Tag Archives: urban fantasy

Cover Reveal, Reveal Blitz and Blog Tour: Inheritance by Gail Z. Martin

Inheritance | Gail Z. Martin

Cover Artist: Lou Harper

Release Date: October 22, 2019

Heat Rating: 0 – 1 flame (No sex, kissing/hugging for MF and MM characters)

Length: 66 000 words/ 222 pages

It is the fourth book in the series but can be read as a standalone.

Buy Links

Amazon US | Amazon UK

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Blurb

Can Cassidy and her friends find the demon box, stop the killer ghosts, and break the Pendlewood curse before Beckford’s murderous cousins and the vengeful demon destroy them all?

Cassidy Kincaide runs Trifles & Folly in modern-day Charleston, an antiques and curio shop with a dangerous secret. Cassidy can read the history of objects by touching them, and she teams up with friends and allies who use magic and paranormal abilities to get rid of cursed objects and keep Charleston and the world safe from supernatural threats.

Caribbean ghosts terrorize Charleston and start racking up a body count. Then Beckford Pendlewood, the heir to a powerful family of dark warlocks, shows up raving about a bound demon locked in a lost box and begs sanctuary.

Can Cassidy and her friends find the demon box, stop the killer ghosts, and break the Pendlewood curse before Beckford’s murderous cousins and the vengeful demon destroy them all?

Note—Characters from my Morgan Brice (MM paranormal romance) books make several key appearances in this book. Also, a long-time committed MM couple figure prominently in the plot.

Excerpt

From Chapter 1

“I have a problem antique I’d like you to take a look at.” The man on the other end of the call sounded rattled. I recognized his name—Alfred Stone, from Stone Auctions—but I didn’t think we had ever spoken, let alone met.

“What kind of ‘problem’ does it present?” I asked. A number of possibilities came to mind. “Questionable provenance? Not sure how to authenticate?”

“I think it’s trying to kill me.”

Well, damn. That kind of problem. “All right, Mr. Stone. Try to stay calm.”

“I just told you, it’s trying to kill me. I heard you…know…about these things. Please, help me.”

Across the store, Teag Logan glanced up to make sure everything was all right. I nodded, and he went back to helping a customer.

“I can come now. Are you at the showroom?”

“Yes. Thank you. And…please…hurry.”

I ended the call and sighed. This might be the first time Alfred Stone had an antique try to kill him, but that made it just another day here at Trifles and Folly.

I’m Cassidy Kincaide, and I own Trifles and Folly, an antique and curio shop in historic, haunted Charleston, South Carolina. The shop has been in my family for more than three hundred years. While we’re known as a great place to buy high-quality antiques, the shop is also a cover for the Alliance, a coalition of mortals and immortals who save Charleston—and the world—from supernatural threats. I’m a psychometric, which means I can read the history and magic of objects by touching them. Teag is my assistant store manager, best friend, and sometimes bodyguard—and he’s also a talented Weaver witch. Sorren, my business partner, is a nearly six-hundred-year-old vampire. Together with some other friends with very specialized abilities, we do our best to keep the world safe from dark magic and things that go bump in the night.

“Problem?” Teag asked when the customer left.

“I’m not sure,” I replied. “Alfred Stone just called—from the auction house. He says he’s got an item that’s trying to kill him.”

“You want me to go with you?” Teag pushed a lock of dark hair out of his eyes. His skater-boy haircut and skinny jeans made him look younger than his late twenties. “Maggie can handle the store.”

On cue, Maggie—our lifesaver of a part-time associate—waved to agree from the other side of the store. She was sporting a new bright pink streak in her short gray hair, and it matched her sweater, a reminder—as if I needed one—that she believed in taking risks and living large.

I reached up to slick my humidity-frizzy strawberry blond hair back into a ponytail and shook my head. “Let me go see what the problem is, and I’ll figure out what to do from there. It’s not far away, in case I need to give a shout.”

About the Author

Gail Z. Martin writes epic fantasy, urban fantasy and steampunk for Solaris Books, Orbit Books, SOL Publishing, Darkwind Press, Worldbuilders Press and Falstaff Books. Recent books include Convicts and Exiles, Sellsword’s Oath, Inheritance, and Night Moves.

With Larry N. Martin, she is the co-author of the Spells Salt & Steel, Wasteland Marshals, Joe Mack and Jake Desmet series.

As Morgan Brice, she writes urban fantasy MM paranormal romance including the Witchbane, Badlands and Treasure Trail series. Recent books include The Rising, Flame and Ash.

Get a free complete short story, Catspaw here

Social Media

Blog | Website | Facebook | Facebook Group | Twitter @GailZMartin | Pinterest

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Lily Morton’s spooky jaunt around York is an utterly delightful treat

48703615._SY475_The Mysterious and Amazing Blue Billings by Lily Morton

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Two things:

1 – If this hadn’t been written by Lily Morton I would never have read it as I don’t really do ghosts and ghouls any more.

2 – It was set in York, a city that was almost a second home to me in my younger days and which I love, living as I do only 35 miles away.

So, the book. As you can probably tell by my rating and where I’ve shelved it, I absolutely LOVED it. Lily is without doubt one of my absolute favourite authors, and this had all the hallmarks I’d expect from her, but it was also quite a departure in storytelling.

Not that all the Lily Morton elements aren’t there. This book still has two characters who will steal your hearts. It’s still full of British banter and snark and it still has a heart-meltingly good romance anchoring the narrative.

BUT helpful ghosts and malevolent spirits are not the usual fare from Lily.

Painful pasts and dickhead exes and a real sense of place, which is vividly drawn in the location and the interactions between the main characters and their surroundings, are her hallmarks and are executed with flair here.

Lily slowly builds up the tension as poor Levi’s unexpected bequest of a house which overlooks Minster Yard (and OMG can I be jealous of a book character because those properties are stunning!) starts to feel just a little bit dangerous.

I do love a good ghost story, I just don’t usually read them any more, or visit York Dungeon, or walk down spooky streets late at night, because I’m no longer the devil may care young person I once was and I couldn’t run away if something did pop out of a gravestone 🤣

But not only did I read this one, I read it all in one go, not finishing it until gone midnight and I couldn’t put it down. Everything is perfectly placed.

The slow reveal of the mystery (and okay I guessed it at the start but that’s just because I usually do – I think it comes from years of devouring Agatha Christie as a teenager) was so very well done. I loved the different feel of how all the spirits interacted with both Levi and Blue. My heart hurt a lot at times but there’s also great joy in this book.

And, can I say, as secondary characters go, Lily not only has such a knack with creating ones which linger in the conscious and make you want their own stories, but she crafts them so real you can totally visualise a small bookshop, tucked away in site of the Minster, with a crotchety old man being rude to his customers but with a twinkle in his eye.

I LOVED Tom. I also vividly pictured Will and, while I know there’s another book at least for Black and Blue (and can I just say I love this title!), I wouldn’t be averse to seeing Will fall on his arse in love with someone (a rare breeds farmer would be perfect here, just saying Lily…)

If you hadn’t considered this book because it’s not Lily’s usual fare, please, please pick it up and read it, I promise you won’t regret it, because it pays homage to all the best things about this time of year.

And, if you’re ever up in York, take yourself on a Ghost Walk, they’re worth every penny to find out more about the secret side of this ancient and most beautiful cities. Pop in to the Minster while you’re there too, the Undercroft is worth the entry price alone.

As ever, all gushing totally my own work. I will be in York seeing Lily and a lot of other lovely book peeps in a week or so and I cannot wait to spend time in one of my favourite places ❤

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

View all my Goodreads reviews

Blog Tour: Convicted by Kim Fielding

Convicted | Kim Fielding

The Bureau #5

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Length: ~46K

Cover Artist: Reese Dante

Buy Links:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Kobo | Smashwords

 Add to Goodreads

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Blurb

Vietnam veteran Kurt Powell’s addiction almost cost him everything, but a job as federal agent with the Bureau of Trans-Species Affairs helped him find sobriety and purpose. Now he tracks down dangerous paranormal creatures as well as humans who abuse their magical powers in illegal ways.

Sent from Belfast to the United States as a boy, Desmond Hughes later fell into a disastrous relationship that led to horrific murders. He’s spent seventeen years in a bleak prison with few comforts and no hope of release.

A new mission throws Kurt and Des together in a desperate attempt to prevent disaster. Sometimes what’s long been lost can still be found, but the road to redemption is never easy—and a mutual attraction may not ease the way.

Series BlurbFor many years the United States government has been aware that Homo sapiens is not the only sentient species inhabiting the country. Some other species were native to the continent, while others immigrated along with humans. Early on, these nonhuman species (NHS) were largely ignored when they lived peacefully within human communities. At other times they were deemed a threat and local efforts were made to eradicate them. The federal government was not involved in these early efforts.

By the early 20th century, some local law enforcement agencies expressed frustration with their inability to deal effectively with the special needs of NHS. Localized incidents of mass violence occurred in several locations, most notably the Omaha Zombie Epidemic of 1908, the Manchester (New Hampshire) Melusine Drownings of 1911, and the Eugene (Oregon) Sasquatch Riots of 1915.

In response to these incidents, as well as a heightened desire for increased federal control, President Wilson created a new federal agency in 1919 called the Bureau of Trans-Species Affairs. The mission of this agency was to communicate with NHS, to control them, to investigate reported dangerous actions committed by them, and to bring them to justice or eliminate them when necessary. Since then, the Bureau has been quietly active throughout the United States. Its jurisdiction has expanded to include humans who engage in magical or paranormal activities.

Over the decades, a great many dramas have unfolded among the people who work for the Bureau. The Bureau stories are a collection of these tales. Each involves different protagonists and is set in a different era, yet all focus on the adventures and struggles of the Bureau’s agents. These novellas can be read in any order.

The Bureau Series

Corruption

Clay White

Creature

The Bureau Vol. 1 – includes first 3 books

Chained

About The Author

Kim Fielding 

Kim Fielding is very pleased every time someone calls her eclectic. A Lambda Award finalist and two-time Foreword INDIE finalist, she has migrated back and forth across the western two-thirds of the United States and currently lives in California, where she long ago ran out of bookshelf space.

She’s a university professor who dreams of being able to travel and write full time. She also dreams of having two daughters who fully appreciate her, a husband who isn’t obsessed with football, and a house that cleans itself. Some dreams are more easily obtained than others.

Social Media

Website: http://kfieldingwrites.com/

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/KFieldingWrites

Twitter: @KFieldingWrites

Instagram: @KFieldingWrites

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4105707.Kim_Fielding

QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/kim-fielding/

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Kim-Fielding/e/B006FN2T78

Giveaway

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Review Tour: Nightside by V. L. Locey

Nightside | V. L. Locey

An Erie Vampire Tale

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Buy Links:

Amazon US | Amazon UK 

Universal Link

Cover Design: Meredith Russell

Length: 50,236 words

READ MY REVIEW

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Blurb

Being a new member of the undead sect has its ups and downs, something that newly embraced Akio Lee is finding out first hand. Being able to spend eternity with his beloved Vincente, the man who introduced him to life in the nightside, is a definite up. Having to feed on strangers?

That’s one of the downsides, and something that Akio is finding difficult to swallow. But what other option is there for a recently wed vampire couple who need blood to survive?

Finding a new donor perhaps? One who comes into the lifestyle willingly, as Akio had done, and is open to the unique and sensual relationship that develops when three men have a blood bond.

A man who can exist in both the nightside and the dayside worlds. A man like Ian O’Keeffe, the handsome caretaker of the manse Akio and Vincente now call home? Ian seems to tick every box Akio and Vincente have—he’s comfortable around vampires, he’s obviously into men, he’s drop-dead gorgeous, he’s more than a little mischievous, and he’s human. Mostly.

But will the outgoing handyman be willing to offer two vampires his vein, his body, and his heart?

Erie Series

An Erie Collection – Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link

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About The Author

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V.L. Locey loves worn jeans, yoga, belly laughs, Doctor Who, Torchwood, walking, reading and writing lusty tales, Greek mythology, the New York Rangers, comic books, and coffee. (Not necessarily in that order.)

She shares her life with her husband, her daughter, one dog, two cats, two Jersey steers and a flock of assorted domestic fowl.

When not writing lusty tales, she can be found enjoying her day with her menagerie in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania with a cup of fresh java in hand.

Website | Goodreads | Amazon | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Blog

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Blog Tour: Mastering the Flames by S.J. Himes

Mastering the Flames | S.J. Himes

The Beacon Hill Sorcerer Series #4

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M/M Urban Fantasy

Release Date: 04.10.19

Buy Links: 

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07YM2XF52

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07YM2XF52

Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B07YM2XF52

Amazon AU: www.amazon.com.au/dp/B07YM2XF52

Amazon FR: https://amazon.fr/dp/B07YM2XF52

Amazon DE: https://amazon.de/dp/B07YM2XF52

Amazon IT: https://amazon.it/dp/B07YM2XF52

Amazon ES: https://amazon.es/dp/B07YM2XF52

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Blurb

Guilt-ridden after the massacre of his family, Isaac Salvatore turned to binge drinking to escape the pain. Now twenty-four years old, Isaac is a recovering alcoholic woefully out of practice in the magical arts, leaving his fire affinity hanging on the edge of disaster. After a month of rehab, he returns to Beacon Hill and his family, determined to remain sober, learn to control his magic, and figure out a plan for his life that doesn’t involve drinking.

Constantine Batiste is the oldest, most powerful vampire in the city. Born in ancient Gaul, the bastard son of a Celtic king, his long life has been shrouded in tragedy and horrors. Recent mistakes have left him wary and determined to guard his clan from all foes. When two of his clan members fall victim to an ancient evil, he summons the Necromancer of Boston for aid. Accompanying his older brother to the Tower is the handsome young fire mage once wounded by Constantine’s arrogance, and their encounter reignites an attraction that burns within both Constantine and Isaac.

The answer to who is targeting the vampires of Boston is buried in the dark, early days of Constantine’s transition to an immortal life. Isaac finds himself saddled with a painful insight into the evil cutting a swath through the supernatural population of Boston.

While his brother, Angel, takes over the hunt to find and stop the threat to the city, Isaac struggles to find a balance between helping his brother and finding his own purpose and place in the world, free from his brother’s shadow.

Falling in love wasn’t part of his plan, but mastering the flames that burn between him and Constantine soon becomes the most important thing in his life, even as an ancient evil seeks to destroy them.

Mastering the Flames is the fourth book in The Beacon Hill Sorcerer series and is not a standalone. The series should be read in order for maximum enjoyment and understanding of the plot and characters.

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Excerpt

Isaac woke to an incessant pounding in his head. He groaned, sat up, and realized his mistake. Someone was pounding on his door and he wasn’t hungover. Being back in his bedroom in the apartment after so long was fucking with his mind.

He tossed back the covers, brushed his long brown hair out of his eyes, and got out of bed. The sun poured through the bedroom window, warming the floor beneath his bare feet as he went to the door. He flung it open and scowled at the impish grin on his best friend’s face. Daniel flung himself forward and Isaac caught him, hugging the apprentice tightly. They were nearly the same height, and both were built lean with similar frames. If not for the hair and skin coloring, they could pass for brothers. Daniel was fair and bright, and Isaac had naturally darker skin that was tanned as if he spent his days under the sun, his hair dark brown with remnants of fire-red highlights.

“You’re home! I’m so glad!” Daniel cried, and Isaac chuckled.

“Hey, Danny,” Isaac replied in greeting. “Angel said he made you go out last night. Lemme guess, Rory was lonely again?”

Daniel pulled back, Isaac’s teasing making him blush. Daniel was a pretty man. Isaac suspected Daniel was entirely unaware of just how gorgeous he was, as there wasn’t even a hint of vanity to be seen in his personality.

“I wanted to stay and see you when you got home, but Angel said you were probably going to crash.” Daniel hedged, biting his lip. “Rory is all alone out there. He still refuses to stay in the Mansion, sleeping in the greenhouse instead. I feel bad for him.”

“I’m sure that’s all you feel,” Isaac teased, and Daniel’s blush went inferno. “My first night home and my best friend bails to hang with a super-hot fae.”

“Hey!” Daniel glared, but his eyes were twinkling. “I am glad you’re home. Going to Nevermore to visit was awkward.”

After the chaos of the first week of his stay, and when his horrific withdrawal was over, Daniel came to visit three times a week, bringing news from home. The High Council was booted from New York City, Portland, Seattle, and Miami, after those cities refused to cooperate with the consulates and magisters stationed therein. They took the chance after Angel defeated the High Magister, forcing the Council to abandon their footholds in Montreal and Boston. In two weeks’ time, half a dozen American cities declared their independence, and rumors swirled that New Orleans was next, with a certain female necromancer and her undead army leading the charge. Angel was being credited with a major shake up in world governments, and he was grumpy about it.

Isaac grabbed his shower kit and a towel and left his room for the bathroom down the hall. He and Daniel shared the hall bath, since Angel had his own in the master bedroom. Daniel followed him in and sat on the sink while Isaac used the toilet then stripped, turning on the shower and waiting for the hot water to start. They didn’t really have any boundaries, not like Isaac and Angel did. Angel was big on personal space and privacy. Isaac really didn’t care. Daniel chatted away, sharing that he’d taken Rory to the City Museum, watched the Marathon at the finish line, and convinced the fae to let Angel front him some money and a credit card.

Isaac hopped in the shower, but left the curtain partially open, listening to Daniel. “I’m with Rory in the bank, and he drops a pouch of gold on the counter, and the teller’s eyes get huge! Some nuggets were bigger than a tennis ball! It was a mess though, since the bank manager thought Rory was his crazy brother, then the cops got called and I had to use the SOS on my phone and Angel came and made everyone leave us alone….” Daniel was excited and his run-on sentence was a non-stop adventure from beginning to end. “Angel puts his foot down, though by this time O’Malley has shown up, the cops are all like, ‘Where did all this gold come from, how’d ya get it?’ Some of them seemed to think Rory was suspicious—he told them his last name, and tons of the police know what Cian looks like, so things got really tense. Rory got all haughty and declared he’d got it from a Roman Caesar for dispatching an orc raid pillaging through a province over 1,800 years ago.”

Daniel shook his head, sighing. “When Angel arrived, I’d never seen humans get so quiet before. Everyone shut up, let Rory gather up his gold, and Angel gave Rory an account in his name from the Salvatore fund and the bank gave him a debit and credit card and a pile of cash.” Daniel was animated, talking with his hands, heels kicking against the cabinet under the sink.

Isaac laughed while he washed, dunking his head under the spray. Watching Daniel talk with so much emotion was enjoyable. His friend was blooming. There was a huge difference in him even in the last month.

Isaac rinsed, then hopped out, Daniel tossing him the towel. He dried off while thinking about the shenanigans his family experienced while he was going through boring group therapy and meditation sessions. “How did Angel get Rory out of the bank?”

Daniel grinned and flipped back a strand of bright blond hair from his eyes. “Eroch saw the gold, curled up on the pouch in Rory’s arms, and hissed at anyone who got too close. No one wanted to piss off the fire-breathing dragon, so Angel declared we were leaving. We went out to eat then took Rory home. Angel refused the gold in exchange for the modern currency, saying the currency was payment for restoring the gardens and the greenhouse. Rory gave Eroch a huge nugget of gold in thanks, and Eroch has it stashed in Angel’s bathroom on a stack of towels in the corner behind the toilet.”

“What? Oh, I bet Angel loves that!” Isaac laughed at the image of Eroch nesting on a gold egg, grumbling whenever Angel went in to use the toilet. Isaac stopped laughing, a sudden thought worrying him. “Wait. Eroch doesn’t think it’s an egg, right?”

Daniel shrugged, and his face fell with sympathy. “No idea. That would be sad, though. Maybe Angel knows. Poor Eroch, if he does.” Daniel paused, eyes wide in alarm. Isaac stopped drying himself, wondering what was wrong. Daniel leaned in and whispered, “What if we got Eroch’s gender wrong? What if he isn’t a he? What if he’s a girl?”

Isaac wrapped the towel around his waist. “We’ve been calling him a male for a year, Danny. If he cared at all, he would have made it known. I think we’re okay.”

“I don’t wanna assume. We’ve been so rude.”

“If he were humanoid and had human ideas of gender, then yes, we’ve been rude.” Daniel rolled his eyes at Isaac then slid off the sink. “Ok, fine. We can ask him at breakfast.” Daniel waved at Isaac over his shoulder as he left the bathroom, dismissing him. “What did I say? Make me some tea!” Isaac called after Daniel who grumbled back at him about being rude, but the water running and the clicking of the stove burner told him Daniel heard him.

Hopefully they didn’t make anything explode this time.

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About The Author

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My name is Sheena, and I have more pen names than I probably should. I write as SJ Himes, Revella Hawthorne, and Sheena Himes. I reside in the mountains of Maine (closer to Canada than I am to fresh lobster) on a 300-year-old farm beside a river in the woods.

My companions are my furbabies: Micah, my large dog who hates birds; and Wolf and Silfur, two cats who love me but hate each other. I write romances with an emphasis on plot and character development, and almost all my characters are LGBTQ+ and that’s on purpose.

To keep current on what I’m working on and where to find me on social media, go to my website: www.sjhimes.com

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Release Blitz: Nightside by V. L. Locey

Nightside | V. L. Locey

An Erie Vampire Tale

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Buy Links:

Amazon US | Amazon UK 

Universal Link

Cover Design: Meredith Russell

Length: 50,236 words

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Blurb

Being a new member of the undead sect has its ups and downs, something that newly embraced Akio Lee is finding out first hand. Being able to spend eternity with his beloved Vincente, the man who introduced him to life in the nightside, is a definite up. Having to feed on strangers?

That’s one of the downsides, and something that Akio is finding difficult to swallow. But what other option is there for a recently wed vampire couple who need blood to survive?

Finding a new donor perhaps? One who comes into the lifestyle willingly, as Akio had done, and is open to the unique and sensual relationship that develops when three men have a blood bond.

A man who can exist in both the nightside and the dayside worlds. A man like Ian O’Keeffe, the handsome caretaker of the manse Akio and Vincente now call home? Ian seems to tick every box Akio and Vincente have—he’s comfortable around vampires, he’s obviously into men, he’s drop-dead gorgeous, he’s more than a little mischievous, and he’s human. Mostly.

But will the outgoing handyman be willing to offer two vampires his vein, his body, and his heart?

Erie Series

An Erie Collection – Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link

About The Author

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V.L. Locey loves worn jeans, yoga, belly laughs, Doctor Who, Torchwood, walking, reading and writing lusty tales, Greek mythology, the New York Rangers, comic books, and coffee. (Not necessarily in that order.)

She shares her life with her husband, her daughter, one dog, two cats, two Jersey steers and a flock of assorted domestic fowl.

When not writing lusty tales, she can be found enjoying her day with her menagerie in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania with a cup of fresh java in hand.

Website | Goodreads | Amazon | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Blog

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Release Blitz: Precariously Mated by Jessamyn Kingley

Precariously Mated | Jessamyn Kingley

D’Vaire #14

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Cover Artist: LJ Anderson of Mayhem Cover Creations

Release Date: October 24, 2019

Heat Rating: 3 flames

Buy Links:

Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US | Amazon UK

Add on Goodreads

Blurb

A precarious road is no match for an enduring friendship of two strong hearts.

At the tender age of eighteen, Prince Niko Kyrkosdraconis finds himself at a dragon fair, trying his best to maintain his strict schedule of rituals that have followed him since birth, when Fate steps in. The appearance of two strangers alters the course of his life, and Niko sets upon an unforeseen path.

Centuries later, Niko is doing whatever he can to pick up the pieces of his shattered world. Unsteady and uncertain, he struggles to place faith in both himself and those around him. Much to his surprise, he finds himself with a new best friend who he grows to trust like no one else before.

Royal Duke Costas Draconis is happy to be back with the men he calls family after ten years of caring for his irascible parents. Having a knack for money, he is once again entrusted with making the dragons prosperous. Costas is surrounded by loved ones and thriving on the outside, but deep inside he yearns for his mate.

Then Niko comes into his life. Costas loves the time they spend together, especially their nightly talks on the roof deck, but he must constantly remind himself that the man is not for him.

Niko and Costas go to great lengths to hide their feelings for one another and everyone else, fearful that the future holds nothing but heartache. But things are never what they seem, and Fate will always have the last word, even when you doubt her.

As the obstacles before them are slowly peeled back, will Costas and Niko find a way to call each other mate? The road ahead is precarious, and in the end, Fate will have her say, and only then can Niko and Costas prove that the strongest hearts will prevail.

Excerpt

Niko lifted his beer to his lips and drank deeply. It was a bit cool outside as the sky darkened, but he wouldn’t dare retreat indoors—not unless he and Costas could find another beautiful spot to hang out and discuss whatever topic burdening their minds. It was not a ritual but a tradition they’d built since the moment he arrived.

“Why are you grinning at your beer?”

Glancing up, Niko smiled brighter. “I just realized it’s been three months since I moved here.”

“Wow, has it really?”

“Yes, and this was the second week in a row I was able to handle scrubbing my bathroom and bedroom only two times.” He refused to feel ashamed of those moments when his anxiety ruled over everything and he had to give in to compulsive actions. There were days when he went to bed happy that he’d only obsessed over things he didn’t want to forget and others where he was frustrated that even while trying to rest he felt tension. It was all a part of who he was, and just like the thoughts that still circled until he forced himself to stop listening, Niko handled it the best he could.

“Is there anything you haven’t succeeded in since you arrived?”

“I don’t think I’ve improved very much with my cooking,” Niko answered thoughtfully. The men in the house didn’t complain, but so far nothing he’d made was tempting to his own palate. Maybe he was being too picky. If his new family enjoyed it, then why couldn’t he? He wished he had more time to experiment but with his rituals, desire to read books to improve at his job, and the schedule the royals had to maintain with events he had to stick with weekends and one or two nights a week. He deemed himself lucky that no matter what was going on, Costas always found time to meet him out on the roof deck each night.

“Why do you say that?” Costas’s voice sounded off somehow, but Niko didn’t see anything troubling in his gaze.

“I don’t think it’s that tasty.”

“I’m sure you just need to find recipes with ingredients you like more.”

“Perhaps that’s it.” However, he’d purposely set out to pick ones that featured his favorite things, so Niko wasn’t sure he agreed but he didn’t want to hurt Costas’s feelings by dismissing his suggestion.

“The good news is that you’re trying.”

“I feel like all I’ve done since I got here is try new things. It’s been so wonderful to have so many opportunities. I can hardly fathom everything I’ve learned of this incredible Council and the people in it. I like my job even if it intimidates me still.”

“Sometimes we have to do things that scare us for our own good.”

“That does seem to be the case for me. I thought my anxiety would grow with new experiences but instead, I’m doing better at managing it. It certainly hasn’t come close to disappearing and I do freak out internally on a regular basis, but I’m slowly learning new ways to cope.”

“I’m so proud of you.”

Niko grinned at the handsome man reclining next to his chaise. Costas’s approval meant the world to him, but the most important person he’d impressed was himself. His dragon flew every few days and each time they soared together, Niko was granted more of his fortitude. Together Niko and his beast were forging themselves into a more confident version of himself, less reliant upon fear. It did help that everything that made him sick to his stomach was still in Greece. Niko still woke at night from terrifying memories of his time with his mates, but he refused to stay a prisoner to it. “Me too.”

“Elf’s excited about the law to help shifters get their training.”

“I know. I’ve been fielding calls from other shifter leaders for the past two weeks. You had a great idea, and I don’t see how it won’t be passed. There has hardly been any dissension.”

“I was inspired by you. You shouldn’t have had to shift by yourself without any training.”

As Niko examined his life, those scary minutes or however long he’d sat outside waiting for his dragon didn’t resonate as deeply as other moments. Yes, he’d been afraid, but his beast has assured him they were going to be okay. It was his position as mate to Andriana and Gelon that had broken him in so many ways. But those weren’t things he could speak to Costas about despite their close friendship. “I suppose not.”

“You have a faraway look on your face.”

“I was considering my past. It seems as if each day my picture of it alters.”

“Sometimes profound changes can do that. I had a similar experience when I had to leave here to take care of my parents. Suddenly I realized how much I’d taken for granted.”

“You gave up one family to do your duty to another.”

“Yeah, and it was cold comfort when my father berated me as my mother cried because she couldn’t figure out who either of us was.” Costas leaned his head back as he frowned. “I hope they’re happy now without pain or lacking anything they want.”

“Me too, and I’m sorry you weren’t able to resolve all your issues with them.”

“My father refused to listen to my feelings on any subject. I fooled myself into believing we could ever mend what was broken.”

“My father was much the same. It was his way and I had no voice.” Niko understood now that his parents had never loved him, and they’d kicked him out at the first opportunity. Growing up without their affection had made him believe he was the one lacking when the fault lay with them.

“You know, it’s been a long time since you spoke to him. Have you considered writing to him now? We know his kingdom is part of the Council.”

“I was cast aside because he disapproved of my mates. They are still the same. And that was simply an excuse anyway. I can see now that he never cared for me or my feelings.”

“Are you sure? Once they pass, there’s no winding back the clock.”

Niko turned to Costas and set his beer down. “Do you know I never learned to ride a horse?”

Costas lifted an eyebrow. “How in the world did you get around? It’s not like we had cars when you were young.”

“He decreed that I was to ride in a cart.”

“Did he give a reason?”

“I was a shy child who was overwhelmed by things easily. I’ve mentioned before that my sister practically raised me. Nitsa was always there to take me outside to play or read me stories. My father hated it. He told me I did nothing but weep and hide behind her skirts. I think I was five or six years old at the time. When the other young boys were being given lessons in weaponry, he told me I wasn’t welcome to learn. He wasn’t going to waste any coin on having a blade made or take up any of the trainers’ time with the likes of me.”

“Your father sounds like an asshole.”

About the Author

Jessamyn Kingley lives in Nevada where she begs the men in her head to tell her their amazing stories which she dutifully writes it all down in what has become a small mountain of notebooks. She falls in love with each couple and swears whatever book she wrote last is her absolute favorite.

Jessamyn is married and working toward remembering to start the dishwasher without being distracted by the scent of the magical detergent. For personal enjoyment, she aids in cat rescue while slashing and gashing her way through mobs in various MMORPGs. Caffeine is her very best friend and is only cast aside briefly for the sin better known as BBQ potato chips.

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