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99c Book Blast: Power Plays & Straight A’s by Eden Finley & Saxon James

Power Plays & Straight A’s | Eden Finley & Saxon James

CU Hockey #1

BOOK BLAST copy

Original Release Date: June 29th, 2020

Cover Artist: Story Styling Cover Designs

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 75 000 words

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Only 99c from January 28 – 30

Also available on Kindle Unlimited

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Power Plays COVER

Blurb

FOSTER:

“Look out for Zach and don’t hit on him.”

My brother’s request sounds easy enough. Keep an eye out for his best friend on campus and keep my hands to myself.

Easy.

Even if Zach is a quintessential nerd, who I’ve always thought was cute, I don’t have the time to think with my … stick.

There’s only one stick I should be focused on this year, and that’s my hockey stick. My goal once I graduate is to get an NHL contract.

The last thing I need is a distraction. On or off the ice.

Only, keeping to the rules is harder than I thought it would be.


ZACH:

People confuse me.

And no one more than Foster Grant.

I’ve barely spoken two words to him in the whole time I’ve known him, but the second I step foot on campus, he’s impossible to shake.

I can never anticipate his next move. And whenever we’re together, my next move is a total mystery as well.

I want to give in to him, but that might mean coming clean about something I’ve never been bothered about before.

I’m still carrying my V-card.

And I think it’s time to turn it in.

BANNER 2

Excerpt

I throw my helmet against the wall, and it crashes to the ground with a loud thunk.

The anger, adrenaline, and urge to fight still boil under my skin. I didn’t get a long enough shot at Morris.

I should be pissed I’m out of the game, but I’m not. I don’t regret doing what I did one bit. I only regret letting him get a punch in.

What are his knuckles made of? Diamonds?

I run my finger along my eyebrow, and it comes away sticky with blood. Not a lot, but it stings like a bitch.

I need to get my skates off. I need to jump around and pace the room and try to get all this extra energy out.

All I was picturing while I was out there was the Zach I spent the entire day with last week—the one who smiles and jokes and isn’t so tense—being bullied by that dickhead, and I lost it.

As I sit on the bench to undo my laces, the door opens, and I prepare for one of the coaches to yell obscenities at me for the next five minutes while the rest of the period plays out.

I don’t even acknowledge whoever it is. I keep my head down and continue to unlace my skates.

“F-foster?”

My head darts up at the unsure voice.

There stands Zach, looking sexy as fuck in my jersey. His hair is messy like he’s been running his hand through it, and his nerdy glasses frame his green eyes in a way that drives me crazy.

“How … how did you get in here?”

“Seth. He said we’re your brothers and wanted to check on you.”

Thinking of Zach as my brother makes me feel skeevy and gross, but I ignore it because I don’t really care how he got into the locker room. It means a lot that he’s here. “Is that what you’re doing? Checking on me?”

He takes two tentative steps closer, and then, as if all at once, he decides to go for it.

Zach approaches and drops to his knees in front of me.

My breath catches at the sight.

Long, thin fingers run along the top of my brow and down my cheek. “You’re hurt.”

I huff. “I’ll live.” I might not live if he doesn’t keep touching me; it feels so good.

I want to lean into his hand, but I hold strong. I don’t want to scare him off.

“W-why did you do that?” he asks.

I could lie. I could tell him it’s the sport and fights happen. But everyone out there knows that wasn’t a typical fight. I targeted Morris from the start, and even though we were hardly on the ice at the same time, the second I got my chance to go for him, I did.

“Morris is a dick.”

Zach tries to pull his hand from my face, but I don’t let him. My hand covers his, holding it to my cheek.

He averts his gaze. “Seth told me you know … about him. And me.”

“You and him. Wait, there was a you and him? Like, together?”

“No. He … I don’t know if he’s a special kind of asshole or what, but he …”

“You don’t need to tell me. Seth told me enough.”

His hand finally drops, and I let it. “So out there … on the ice …”

“It was for you.”

“I didn’t ask you to do that.” His voice is so soft. So him.

“You never would,” I murmur. “Morris has to learn karma’s a bitch. He had no right to treat you like that.”

“Will you get in trouble?”

“No doubt.”

“You shouldn’t have—”

“Zach?”

His eyes meet mine.

“It was worth it.”

PP&SA 5.2

About the Authors

Saxon Logo

Saxon James is an author from Aus who’s obsessed with writing queer characters. She has a range of books from YA to adult and they all have one thing in common: swoony, sweet love.

When not writing, Saxon exists on a diet of coffee and chocolate while putting her KU subscription to the test.

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Eden Finley

Eden Finley is an Amazon bestselling author who writes steamy contemporary romances that are full of snark and light-hearted fluff.

She doesn’t take anything too seriously and lives to create an escape from real life for her readers. The ideas always begin with a wackadoodle premise, and she does her best to turn them into romances with heart.

She’s also an Australian girl and apologises for her Australianisms that sometimes don’t make sense to anyone else.

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Audio Blitz: The Man From Milwaukee by Rick R. Reed & Narrated by Donald Davenport

The Man from Milwaukee | Rick R. Reed

Man from Milwaukee Audio Banner

Narrator: Donald Davenport

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: July 20, 2020

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 7 hrs and 10 mins

Buy Link: Audible

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Blurb

It’s the summer of 1991 and serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer has been arrested. His monstrous crimes inspire dread around the globe. But not so much for Emory Hughes, a closeted young man in Chicago who sees in the cannibal killer a kindred spirit, someone who fights against the dark side of his own nature, as Emory does. He reaches out to Dahmer in prison via letters.

The letters become an escape—from Emory’s mother dying from AIDS, from his uncaring sister, from his dead-end job in downtown Chicago, but most of all, from his own self-hatred.

Dahmer isn’t Emory’s only lifeline as he begins a tentative relationship with Tyler Kay. He falls for him and, just like Dahmer, wonders how he can get Tyler to stay. Emory’s desire for love leads him to confront his own grip on reality. For Tyler, the threat of the mild-mannered Emory seems inconsequential, but not taking the threat seriously is at his own peril.

Can Emory discover the roots of his own madness before it’s too late and he finds himself following in the footsteps of the man from Milwaukee?

Excerpt

The Man from Milwaukee
Rick R. Reed © 2020
All Rights Reserved

Headlines

Dahmer appeared before you in a five o’clock edition, stubbled dumb countenance surrounded by the crispness of a white shirt with pale-blue stripes. His handsome face, multiplied by the presses, swept down upon Chicago and all of America, to the depths of the most out-of-the-way villages, in castles and cabins, revealing to the mirthless bourgeois that their daily lives are grazed by enchanting murderers, cunningly elevated to their sleep, which they will cross by some back stairway that has abetted them by not creaking. Beneath his picture burst the dawn of his crimes: details too horrific to be credible in a novel of horror: tales of cannibalism, sexual perversity, and agonizing death, all bespeaking his secret history and preparing his future glory.

Emory Hughes stared at the picture of Jeffrey Dahmer on the front page of the Chicago Tribune, the man in Milwaukee who had confessed to “drugging and strangling his victims, then dismembering them.” The picture was grainy, showing a young man who looked timid and tired. Not someone you’d expect to be a serial killer.

Emory took in the details as the L swung around a bend: lank pale hair, looking dirty and as if someone had taken a comb to it just before the photograph was snapped, heavy eyelids, the smirk, as if Dahmer had no understanding of what was happening to him, blinded suddenly by notoriety, the stubble, at least three days old, growing on his face. Emory even noticed the way a small curl topped his shirt’s white collar. The L twisted, suddenly a ride from Six Flags, and Emory almost dropped the newspaper, clutching for the metal pole to keep from falling. The train’s dizzying pace, taking the curves too fast, made Emory’s stomach churn.

Or was it the details of the story that were making the nausea in him grow and blossom? Details like how Dahmer had boiled some of his victim’s skulls to preserve them…

Milwaukee Medical Examiner Jeffrey Jentzen said authorities had recovered five full skeletons from Dahmer’s apartment and partial remains of six others. They’d discovered four severed heads in his kitchen. Emory read that the killer had also admitted to cannibalism.

“Sick, huh?” Emory jumped at a voice behind him. A pudgy man, face florid with sweat and heat, pressed close. The bulge of the man’s stomach nudged against the small of Emory’s back.

Emory hugged the newspaper to his chest, wishing there was somewhere else he could go. But the L at rush hour was crowded with commuters, moist from the heat, wearing identical expressions of boredom.

“Hard to believe some of the things that guy did.” The man continued, undaunted by Emory’s refusal to meet his eyes. “He’s a queer. They all want to give the queers special privileges and act like there’s nothing wrong with them. And then look what happens.” The guy snorted. “Nothing wrong with them…right.”

Emory wished the man would move away. The sour odor of the man’s sweat mingled with cheap cologne, something like Old Spice.

Hadn’t his father worn Old Spice?

Emory gripped the pole until his knuckles whitened, staring down at the newspaper he had found abandoned on a seat at the Belmont stop. Maybe if he sees I’m reading, he’ll shut up. Every time the man spoke, his accent broad and twangy, his voice nasal, Emory felt like someone was raking a metal-toothed comb across the soft pink surface of his brain.

Neighbors had complained off and on for more than a year about a putrid stench from Dahmer’s apartment. He told them his refrigerator was broken and meat in it had spoiled. Others reported hearing hand and power saws buzzing in the apartment at odd hours.

“Yeah, this guy Dahmer… You hear what he did to some of these guys?”

Emory turned at last. He was trembling, and the muscles in his jaw clenched and unclenched. He knew his voice was coming out high, and that because of this, the man might think he was queer, but he had to make him stop.

“Listen, sir, I really have no use for your opinions. I ask you now, very sincerely, to let me be so that I might finish reading my newspaper.”

The guy sucked in some air. “Yeah, sure,” he mumbled.

Emory looked down once more at the picture of Dahmer, trying to delve into the dots that made up the serial killer’s eyes. Perhaps somewhere in the dark orbs, he could find evidence of madness. Perhaps the pixels would coalesce to explain the atrocities this bland-looking young man had perpetrated, the pain and suffering he’d caused.

To what end?

“Granville next. Granville will be the next stop.” The voice, garbled and cloaked in static, alerted Emory that his stop was coming up.

As the train slowed, Emory let the newspaper, never really his own, slip from his fingers. The train stopped with a lurch, and Emory looked out at the familiar green sign reading Granville. With the back of his hand, he wiped the sweat from his brow and prepared to step off the train.

Then an image assailed him: Dahmer’s face, lying on the brown, grimy floor of the L, being trampled.

Emory turned back, bumping into commuters who were trying to get off the train, and stooped to snatch the newspaper up from the gritty floor.

Tenderly, he brushed dirt from Dahmer’s picture and stuck the newspaper under his arm.

*

Kenmore Avenue sagged under the weight of the humidity as Emory trudged home, white cotton shirt sticking to his back, face moist. At the end of the block, a Loyola University building stood sentinel—gray and solid against a wilted sky devoid of color, sucking in July’s heat and moisture like a sponge.

Emory fitted his key into the lock of the redbrick high-rise he shared with his mother and sister, Mary Helen. Behind him, a car grumbled by, muffler dragging, transmission moaning. A group of four children, Hispanic complexions darkened even more by the sun, quarreled as one of them held a huge red ball under his arm protectively.

As always, the vestibule smelled of garlic and cooking cabbage, and as always, Emory wondered from which apartment these smells, grown stale over the years he and his family had lived in the building, had originally emanated.

In the mailbox was a booklet of coupons from Jewel, a Commonwealth Edison bill, and a newsletter from Test Positive Aware. Emory shoved the mail under his arm and headed up the creaking stairs to the third floor.

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About the Author

Real Men. True Love.

Rick R. Reed is an award-winning and bestselling author of more than fifty works of published fiction. He is a Lambda Literary Award finalist. Entertainment Weekly has described his work as “heartrending and sensitive.” Lambda Literary has called him: “A writer that doesn’t disappoint…”

Rick lives in Palm Springs, CA, with his husband, Bruce, and their fierce Chihuahua/Shiba Inu mix, Kodi.

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About the Narrator

Donald Davenport. I am a screenwriter, author, educator and podcaster. I am also a film producer and director.

donalddavenport.com

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Absolutely glorious festive romance with a delicious hint of spice

55932311._SY475_Merry Cherry Christmas by Keira Andrews

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Keira Andrews knows how to write a festive romance which has just enough spice to ensure the sweet never overpowers.

For this, she goes to college with a jock and a nerd who fulfil all the necessary trope requirements while still managing to bring fresh enjoyment to their romance.

It also happens over a relatively short time period, but it’s completely missing any feeling of insta love.

Instead, it seems like Jeremy and Max have been friends forever, the attraction between them is palpable from the off and I loved the dynamics of their relationship.

Max is very much the nurturing type, he was captain of his team and he just wants to take care of Jeremy.

And the gorgeous redheaded anxiety full science nerd is an utterly delightful bundle of innocence.

I loved the interplay between them, I also loved that Max’s sporty mates were all cool dudes and there was no angsting about him being gay.

Instead, the tensions came from Jeremy’s parents being cool with him and from Max’s fears over failing in his promise to his dead mum.

Max’s family were also awesome and I very much loved the guest appearances from Nick and Hunter (Santa Daddy) at their Christmas tree farm.

As is often the case with Keira, there’s a delicious frisson of light kink which prevents the book becoming overly Schmaltzy and I totally appreciated that!

I also appreciated the interracial relationship and that Max’s family were originally from Goa. It added an extra element to his determination to live up to his mother’s legacy and the experience she’d been given by her family in turn making sacrifices as immigrant settlers in Canada.

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

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