized”, it’s implied by the context of your paragraph. I’m still guilty of it and have to cut them when I’m editing. You don’t always have to cut all of them, but 99% of the time you can. So, if you see them in my books, you can point and laugh and say, “Ha ha, she missed one!”

How do you handle writer’s block?
I don’t really get writer’s block (knock on wood). It’s more of a laziness thing with me, lol! Some days, I have to force myself to write. And it’s not that I don’t love to write, I do. But if the characters aren’t jumping out at me, I have to make myself write a few sentences, then a few more, until I have enough words that I feel productive for the day. Luckily, that doesn’t happen all the time.

What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?
Good characters. You have to have compelling, fascinating characters. I think importance is place on relatability, and while that is a good trait for characters, the characters who really stand out are the ones that fascinate us. Take Snape in Harry Potter. I won’t go into details, but you know what I mean. He wasn’t likeable, or particularly relatable. We hated him, but in the end, he was the most compelling character in the series, in my opinion. I can only hope I write a character like that one day. I haven’t yet.

What comes first, the plot or characters?
For me, it’s the characters. Usually. My last release, First Priority, came about because I wondered what Emperor Kuzco from the Emperor’s New Groove would be like as a character in a mm novel. Weird, yes. But there you go. It’s a writer’s brain. (It was Truman, btw, if you’ve read it. Obviously, I changed him along the way!)

In the Yours to Protect Series, Rio was the first character I thought of. (He’s one MC from The Artist’s Boxer.)

How do you develop your plot and characters?
They tell me who they are. I start with a name and general idea of what they look like in my head. Maybe what they do for a living. My plots are simple to start. I don’t outline, I’m a pantser, and the plot evolves as I go. It’s not a good thing to do for a series, but I wasn’t entirely sure I was going to write a series from Yours to Protect until Kai popped into Rio and Rake’s story. I knew I wanted to give him a story, so I decided who I wanted to pair him with, and he was already working for the mob, so the plot for The Marshal’s PI evolved out of that.

Are you working on anything at the present you would like to share with your readers about?
Right now, I’m writing the fourth book in this series, The Marshal’s Mobster. Actually, I’m kind of alternating between that one and the second Priorities book.

Do you have any new series planned?
I have The Marshal’s Mobster, which is the last one, and then a character from those books (Luke Kairo) will get his own sort of standalone book, which I’m hoping to transition into a spin off series in LA. It’s about a secret intelligence agency. That’s on the back burner for now though.

I will have two more books in the Priorities series first. Daniel and Riley, and Brian and Jay. And I have another book to write for my paranormal series, The Metis Inquiries, but that’s a way’s off.

The Artist’s Boxer

Yours to Protect #1

Screenshot 2019-12-05 15.57.25.pngHe won the championship. Now he must run for his life.

Winning the welterweight championship was everything Rake had worked for. Now it’s all come crashing down, and he has no choice but to flee his hometown of Las Vegas.

When he stops in a small town in Utah, Rake meets a man who makes him forget all about the danger he’s in.

Rio has a good life. He loves his family and career, but when Rake blows into town, something stirs in his blood…something like desire.

Rio doesn’t do relationships, not since the last disaster, but Rake makes it impossible for him to say no.

When Rake comes clean about what he’s running from, Rio just might have a way to help.

Now the two of them must fight to free Rake from the man who took everything…and stay alive until the end.

The Artist’s Boxer is the first book in the Yours to Protect series. It contains mature sexual content of hot adult men, intended for readers 18 and older, a one-night stand turning into several days, and a crafty old man who loves to butt into his grandson’s life.

Book Links:

Amazon US | Universal Link | Goodreads | BookBub

The Marshal’s PI

Yours to Protect #2

Screenshot 2019-12-05 16.24.29.pngDodging bullets shouldn’t be fun…should it?

It is when the man protecting you is hot as sin.
Kai is a happy-go-lucky guy. At least, he was before the mob came knocking on his door.
He’ll go to any length to protect a secret, even work with US Marshal Gannin West.
The only man who can help.
The only man who drives him crazy.

To figure out how to stop the one who wants Kai erased, he’ll have to cooperate… But will it be too late?

The Marshal’s PI is the second book in the Yours to Protect Series. It features a goofy PI who wishes he lived in the 1930s, and a Federal Marshal who hates breaking the rules. Male/male romance, action, adventure, enemies to lovers, 18+ only.

Book Links:

Amazon US | Universal Link | Goodreads | BookBub

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About the Author

Este Holland is a writer and reader of all things Romance. She’s also a treasure hunter, a word wizard, a lover, and a fighter. She was born and raised in WV, and now lives in Virginia. She works in marketing during the day. She began writing novels in 2012.

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Release Blitz: Captivating by Onley James

Captivating | Onley James

Elite Protection Services #2

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Release Date: 04.12.19

Cover Designer: Molly Phipps with We Got You Covered Book Design

Buy Link: https://amzn.to/2Lni2uE

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Blurb

Jayne Shepherd has spent his life blending in. He smiles. He laughs. He’s likable. He’s also a sociopath. His emotions are limited. Love, fear, desire don’t exist in his world. Until he meets Elijah.

Elijah Dunne had everything. Third generation Hollywood royalty. Child star. Untouchable. Until one man ruined it all. Elijah fled LA to try to forget, but now, he’s back on top and back on a monster’s radar. Elijah doesn’t think he’ll ever feel safe. Until he meets Shepherd.

Elijah and Shep only have one thing in common. They both wear masks. Shep makes Elijah feel protected. Seen. Elijah makes Shep just feel. Now that he’s had a taste, he’s not about to let him go.

Everybody warns that what they have isn’t real. Shep is obsessed with Elijah, not in love. But Elijah craves Shep’s obsession. He can’t imagine life without him. In Hollywood, being a sociopath is more a life skill than a diagnosis. Could Shep be the monster Elijah needs to finally slay his demons?

Captivating is the second book in the Elite Protection Services Series and contains age-gap, cum-play, voyeurism and one very sexy interrogation scene complete at 72,000 words with an HEA and no cliffhangers.

Trigger Warnings: This book contains talk of past child sexual abuse

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Excerpt

It occurred to Elijah that Shep meant it. “You’ve never been happy?”

Shep shrugged. “I’ve never been anything, really. Not fully. It’s like experiencing touch with gloves on. I know that I should feel things and sometimes I do, but the sensations are… dulled.”

A sadness settled over Elijah. “You feel nothing? Love? Happiness? Desire?”

All the air left Elijah’s lungs as Shep leaned into Elijah’s space, lips skimming his cheek. “When you look at me, I feel it.” Shep murmured. “When you gasped my name, I felt it.”

“Felt it how,” Elijah managed.

Shep gripped Elijah’s hips, pulling him flush against him. Elijah sucked in a breath at the feel of Shep’s obvious arousal. “I might not understand love or hate, but my body understands yours. My body responds to you… only you. Do you understand?”

Elijah’s heart felt like it would fly from his chest. He didn’t understand. Not really. But Shep wanted him. Just him. That was enough. It was more than enough. Elijah caught Shep’s lips in a hesitant kiss, still unsure how to proceed.

Shep’s hands rose to cup his face, deepening the kiss in a way that left Elijah breathless. Shep kissed him like he was trying to inhale him, absorb him through osmosis, and it left Elijah shaky and wanting more. When Shep’s fingers slipped beneath Elijah’s shirt, his thoughts went fuzzy, until he could only think of Shep’s palms skimming along his sides, his lips grazing along the skin of his throat. When he buried his nose behind Elijah’s ear, Shep growled—literally growled—and the sound went straight to Elijah’s dick. “You smell so good,” Shep muttered almost to himself.

Elijah dragged Shep back up for another kiss. “I want you,” he said against his lips.

Before he could even comprehend his intentions Shep was jostling Elijah, tugging his pants and underwear out of the way to free his erection. “What—” was all he managed before Shep’s head dipped, his body bending in half to envelop his cock in the most perfect suction. “Oh, Jesus. Oh, fuck… You don’t have to do…. Oh, holy fuck. Never mind. Yes, do that.”

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About The Author

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Onley James is the pen name of YA author, Martina McAtee, who lives in Florida with her daughter, her daughter-in-law, and a menagerie of animals, both good and evil. When she’s not writing MM romance or supernatural LGBT young adult books, she’s running 7 Sisters Publishing and attempting to maintain both her sanity and her full-time job as an RN.

When not at work you can find her mainlining Starbucks refreshers, whining about how much she has to do and avoiding the things she has to do by binge-watching unhealthy amounts of television in one sitting. She loves ghost stories, true crime documentaries, obsessively scrolling social media and writing kinky, snarky books about men who fall in love with other men.

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Facebook: www.facebook.com/OnleyJamesWrites

Facebook Reader Group: www.facebook.com/groups/OnleysOubliette

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/onleyjames/

Twitter: www.twitter.com/OnleyJames10

Instagram: www.instagram.com/OnleyJames10

Website: www.onleyjames.com

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Release Blitz: Flash Rip by Keira Andrews

Flash Rip | Keira Andrews

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Buy Links:

Amazon US | Amazon UK

Universal Link

Exclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow with Kindle Unlimited

Length: 290 pages

Cover Design: Wicked Smart Design

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Blurb

The most dangerous current is between them.

Training to be a lifeguard at an Australian beach is tough work, but Cody Grant loves a challenge. He spends long days in the sun and surf rescuing swimmers from treacherous rip currents while trying not to lust after senior lifeguard Liam Fox—who is deeply, painfully closeted.

Liam was supposed to be a football legend. Now in his mid-thirties, it’s been over a decade since his dream shattered along with his knee. Fans still recognize him regularly, and he’s terrified his sexuality will be discovered and his conservative parents will reject him. He has strict rules to protect his secret and keeps everyone at arm’s length. Liam never acts on his need to surrender after being shamed for it years ago by the first and only man he trusted.

Out and proud Cody fascinates Liam—and tempts him to break all the rules.

Cody is practically half Liam’s size and age, but has the confidence and compassion to take charge and give Liam the release, affection, and acceptance he desperately craves. But how long can a secret affair satisfy their hearts?

As if saving lives isn’t hard enough, Cody faces his greatest challenge yet convincing Liam to trust him and find the courage to live out loud.

Flash Rip is an MM gay romance from Keira Andrews featuring a slow burn, an age gap, scorching first times, and of course a happy ending. 

About The Author

After writing for years yet never really finding the right inspiration, Keira Andrews discovered her voice in gay romance, which has become a passion. She writes contemporary, historical, fantasy, and paranormal fiction and — although she loves delicious angst along the way — Keira firmly believes in happy endings.

For as Oscar Wilde once said:

“The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means.” 

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Release Blitz: Broken News by Sara Dobie Bauer

Broken News | Sara Dobie Bauer

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Cover Artist: Quin Perin

Release Date: August 22, 2019

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 62,000 words

It is a standalone story.

Buy Links:

Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US | Amazon UK

Add on Goodreads

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Blurb

He was supposed to hurt him. Ruin him. Instead, he fell in love.

In the big, bad city, Eric West holds the reins. A Mafia king, he is feared, ruthless, and obsessed with a man half his age.

Will, his favorite whore, is young, beautiful, and the only person to ever bring him to his knees.

Will is a man to kill for.

A man to change for.

But what if Will isn’t what he seems?

*** Broken News is a standalone MM romance featuring age gap, detailed adult content, violence, hurt/comfort, and mentions of rape/dubious consent.***

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Excerpt

Miss Catherine paused. “He’s been waiting,” she whispered and walked away. The only evidence of her presence was the sound of velvet dragging on carpet as she disappeared barefoot, back to her other guests.

The rest was up to Eric. Of course he’d flown first class from London but hoped he didn’t smell too much like airplane upholstery and cheap wine. He straightened his tie and adjusted his suit. He ran the palms of his hands over his slick, blond hair and took one long, deep breath before opening the door.

The room was as he imagined, cast in shadows of firelight, and a man stood facing the front window. He had the edge of a heavy curtain raised as he stared into the city’s night. At the sound of the door closing, the man turned—if he could be considered a man. He more resembled a wide-eyed teen, but beautiful, so very beautiful.

Eric sighed, smiled, and shook his head. “My God,” he said.

Dark eyes appraised him. “I could say the same.”

They both took steps forward, which brought Eric’s new whore further into the orange light. Pressed to guess an age—and knowing Le Chateau only hired whores at least twenty-one or older—Eric guessed twenty-two at most. He wore the body and face of a youth but bearing of a confident man. His hair was black—short on the sides, long on top—and shined with the midnight luster of a thoroughbred’s flank. His eyes were shining, dark pools in the firelight but probably brown in the sun. He had high cheekbones, an angular jaw, and skin the color of untouched morning snow. Despite the poised demeanor, he was small in stature and frame, dressed in a black suit Eric imagined had been sewn for him, stitch by invisible stitch. Despite all the young man’s beautiful accouterments, it was his mouth that deserved worship, possibly idols built: a mouth so full, lush, and decadent, Eric was already half hard.

He stepped into the stranger’s space, towering almost a foot above the young whore, and opened the man’s suit coat. Eric ran his palms over slim sides and thumbed at the tops of jutting hipbones. Then, Eric bent forward with his mouth half open and sucked one wet, gentle kiss against the side of his neck. He smelled like spicy cologne and scotch.

“What’s your name?” He ran the tip of his nose over the stranger’s earlobe.

“Will,” he said.

“My name is Eric.”

“I know.”

Eric pulled back enough to see a small smile on Will’s face. His teeth were white and perfectly, perfectly straight.

“You must have cost a lot of money,” Eric said.

Will stepped forward and rubbed his nose across Eric’s carved chin. He practically breathed his response into Eric’s mouth: “And worth every penny.”

With that mouth so close, Eric was done talking. He slid one of his hands behind Will’s head and took hold to the back of his neck. His thumb was lost in soft black hair as he pulled Will even closer until their lips met. Eric moved slowly and savored the pliant softness. Will opened his mouth and allowed Eric’s tongue inside. Not only did he smell like scotch but tasted like it, too—something expensive with a lingering edge of vanilla. Eric’s other hand went to Will’s lower back and pressed their bodies together, which earned him a deep, delightful moan from his new toy.

About the Author

Sara Dobie Bauer is a bestselling author, model, mental health speaker, and LGBTQ advocate with a creative writing degree from Ohio University. Twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize, she lives in Northeast Ohio, although she’d really like to live in a Tim Burton film. She is author of the Bite Somebody series and Escape Trilogy, among other sexy things.

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5 eBook copies of Escaping Exile, book one of the Escape Trilogy

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Review Tour: Their Property by K. A. Merikan

Their Property | K. A. Merikan

Four Mercenaries #3

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Buy Links:

Exclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow with Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US | Amazon UK

Universal Link

Cover Design: Natasha Snow

Length: 75,000 words approx.

READ MY REVIEW

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Blurb

— Bruised not broken. Loved. Always. —

Clover’s life was perfect a year ago. He’d found four men to love, each essential to making him whole. Each one of them tough in their own way, part of a crew of mercenaries living on the wrong side of the law.

Tank was his loving Daddy, Pyro the wild one always pulling him into mischief, Boar taught him how to cook, and Drake showed him how to use knives in a wholly different fashion.

All Clover wanted was to finally be an equal in the group. So he trained, he pushed, and risked, but when real danger stared him in the face, he broke like a twig.

Now, with one of his lovers taken, Clover can’t find a way back to his former self. Each of the relationships they’d so meticulously built is fractured, and might never be the same.

If their group is to ever be whole again, Clover needs to find the courage he’s lost, but that means facing the monster who scarred him, and truths none of his men want to confront.

*

THEIR PROPERTY is a dark gay harem contemporary romance, book 3 in the “Four Mercenaries” trilogy. The story contains scenes of explicit violence, offensive language, morally ambiguous characters and lots of scorching hot, emotional, explicit scenes.

POSSIBLE SPOILERS:

Themes: polyamory, mercenaries, bounty hunters, albinism, commitment issues, dark past, male bonding, human trafficking, size difference, danger, alpha male, found family, size difference, distrust, shared, victim and protector, revenge, organized crime, angst, trauma, rescue, missing

Four Mercenaries Series 

Book #1 – Their Bounty – Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link

Book #2 – Their Obsession – Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link

TourGraphic-62.jpgAbout The Authors

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K.A. Merikan are a team of writers who try not to suck at adulting, with some success. Always eager to explore the murky waters of the weird and wonderful, K.A. Merikan don’t follow fixed formulas and want each of their books to be a surprise for those who choose to hop on for the ride.

K.A. Merikan have a few sweeter M/M romances as well, but they specialize in the dark, dirty, and dangerous side of M/M, full of bikers, bad boys, Mafiosi, and scorching hot romance.

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Release Blitz: Their Property by K. A. Merikan

Their Property | K. A. Merikan

Four Mercenaries #3

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Buy Links:

Exclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow with Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US | Amazon UK

Universal Link

Cover Design: Natasha Snow

Length: 75,000 words approx.

TheirProperty-KAM-f900-web.jpg

Blurb

— Bruised not broken. Loved. Always. —

Clover’s life was perfect a year ago. He’d found four men to love, each essential to making him whole. Each one of them tough in their own way, part of a crew of mercenaries living on the wrong side of the law.

Tank was his loving Daddy, Pyro the wild one always pulling him into mischief, Boar taught him how to cook, and Drake showed him how to use knives in a wholly different fashion.

All Clover wanted was to finally be an equal in the group. So he trained, he pushed, and risked, but when real danger stared him in the face, he broke like a twig.

Now, with one of his lovers taken, Clover can’t find a way back to his former self. Each of the relationships they’d so meticulously built is fractured, and might never be the same.

If their group is to ever be whole again, Clover needs to find the courage he’s lost, but that means facing the monster who scarred him, and truths none of his men want to confront.

*

THEIR PROPERTY is a dark gay harem contemporary romance, book 3 in the “Four Mercenaries” trilogy. The story contains scenes of explicit violence, offensive language, morally ambiguous characters and lots of scorching hot, emotional, explicit scenes.

POSSIBLE SPOILERS:

Themes: polyamory, mercenaries, bounty hunters, albinism, commitment issues, dark past, male bonding, human trafficking, size difference, danger, alpha male, found family, size difference, distrust, shared, victim and protector, revenge, organized crime, angst, trauma, rescue, missing

Four Mercenaries Series 

Book #1 – Their Bounty – Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link

Book #2 – Their Obsession – Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link

About The Authors

Copy of Copy of author_gnb.png

K.A. Merikan are a team of writers who try not to suck at adulting, with some success. Always eager to explore the murky waters of the weird and wonderful, K.A. Merikan don’t follow fixed formulas and want each of their books to be a surprise for those who choose to hop on for the ride.

K.A. Merikan have a few sweeter M/M romances as well, but they specialize in the dark, dirty, and dangerous side of M/M, full of bikers, bad boys, Mafiosi, and scorching hot romance.

Social Media

FACEBOOK PROFILE

K.A. MERIKAN’S TWITTER (RUN BY KAT)

AGNES MERIKAN’S TWITTER

K.A. MERIKAN ON GOODREADS

PINTEREST

M/F ROMANCE BY MISS MERIKAN

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Release Blitz: Open Water by Sophia Soames

Open Water | Sophia Soames

Scandinavian Comfort #2

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Cover Artist: Miriam Latu

Release Date: July 20, 2019

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 99,031 words

Buy Links

Available on KindleUnlimited

Universal Link

Amazon US | Amazon UK

Add on Goodreads

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Blurb

Meet Lukas Myrtengren, Mentor Teacher in Biology and Maths at Östra Real Senior School in Stockholm. He makes sure his students pass his classes. He is hopeless when it comes to men, but is trying to sort his life out. Honestly. He can’t keep living like this.

Meet Tom Andersson. Emergency room doctor and single dad. He has no idea how he has managed to mess up parenthood this bad. He hasn’t meant to, he just hasn’t got a clue how to deal with the son he loves to the point of insanity. He knows that he is drifting out to sea without a paddle, he just doesn’t know how to stop it.

Meet me, Max Andersson. Seventeen. Gay AF. An emotional wreck with no future, no skills and no clue. All I know is that I am in love. Helplessly. Desperately. And unrequited, of course. What else can I expect? It’s not like my life is going to get any better.

Welcome to Open Water.

Author’s Note: 

This is a standalone story and the second book in the Scandinavian Comfort series. These books celebrate love, family and realistic messy lives, threaded with the Scandinavian concept of “Hygge”.

This Danish concept cannot be translated to one single word but encompasses a feeling of cozy contentment and well-being through enjoying the simple things in life.

Reader Beware

This story is set in Sweden, where the age of consent is 16. The laws are there to protect children from abuse or exploitation, rather than to prosecute under-16s who participate in mutually consenting sexual activity.

There are a multitude of cultural differences described in this story that readers from other parts of the world might find strange or downright amusing, also family practices that not every Scandinavian family would necessarily agree with.

Trigger Warnings: anxiety, panic attacks and brief non-graphic flashbacks to traumatic events and bullying.

Excerpt

I actually manage to read two of the links before the sound of Dad’s homecoming echoes through the house. Big loud footfalls in the hallway. The swish of his coat being thrown over the banister. Huffing and puffing when he realises that we have no food in the fridge. Zero. We did have a banana, but I ate it. Serves him right for not coming home first.

He comes around the corner with a glass of water in his hand, still weirded out, like he doesn’t know where to look. What to say. Whether he should even step over the threshold.

“Did you eat?” he asks. Taking a gulp of water.

“Banana. We have no food,” I huff back, pretending to tap on the keyboard.

“I can go down to ICA. Get some supplies. What do you want?” He looks really confused. Fiddling with some chipped paint on the doorframe to my room.

“Dad, why did you do whatever you did to Lukas? What did he do?” I slam my laptop shut. I’m curious. Also, whatever he did will give me lots of ammo to use if I need it. Put some pressure on Lukas. Get back at my Dad when I need it. Secrets are good. I’m good at keeping them. I’m also good at using them.

“You will just hate me if I tell you. Some secrets are better kept inside,” he says, looking so fucking sad it almost breaks my heart.

“You never told me much about when you went to Östra Real. Did you do the whole graduation thing?”

“Yeah. I did everything. Student Committee, Student Council. Parties. Hazing. Rode all around town on a tractor trailer whilst drunk and disorderly. All that shit.”

“Cool.”

It is actually. Like my Dad was on the Student Council. And was in the Hazing group. I kind of nod appreciatively. Not that I approve of it, but the kids who run in those groups are like the cool kids. The A-team. People who matter.

“I hated it. I couldn’t wait to get out of there.” He is still looking sad.

“Are there photos? Did you keep any footage? I mean it must have been twenty years ago, but surely you had cameras?”

“I got rid of them all. I wanted to just kill off who I was. I wasn’t a nice person, Max. I hurt people and I was a fucking idiot.”

“Is that the reason you got rid of the Björklund name, Dad? Because that was what they called you? I heard Simon call you that. Weird.”

“Yeah, partly. I was so scared your Mum would change her mind about giving you up, so I got it removed when you were born, thinking that it would be harder to find us with a more common name. I used to have nightmares of her turning up and snatching you away from me.”

“She gave up her parental rights. Why would she come for me?” I don’t get it. Well, I do. I am the master of overthinking shit and making up drama in my head. Then panicking and freaking out over it.

“She could have changed her mind. Regretted giving you up. I don’t know.” Dad is messing around with his hair again, picking at that chipped paint. Tapping his toes against the carpet.

“So why Lukas?” I need to know why. I mean. It’s intriguing. It’s the kind of story that would make a good script for Drama. I could probably score extra points with Simon just writing all this shit down on paper.

“He was this really cool guy. I mean, he came out during our second year. Just like that, everyone knew and he fucking owned it. This handsome cool dude, who was just who he was. No drama about it. He was a cocky little shit and the girls adored him. There was always this cluster of girls hanging around him and he had these really solid mates who defended him and loved him to bits. I mean, it was almost sickening. He had it all. People thought he was the fucking business. And hell, Max, he was so fucking cute.

Dad stops himself and looks almost panic-stricken. Like he has said something totally wrong. Which it takes me a minute or two to compute.

“Cute?” I say. Fucking hell, Dad.

“Forget it. I am going to ICA. I’ll get meatballs. Or pizza. Or whatever.”

Yeah and a shit-ton of alcohol. Because Dad is freaking out and I almost crash my laptop onto the floor getting my feet tangled in the charging lead, following him out into the hallway.

“Dad. You were in love with him, weren’t you? That’s why you did it. You loved him. Fucking hell, Dad. After all this and you freaking loved him.”

 Little Harbour

Scandinavian Comfort #1

Available on Amazon, in KU and in paperback

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About the Author

Sophia Soames should be old enough to know better but has barely grown up. She has been known to fangirl over tv-shows, has fallen in and out of love with more popstars than she dares to remember, and has a ridiculously high-flying (un-)glamourous real-life job.

Her long-suffering husband just laughs at her antics. Their children are feral. The Au Pair just sighs.

She lives in a creaky old house in rural London, although her heart is still in Scandinavia.

Discovering that the stories in her head make sense when written down has been part of the most hilarious midlife crisis ever and she hopes it may long continue.

Miriam Latu is a Norway based artist, specializing in hand-drawn pencil portraits. She works with old-school pen and paper, and more of her work can be found on Instagram @om_hundre_ar_er_allting.

Social Media

Facebook | Twitter: @sophiasoames | Instagram: @sophiasoames

Giveaway

The previous book, 717 miles, a NA story set in London, will be FREE for 5 days from July 24.

No entry requirements, just log into Amazon (Mybook.to/717miles) and download your own free copy!

Happy reading!

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