Category Archives: Book Tours

Tall, Dark and Deported Guest Post with Excerpt by Bru Baker

 

Title: Tall, Dark, and Deported
Author: Bru Baker
Release date: April 1, 2017
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Bree Archer
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: 236 pages
Tags: Gay; M/M; Dreamspun Desires
Blurb
Crossing the border into love.
Snap decisions and misguided ideas bring Portuguese national Mateus Fontes and businessman Crawford Hargrave together at the Canadian border crossing.
Mateus is caught in a catch-22. With his almost-expired tourist visa, entrance to Canada is denied, but the US won’t let him back in either. Crawford thinks he’s solved things when he tells the border agent they’re engaged, and it works—except now they have to actually get married before either of them can get back into the United States. But Crawford has been burned by marriage once, and he’s determined not to make that mistake again.
Neither of them expects real feelings to bloom out of their fake marriage, but they do. And the two of them have to learn how to be honest with each other to make things work, which is especially hard when their entire marriage is based on lies.
Buy links:

Dreamspinner Press, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Google Play

Attachments: [cover] [headshot]

Hi, I’m Bru Baker. Thanks for joining me on the Kimi-chan Experience today as I wrap up my blog tour for Tall, Dark, and Deported. I’ve had a blast talking about the book, and as always I’m a little sad to be finishing up. If you missed any of the posts (especially the three video readings I did!) you can find links to all of them on my website, http://www.bru-baker.com.

I’ll be at the L.A. Times Festival of Books on April 22-23 at the Dreamspinner Press booth, and I’ll be signing copies of Tall, Dark, and Deported that weekend. Last year I had a book signing at Romantic Times and thought that was a huge event, but the Festival of Books is exponentially larger. I’m torn between quaking in my boots at the sheer size of the event (I’m told average attendance for the weekend is about 150,000 people) and vibrating with excitement. Admission is free, so if you’re in the LA area come on by and say hello!

All through the tour I’ve talked about how much I love the tropes and fluff of the Dreamspun Desires series, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that I jumped at the chance to write a Dreamspun Beyond, the new paranormal line Dreamspinner Press is introducing later this year. While Adrian and Tate aren’t quite as sweet as their counterparts in Tall, Dark, and Deported, they’ll get their shot at a fluffy romance in Camp H.O.W.L.

Here’s a sneak peek at the book’s blurb:

Adrian was born into a family of werewolves, so he has no reason to think he won’t have his “werewolf puberty” right in line with everyone else his age. But he doesn’t, and the doctors are stumped. It seems he’s human. That is, until almost eight years later, when he finds himself starting his Turn halfway across the country from his Pack, scared and alone.

Tate walked away from his crazy Pack more than ten years ago, and he’s done everything he can to cut ties. He’s even changed his name to distance himself from his father, who is not only the Alpha of the Pack but also a polygamist. Werewolves believe in moonmates, a rare bond between two werewolves who are the perfect complement for each other. Tate’s father has claimed five, which is part of the reason Tate is stalwartly against the idea that moonmates exist.

Tate works for Camp H.O.W.L., a facility where Adrian ends up because he needs to learn how to control his shift. All the other campers are nineteen, which doesn’t exactly make for a comforting environment for 27-year-old Adrian. The fact that he and Tate are moonmates further complicates things, especially since Tate is so dead-set against it.

As Adrian learns to control his wolf, Tate has to learn how to come to terms with his past and move forward—preferably with Adrian. A moonmate is a wolf’s missing piece, and Tate is missing a lot of pieces. But don’t worry, Adrian is up to the challenge.

— Camp H.O.W.L., release date late 2017

Bio:

Bru Baker spent fifteen years writing for newspapers before making the jump to fiction. She now balances her time between writing and working at a Midwestern library in the reference department. Most evenings you can find her curled up with a mug of tea, some fuzzy socks, and a book or her laptop. Whether it’s creating her own characters or getting caught up in someone else’s, there’s no denying that Bru is happiest when she’s engrossed in a story. She and her husband have two children, which means a lot of her books get written from the sidelines of various sports practices.

Visit Bru online at http://www.bru-baker.com or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

Leap of Faith Blog Tour Guest Post and Excerpt by Jackie Keswick

Thank you so much for hosting a stop on the Leap of Faith blog tour and for giving me the chance to talk a little about my FireWorks boys, Joel Weston and Kieran Ross, and the town I built for them. FireWorks Security, the firm Joel’s father Joseph and uncle Dale have founded, has its base in Lissand, a seaside town in Connecticut. Which – for those of us not living in that part of the world – is entirely fictional.

I was born and grew up inland, but I studied at the coast and ever since I’ve wanted to set a story in a seaside town. Not necessarily the beach variety that heaves in the summer and goes dead in the winter months, but a place where the sea is an ever present backdrop, as unremarkable as trees in a wood but with undeniable influence.

As a student, I would come off a nightshift in the local hospital and pick up still-warm bread rolls and a bottle of milk at the station. Then I’d head out to the Wieck for an hour away from people and noise to recharge before I went home or to class. I’d find somewhere to sit along the harbor side, or simply walk along the quay when it was too cold or windy to sit still. Sometimes I’d watch the boats land their early catch, and if I was lucky the tiny smokehouse had flounders or mackerel ready to eat and I’d get an extra-special breakfast.

Weekends were spent lazing in the dunes – we called it revision – before wandering home along the canal, sunburned, windblown and sandblasted. And all through the year the cries of seagulls hung in the air and northerly winds brought the tang of brine on the breeze.

I’m not a water baby, but I loved having the sea on my doorstep – which is why, when I needed a base for my fictitious security firm, I invented an equally fictitious seaside town.

Lissand is a place with a busy past. Once upon a time it was one of the busiest ports on the East Coast. Then trade moved south to larger harbors and Lissand’s fortunes fell. These days, it’s making a comeback. The harbor is home to a small fishing fleet, and the town’s marina has doubled in size in the last four years. And the rows of dilapidated warehouses that stood unused for decades are being renovated, rebuilt and put to better use.

Lissand is once more a city on the up, and many of its citizens seek relaxation and entertainment near the water. Joel, who grew up in the town, is a case in point. When their whole team had a horrid week and needs a chance to relax and regroup he takes them out for dinner in the harbor and a stroll along the pier. It’s nothing conscious on his part. It’s just that when looking out at the sea a lot of everyday problems appear wholly insignificant. It’s soothing.

Unless you walk into the middle of an active police investigation and a yacht blows up right in your face, of course.

I made up Lissand because I had a detailed shopping list for my fictional town. To make sure the story worked I needed a harbor with a pier and a busy marina for Joel and Kieran to get into trouble. The town needed to be big enough to warrant a large hospital with a trauma centre. It needed a long sandy beach for Marius to go running, a historical town centre, and a warehouse district between the old town and the harbor. And finally it needed an upscale residential area a little way out of town in the hills.

A tall ask I’m sure you agree. I wasn’t surprised when I couldn’t find all the critical “ingredients” in one place. So I indulged in a bit of world building and hope you’ll enjoy Lissand, which is not on any map.

Excerpt: 

Marina

“Back! Everyone stand back or I’ll shoot him right here!”
They were passing the entrance to the marina when a hoarse cry ripped through the air. It made Kieran’s hackles rise, and the heartrending scream that followed almost stopped his breath. Then his training kicked in and he raced toward the sounds, dodging people and lampposts on autopilot.
The marina had almost doubled in size during the four years Kieran had been in Lissand. It now attracted all manner of working and leisure boats, and on this sunny afternoon, was just as busy as the pier. And the screams pulled a crowd.
A woman stood by a slipway, arms out toward a small boy who struggled in the hold of an older man.
“Shane! Let him go, Luke, please! Let him go!”
“Stay back or I’ll kill him!”
Kieran skidded to a stop as soon as he had the gunman in sight, Smith & Wesson already in his hand.
Footsteps thudded behind him. Joel.
“No clear shot. Boy’s in the way.”
The man dragged the boy up a gangway toward a moored yacht. He had the boy’s back pressed to his legs, the gun aimed at the boy’s temple.
“Call the police and look after the mother,” Joel told him. “I’ll get on the boat.”
Kieran didn’t like the arrangement. He hated it when he wasn’t close enough to watch Joel’s back, but now wasn’t the time to argue. As long as the man used the boy as a shield, guns were not an option.
Then again, Joel had never needed a gun to be lethal.
Like a ghost he slipped away, blended into the crowd until he reached the stern of the moored yacht. Kieran had a glimpse of his partner reaching for a mooring line.
Then Joel was gone.
Time blurred as Kieran did his half of the job. He called for backup. Called the authorities and identified himself as a member of FireWorks Security. He even kept the crowd at bay, though he gladly relinquished that job the moment Rigby and Hartnett came sweeping in on the heels of the police.
“Can’t leave you two the fuck alone.”
“You said it.” Only a tiny percentage of Kieran’s attention was on the conversation. The majority was focused on the yacht the man had boarded with the boy. “Looks like a domestic that’s gotten out of hand. Attempted kidnapping by the father.” He indicated the scared, teary woman in jeans and an unseasonably short crop top who was being comforted by one of the uniforms. “The boy’s Shane Bicknall, aged six. That’s his mother. And the guy who threatened to kill him is his father, Luke Bicknall.”
“Where’s Weston?”
“On the boat.”
Kieran listened out for sounds of a fight, for shouts, maybe gunshots. He wasn’t expecting an explosion. One moment the yacht was there. Then the whole side of the marina was on fire.
Before he knew he’d moved, Kieran was in the water. He didn’t much care about the man toting the gun, but Joel and the little boy were somewhere in this inferno of burning oil and unrecognizable debris that had been a boat only minutes earlier.
Kieran had to find them.
Fast.

Buy:

Amazon

Dreamspinner

Release Blitz: Home and Pride by Ann Lister

Release Blitz

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The wait is over Honor and Pride, Guarding The Gods: Book 2 by Ann Lister

NOW LIVE!

HONOR & PRIDE NOW LIVE COMPRESSED

Download for FREE with KindleUnlimited

Amazon UK http://amzn.to/2o78wS5

Universal link http://viewBook.at/HonorAndPride

Description

* * * Since the topic of college hazing could be a trigger for some, please consider this a warning as this may not be a book you’d be comfortable reading. * * *

Fizzbo is used to taking care of people. He’s the one in charge of the personal and professional security needs for both world-famous rock bands, Ivory Tower and Black Ice. Having their backs is what he does best, and he takes pride in that, both on and off the job. When he’s called into action to save the man he loves, all of his skills are put to the test. Suddenly, he isn’t so sure his training will be enough, but saving Kensey is personal, and he’s willing do anything to keep him safe.

Scarred by Mia Kerick Blog Tour with Excerpt and #Giveaway

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Title: Scarred
Author: Mia Kerick
Release Date: March 1st 2017
Genre: Adult, Gay Romance, LGBT

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From bestselling author Mia Kerick comes a New Adult Gay Romance that will keep you up reading all night!

Matthew North waited ten years to heal from the devastating wounds inflicted by the man who abducted and abused him as a child. Living reclusively on a tropical island—with no company but his four cats—he merely avoids the lingering pain.

Wearing twisted ropes of mutilated skin on his back, Matt struggles with a profound hindrance—the scars that deaden his soul. However, on the night he meets lively Vedie Wilson, a local restaurant busboy who expresses his gender by wearing lipgloss and eyeliner along with his three-day beard, things change.

Gradually, Vedie and Mateo unite in friendship. Through a series of awkward encounters, the pair learns each other’s secrets. Vedie learns that an angelic face can front for a scarred soul. Matthew learns that the line between one’s masculine and feminine sides is blurred. Can they embrace the painful stories behind each other’s scars if they’re to find everlasting love? Or will surrendered love come to be yet another blemish on their souls?

Purchase: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Cool Dudes Publishing

Find Scarred on Goodreads

EXCERPT

Matt

Seeing this kid cry slices easily through my thick skin and I don’t like it one bit. There’s a heart somewhere under all of the armor I wear, and I like to keep it under wraps. But what’s most fucked-up about this situation is that less than two hours ago we were complete strangers not exactly enjoying a friendly interaction.

When he came to my table, he’d asked, “Yo, what you drinkin’, man?” I guess I must have looked at him cross-eyed because I didn’t recognize him as a regular worker at The Only Tiki Hut on Placida Island. And I should know; I’ve eaten dinner here several nights a week for the past decade. He got right on my case. What’s your friggin’ problem? I asked you real nice, seein’ as it’s my job and shit!”

It was as if he’d read my mind when he sized up my expression, which made me shiver because nobody knows what I’m thinking, and I like it that way. “Just water,” I’d told him and then I stared out over the beach, craning my neck like I was watching for somebody even though there’s never been anybody for me to watch for.

He hadn’t liked being ignored, so he’d started to play the smart-ass, a part that he’s very good at. “Sorry, big dawg, the lady’s a no-show. You gonna have to fill your bed with somebody new tonight, looks like.” He actually waggled his eyebrows.

“Guess today’s not my lucky day, because I’m planning to sleep alone,” I told him and meant it.

“It can be your lucky day if you play your cards right, my man.” He let go of the tray with one hand, dropped his palm onto my shoulder, and squeezed. “You ain’t gotta be lonely tonight if you don’t—what the fuck, man!”

I’d already jumped to my feet and practically stomped on the guy. “Hands off, asshole.”

“I get it, big dawg, so chill.” The kid pulled back his hand and released a long sigh, like he knew he’d broken one of his own rules by grabbing me. “I’ll get my dumbass hand offa your badass shoulder, if you sit your ass back down on that chair.” And after another sigh, he said, “Not gonna push the issue, man. Just offerin’ you some company on a long, hot, lonely night.”

GIVEAWAY: Win a $25 Amazon Giftcard

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About the Author

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Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—one in law school, another in dance school, a third in school at Mia’s alma mater, Boston College, and her lone son still in high school. (Mia is a major fan of the learning process!) She writes LGBTQ romance when not editing National Honor Society essays, offering opinions on college and law school applications, helping to create dance bios, and reviewing English papers. Her husband of twenty-three years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about this, as it is a sensitive subject.

Mia focuses her stories on the emotional growth of troubled young people and their relationships. She has a great affinity for the tortured hero. There is, at minimum, one of these in each book. As a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with tales of said tortured heroes (most of whom happened to strongly resemble lead vocalists of 1980s big-hair bands) and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to CoolDudes Publishing, Dreamspinner Press, Harmony Ink Press, and Evernight Publishing for providing her with alternate places to stash her stories.

A social liberal, Mia cheers for each and every victory made in the name of human rights. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology.

Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | Goodreads

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Two Natures by Jendi Reiter Blog Tour with Guest Post, Excerpt, & Giveaway

Blog Post on Julian’s Playlist

[Guest post by Jendi Reiter, author of Two Natures (Saddle Road Press, 2016) ]
Though I need total quiet and solitude when I finally sit down with my notebook, the rest of the time I may binge on music, and to a lesser extent TV and movies, to stay immersed in my characters’ world. Some CDs I had on constant repeat during the years I worked on Two Natures included 50 Best Loved Hymns by St. John Choir (only the first disc, for some reason); Queen: Greatest Hits III; Vic Latino’s Thrive Mix 2; Grammy Nominees 2007; Ta-Dah by Scissor Sisters; and Le Fou Chantant (“The Singing Fool”) by Charles Trenet. As you can see already, my main character, fashion photographer Julian Selkirk, is a mix of sentimental piety and hard-partying sensuality, with a touch of camp.

When the book came out, I created a YouTube playlist which you can find here on Pinterest. Here’s the story behind a few of those picks.

Petra, “Don’t Let Your Heart Be Hardened”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lP_XNlt8Opk

I got a lot of pushback from my then faith community when I started writing positively and explicitly about gay couples. This warm and peaceful song by a popular Christian band helped me remember that God is love, desite the people who speak hatefully in God’s name.

Liquid Sky, “Fashion Show”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwOHKKJxrgA

This avant-garde electronica track was popular in gay nightclubs in the mid-1990s, when the book is set.

Johnny Cash, “Sunday Morning Coming Down”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QgcNoP4Wudw
Like the Man in Black, Julian is a Southern boy who drinks too much, and regrets his lost innocence even though he knows that being an outsider is what makes him an artist.

Charles Trenet, “Que reste-t-il de nos amours?”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xWAxaHuwg30

Old-fashioned French songs remind Julian of his Memère (grandmother) in Savannah, who gave him his first camera and offered the family a safe haven from his abusive father.

Barbra Streisand, “Places That Belong to You”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVlC3TRL1Tw

Julian’s boyfriend Phil may be a tough working-class weightlifter, but he has a soft spot for “The Prince of Tides”, from which this theme song is taken.

Opera Trance, “Spente Le Stelle”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eWJsCOC-yvE

Julian’s mentor and sometime lover, Richard Molineux, is a cryptic, pretentious magazine editor who introduces him to the fine arts. One of their first scenes together takes place at a fashion show set to opera-techno music.

Marlene Dietrich, “Lili Marlene”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5M7kyr1jYks

The music and poetry of World War I gain new significance for Julian and his friends as they confront another slaughter of “doomed youth”, the AIDS crisis.

Death Cab for Cutie, “I Will Follow You Into the Dark”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NDHY1D0tKRA

Losing a loved one is more heartbreaking when “religious” people have convinced you that Heaven has turned on the no-vacancy sign.

Eurythmics, “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qeMFqkcPYcg

Julian is wild for 80s music. This song features in a pivotal scene near the end of the novel when he makes an unsettling discovery about his lover’s kinks.
What songs would you add? Read the book and let me know!
##

 

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Title: Two Natures
Author: Jendi Reiter
Release Date: September 15th 2016
Genre: LGBT fiction, MM Romance

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Two Natures is the coming-of-age story of Julian Selkirk, a fashion photographer in New York City in the early 1990s. His faith in Jesus helped him survive his childhood in the Atlanta suburbs with an abusive alcoholic father, but the church’s condemnation of his sexual orientation has left him alienated and ashamed.

Yearning for new ideals to anchor him after his loss of faith, Julian seeks his identity through love affairs with three very different men: tough but childish Phil Shanahan, a personal trainer who takes a dangerous shortcut to success; enigmatic, cosmopolitan Richard Molineux, the fashion magazine editor who gives him his first big break; and Peter Edelman, an earnest left-wing activist with a secret life.

Amid the devastation of the AIDS epidemic and the racial tensions of New York politics, Julian learns to see beyond surface attractions and short-term desires, and to use his art to serve his community.

Goodreads

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | B&N | Saddle Road Press

**Kindle Price $0.99 from February 20th – March 17th ** (normally $9.99)

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Honors:
2016 Rainbow Awards: First Prize, Best Gay Contemporary General Fiction; First Runner-Up, Debut Gay Book
Named one of QSPirit’s Top LGBTQ Christian Books of 2016

EXCERPT

The storm hit when we were about an hour south of the campgrounds. Sheets of rain covered the Chevy’s windshield. We crawled along, following the fuzzy glow of the taillights in front of us. Peter searched the AM band for a local station that could give us traffic and weather. I refrained from saying that we could see both of those by looking out the window. There’s the difference between us: he likes to know that he can’t do anything about a situation, while I just assume it.

Up ahead, flashing lights and a row of orange cones marked a lane closed off by a wreck we couldn’t make out. Peter was all for pulling off the highway and finding a shortcut via the local roads. Phil’s presence made me less adventurous. We had to get this right. If he’d been awake to vote, though, he would have sided with Indiana Jones, so I resigned myself to studying the map for the shortest possible detour. “Hey, did you know there’s a city in New York called Sodom?”

“Is it anywhere near Coxsackie?”

We bounced along winding roads through tired towns that blended together in the rain: another white clapboard with a sagging porch, another vintage Pepsi sign over a liquor-store marquee (“happy 21st birthday Amanda!”), more black and white cows grazing around a metal silo. I never went in for that Depression-documentary stuff. People who wear overalls deserve their privacy.

After half an hour we seemed to have outrun the rain, but finding our way back to the highway was another story. We stopped for coffee and pie in a diner with turquoise vinyl siding, where the waitress gave us directions to the campsite. I could have sworn one of the truckers at the lunch counter was cruising me. If I hadn’t been with my boys, I might have gone for him, and probably gotten myself murdered. It’s not a good idea to die luridly if no one knows you’re a celebrity. I doubted whether the local Walgreen’s carried Femme NY.

We crested the hill leading into the campgrounds as a yellow-gray sunset was filtering through the pines. Peter surveyed the scene and frowned. “Guys, I don’t think this is it.”

“Nah, I saw the sign, just like the waitress told us — Deer Mountain Nature Preserve,” Phil said.

“But it’s not how I remember it, from when we used to come here — I thought there was a lake, and this little bunkhouse with showers.”

“Maybe we’re on the other end.”

“Does it really matter?” I asked impatiently. “Nature is nature, right?”

“And why is it called a nature preserve? Maybe we’re not even allowed in here,” Peter fretted.

“Cool, we’ll be, like, anarchist squatters,” Phil said. Thus outvoted, Peter pulled the Chevy into a broad clearing with a view of the mountains, where we would pitch our tents. He’d brought two,

in case Phil and I wanted some privacy. The ground was damp and spongy under a fragrant carpet of pine needles. I sprayed a mist of bug repellent all around us. In the forest, you think it’s quiet, but it really isn’t, once you let go of expecting to hear human voices. Phil had brought a battery-operated radio that played staticky doo-wop oldies (the only station we could find out there) while I built a campfire.

The sky slowly turned from purple-gray to black. We drank Cokes because Peter didn’t like mixing beer and weed, and cooked hot dogs on sticks over the sputtering fire. Phil tried to get away without eating anything with his evening pills. “I thought you always had an appetite for this,” I said, waggling a plump hot dog in front of his face. We ate that one from both ends and met in the middle, and Peter sang the Italian-restaurant song from “Lady and the Tramp”, and I laughed so hard the soda came out of my nose.

The radio was off. If we strained our eyes, we could see faint stars that vanished into the cloud cover when we looked directly at them. “I want to try and find the lake,” Peter said.

“It’s too cold to swim,” I said. “We should have come sooner.”

“I just want you guys to see it.”

A nearly-full moon had risen, cresting and sinking in the swells of clouds that drifted across its light. That and our flashlights helped us find a marked trail. There was no reason to think that it led to any lake, but we were buzzed and lucky to be there, and why not hope our luck would hold?

Phil slapped at the mosquitos that were drawn to our flashlight beams. “So there, suckers — my blood is toxic.”

“Must you think about that every minute?” I said.

“I got a right.”

Peter slowed down to put his arm around my shoulders as we trudged uphill on the winding trail. My tense breathing eased and I began to enjoy the trek in spite of myself. The spindly pines swayed above us in the wind. Our slow progress through the dark was hypnotic. Peter hummed a tune under his breath and we joined in intermittently to stay focused. I heard Phil cough a couple of times but he didn’t stop walking or look back at us, so I couldn’t do anything.

The trail ended at the edge of a rocky outcropping overlooking a valley. Silver light flashed below us, a fast-moving stream tumbling over glistening rocks. To our left, a thicker, darker gray cloudbank was building up, edged with moonglow.

I reached out to pull Phil closer to me so we were all holding each other. Maybe it was the whisper of the stream we heard, or maybe it was too far away and we only heard the trees tossing in the wind. Warm from the climb, I spread my top-layer sweatshirt on the ground for Phil and me to sit on. We leaned against each other and kissed, while Peter sat cross-legged on Phil’s other side, holding his hand.

“Got your camera?” Phil whispered. “Like you ever don’t.”

“Too dark…besides, right now…let’s just be here.”

“Yeah, I know what you mean.”

Oh, those blue eyes. I saw you, Phil, I was inside you, closer than sex, clearer than words. And you in me. I hope, I believe. In the end, you trust it or you don’t, the ground under your feet, the air in your lungs, and something surrounding you that’s more than particles of heat and scent and skin.

The distant sky rumbled. A small flock of dark birds swooped and scattered into the valley. Phil sneezed. I took off my other sweatshirt and wrapped it around him. He didn’t object. Peter stretched out on the ground, propping his chin in his hands, and looked down at the stream with a sigh. “I guess this is as far as we’re going to get.”

“It’s all right,” Phil said. “I’m happy here.”

“Good, ’cause we’re going to leave you here,” I deadpanned.

He slugged my arm. “Hey, you promised me an ice floe.”

“What’s the big deal about the lake?” I asked, since Peter was still acting glum.

“It’s where he lost his virginity,” Phil teased.

Peter rolled over and swatted at him. “Ah, screw you.”

“Is it?” I pressed him.

“For your information, I lost my virginity in the back of a comic-book store in Brooklyn Heights. And I bet I was ahead of either of you guys, too.”

I wolf-whistled. Phil said, “I moved in with Ted, that was my first boyfriend, when I was sixteen, but we’d been doing it since the year before. He worked construction, like me, and the first time, we were fixing up this old lady’s attic and we all of a sudden got all over each other, and when she complained about the noise we told her she had squirrels.” Peter and I laughed. Phil looked expectantly at me.

“Define virginity,” I stalled.

“Fucking or being fucked. Messing around doesn’t count.”

“So how old were you?” I asked Peter.

He hesitated. “Thirteen.”

Phil made a face, like he didn’t believe this, but I didn’t think Peter was kidding. “Who the hell would do you at thirteen?” I blurted out.

Peter looked away. “Hey, I wasn’t totally hideous,” he muttered.

“No, I meant — ” Too frustrated for words, I touched my hand to his cheek. “I’m sure you were as delicious then as you are now, but I’m feeling this primitive Southern urge to punch that guy in the face.”

“It wasn’t so bad. I mean, it was good. I liked him.”

I stayed where I was, touching him. He wrapped his fingers around mine.

“Who…who was he?” I didn’t want to know, but I had to.

“Uh, a friend of my dad’s. I worked in his store the summer after the last time we came here — after my real mom found out about Ada.” He gestured impatiently at the view. “Only it’s not here, we’re somewhere else.”

“Wherever you go, there you are,” Phil volunteered.

“Oh, profound,” I said.

This time the dull boom of thunder sounded closer. The wind had picked up, whipping the branches around. “Oh crap, we’d better get back,” Peter said.

“Not until Julian tells us about his first time.” Phil slid his hand down my leg. I felt a flash of desire and wondered about the mechanics of safe sex in a sleeping bag.

“It was you,” I said, almost inaudibly.

Phil glanced up from nuzzling my neck. “Naw…I thought you’d been with lots of guys,” he said, just as softly.

“Yeah, but we said blowjobs didn’t count, only real sex.” I kissed his ear, trying to revive the tender mood of a moment ago.

Rain began to patter lightly on the leaves. “Guys, come on,” Peter urged, standing up.

Phil hung onto my thigh, keeping me on the ground. “What about the first time you were on the bottom, was that me too?”

“Let’s talk about this later, please?”

“Who was it?”

“I don’t know, okay?” I burst out, pushing him off me. “He was just some guy in Central Park.”

Phil caught up to me as I followed Peter’s bobbing flashlight beam along the narrow path downhill. “Here’s your jacket,” he said gruffly, draping the grass-stained sweatshirt over my shoulders. He didn’t take his arm away afterward, pretending to need my support as he dodged the humped tree roots underfoot.

Superimposed on the path before me, there returned my one memory of that man’s lined and wistful face, the pure gratitude in his eyes when he held me for a few seconds after fucking me under the arcade by Bethesda Fountain. I hadn’t expected it and it hurt quite a bit, though there was a thrill in it too, the way he invaded the center of me, opening what had always been closed.

The downward-sloping trail was slippery with wet leaves. Distracted by my thoughts, I stumbled and fell, skidding on my ass into a clump of bushes. The sky chose that moment to flush its cosmic toilet. Water poured down hard. I swore as the prickly bushes snagged my clothes. Phil tried to help me out but got entangled himself, like two fools in a fairy tale glued to the golden goose.

“I’m sorry,” he shouted over the noise of the storm. His face was smudged and wet. “Jule, I know…I know you didn’t want…to be with me, like this.”

“Phil. I love you.” Words I’d never said before. I warmed his rain-chilled lips with mine. His arms were the most solid thing in the world. How could they vanish, how to conceive of a time when all of us would become unreal?

Doubling back with the flashlight, Peter found us still clenched in our silent embrace. Since he was the only one who’d thought to bring gloves, he had little trouble pushing aside the thorny branches. We found our way back to the campsite in silence.

“Oh, crap crap crap!” Peter exclaimed when we saw the fallen tree limbs crushing his tent. He did this little stomping dance of frustration that would have been funny if we’d been watching it from someplace dry. He glanced back and forth from us to the other tent, which had stayed upright. “Okay, I guess I’m sleeping in the Chevy.”

Phil and I exchanged a look of agreement. I was just desperate to get him inside. He wasn’t hiding his shivering very well. “No, there’s room for you,” Phil said.

Inside the tent, we stripped down to our T-shirts and underwear, leaving our wet clothes in a heap by the door flap. Peter had found some spare blankets in the van to supplement the two sleeping bags, which were barely enough to cover the three of us when we zipped them together to make a sort of comforter.

I thought Phil should go in the middle. “Nah, night sweats,” he said, nudging me to change places with him. His eyes were saying more than that. So I lay against Peter’s chest, with his arms around me, and Phil, on my other side, reaching over to hold Peter’s hand where it rested at my waist. Phil tucked his head into the curve of my neck, the way we always liked to sleep. I felt his heartbeat, steady and strong, and heard the faint wheeze of his breath growing more regular

as he drifted off. Peter’s body, too, relaxed without easing his hold on us. I was just thinking about kissing him goodnight — on the cheek, would it be so wrong? — when he pressed his face to mine. Silent softness of mouths and tongues, a few minutes standing in for all the time gone and time to come, until the three of us were sleeping in the incomparable warmth we made together.

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About the Author

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Jendi Reiter’s books are guided by her belief that people take precedence over ideologies. In exploring themes of queer family life, spiritual integration, and healing from adverse childhood experiences, her goal is to create understanding that leads to social change. Two Natures is her first novel; a sequel is in the works. Her four published poetry books include Bullies in Love (Little Red Tree, 2015) and the award-winning chapbook Barbie at 50 (Cervena Barva Press, 2010). She is the co-founder and editor of WinningWriters.com, an online resource site for creative writers.

Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter

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Featured Author/Review Request: A.T. Weaver: Touching Yesterday

TITLE:    Touching Yesterday

AUTHOR:   A.T. Weaver

RELEASE DATE:  March 10, 2017

PUBLISHER: MysticHawker Press

Heat Level: 0

BLURB:  

Jeff Wilde is waking up from the best and worst five weeks of his life. He remembers his boyfriend breaking up with him. He remembers going camping. He even recalls hitting his head and waking up in 1927, decades before he was born, but now he’s woken up in the 21st century again. His boyfriend claims they never broke up and that Jeff has been in a coma for five weeks. As Jeff eases back into the 21st century life he thought he’d lost, he needs answers. Did he really travel to 1927 or was it all a dream? Did he really save a little girl’s life in 1927? Could that little girl have been his grandmother? Did he change history, and, if he did, was it for the better?

 

EXCERPT:

A hard object hit Jeff in the leg.

“Wake up!” The voice was male and held a nasal drawl. “I know yer alive. I see ya breathing.”

His head felt like the top was coming off. Jeff moaned and opened his eyes. The barrel of an antique bolt-action rifle was pointed at his head. He frowned. “Hey. Think you could point that thing in some other direction. I’m not armed.” Patting his pockets revealed no weapon except a pocket knife. “At least I don’t have a gun.” He held up the pocket knife.

“Don’t move.” The gun didn’t waver as the man grabbed the knife. “Who are ya, and whatcha doing on my land?”

Jeff tried to answer, but no name came to his mind. He blinked and searched his mind. “I don’t know.” He hesitated and looked up at the man with a frown. “I can’t seem to remember who or where I am. Who are you?”

The man wore a pair of tan trousers held up by a pair of suspenders. An off-white shirt with puffy sleeves and a pair of brown boots completed his wardrobe. He looked to be about the same age as Jeff’s thirty-five years. His sun-bleached hair, topped by a straw hat, touched his shoulders. Hard brown eyes squinted out from under bushy eyebrows, and a stubble of light brown covered his face like he’s forgotten to shave that morning. He moved the rifle away from Jeff’s face. “I’m Cletus Strader, and yer on my land.”

Jeff held his hands out to show they were empty. “Can I sit up, please?”

Cletus moved the gun to hover over Jeff’s chest. “Move real slow like.”

He pulled himself up to sitting position and rubbed the back of his head. “I seem to have hit my head on something. I have a knot there, and it’s painful.” He pulled his hand down and looked at it. Rusty-colored, dried blood was flaked on his fingers. “Maybe that’s why I can’t remember anything.” As he stood, a twinge of pain shot through his ankle, and he nearly fell. “I appear to have twisted my ankle also.”

Cletus rested his gun in the crook of his elbow, grabbed Jeff, and helped him stand by putting his other arm around his waist.

Jeff discovered he was about three inches shorter than Cletus. He liked the feel of his arm around him. Whoa! This was a stranger. Not safe to reveal his feelings. The man could be anti-gay. That was strange thought. What did it mean?

“Ya sure are dressed funny. I’d a thought ya was too old for short pants. And what’s that writing on your shirt? It says ‘Chiefs’ and has an arrowhead on it. It ain’t got no buttons. Kind of looks like it should be underwear, but I ain’t never seed no red underwear.”

Jeff tested his weight on the ankle and looked down at his clothing. “I don’t know. I’m not dressed like you, that’s for sure. You said I’m on your land; where’s that?”

“Outside of Zebra, Missouri.”

“Never heard of Zebra, Missouri. At least I don’t think I have.” His heart was racing. Who was he? Where was he? Who was this man? His head ached from trying to remember.

“Ya sure ya ain’t one of them Govermit men that’s trying to take our land?

“Why is the Government trying to take your land?” The confusion was worsening.

“They want to dam up the Osage River and make a big lake here. Say it’s gonna supply electricity for half the state. Don’t know what we need electricity fer. We gets along jest fine without it.”

“Osage River? That kind of rings a bell.” Jeff looked beyond Cletus and saw a half-plowed field and a mule hitched to a plow at the edge of the woods. He again patted his sides. Now that he was standing, he could feel things better. He pulled a wallet, cellphone, and car keys out of his pockets. “Maybe these will tell us something.”

“Gimme that.” Cletus grabbed the wallet.

Jeff limped over to a fallen tree and sat on it.

Cletus opened the wallet and pulled out money, some credit cards, and Jeff’s driver’s license. “This here money don’t look like nothin’ I’ve ever seed before. It says ‘In God We Trust’. Looks counterfeit to me. The colors look a little funny.” He looked from the license to Jeff. “This here’s yer picture. It says it’s a driver’s license for the state of Missouri. Don’t know many people drive automobiles.” His eyes grew wide and his mouth dropped open. “This says ya was borned in 1981, and this here license was issued in 2015.” He shook his head. “That can’t be. This here is only 1927.”

“Does it say who I am?”

“Says your name is Jeffery Wilde.” Cletus tilted his head to one side. “Does that sound familiar?”

Jeff shook his head and pursed his lips. “No. Can’t say it does.” Anxiety was churning in his stomach. This seemed like a bad dream. His stomach heaved, and he turned and vomited. He wiped his mouth with the tail of his shirt. His mouth tasted of stale beer. That was something at least. He knew what beer tasted like, even the second time around.

AUTHOR’S INFO:

A.T. Weaver

Email: alixtheweaver@yahoo.com

 

 

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The Gaia Protocol by Alec Nortan Blog Tour with Excerpt and Giveaway

Title:  The Gaia Protocol

Author: Alec Nortan

Publisher:  NineStar Press – SunFire Imprint

Release Date: February 6th

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 83700

Genre: Romance, Young Adult, Dystopian future; enemies to lovers; gods; mythical creatures

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Synopsis

Long ago, the Gods came back to earth and banished all science from Earth. When Prome finds an amulet in the ruins of an ancient city, he doesn’t expect it to take him and his friend Malia on a quest to discover the long forgotten secret of the Technologists, to meet someone who awakens feelings of love in him, nor to defy the Gods themselves.

Excerpt

The Gaia Protocol
Alec Nortan © 2017
All Rights Reserved

I’m crouching behind the wall of a half-collapsed building. I usually don’t taunt the Fates like this, but my hiding place seems safer than the arrows of my pursuers.

I hear footsteps outside. I take a peek, just long enough to see a dozen hoplites marching down the street, their bows at the ready. They’re scanning, surrounding, searching. As they come nearer, my heart beats faster. I flatten myself on the ground. If I could sink into it, I would, but the only thing sinking is a painfully sharp stone into my ribs.

The Goddess Tyche has blessed me with her luck: I hear them move away at a brisk pace.

When I’m sure they’re far enough away, I sit, propping myself against the wall in a more comfortable position. I massage my ribs to ease the pain. Only then do I muster the courage to look at my leg. It’s still shuddering from the electric arrow, but luckily, the arrow missed, only grazing the flesh. Had the arrow really hit me, I would already be dead. I know how it works. I’ve seen it before.

A few years ago, during a search, a Technologist hiding in our village tried to run away. The hoplite shot him in the arm. The man jerked but kept running. He snatched the arrow out of his limp arm. The hoplite then shot several arrows as fast as he could without even aiming. The arrows flew, veering toward the Technologist midflight. None missed.

Though the arrow missed me, it still hurts like hell, from both the wound and the aftereffects of the jolt. I take off my neckerchief and improvise a bandage to stop the bleeding.

Why did the legion attack me? Scavenging in the old city isn’t forbidden.

I used to come here as a child and climb inside the deserted skyscrapers, looking for objects to trade on the market. Today, I’ve found some kind of amulet. It’s a small, flat, metallic rectangle with geometric signs on it. It’s probably not worth a bowl of soup, but it looks nice. I’ve put a leather string through a small hole and kept it around my neck to offer to Malia. She’ll like it.

I look at the sky. The sun is already halfway down the horizon. I have to move if I want to make it home before nightfall. My leg doesn’t feel much better. I take a tentative step and wince at the pain. I won’t be able to run, but I can walk.

Walking back should usually take me a couple of hours, but not today. I have to move carefully between the buildings, hiding at suspect sounds, checking for movement in every direction before crossing a road. Two hours walking only brings me to the outskirts of what used to be a great city. Here, the last remnants of houses are swallowed by the first trees of the forest.

“Fuck!” My outburst sends a few scared birds flying away. It has taken me far too long. The sun is already sinking behind the highest ruins. Now I really have to hurry, despite my leg.

I scrutinize the nearby trees. I don’t see anything moving. I walk to them and find a broken bough to use as a crutch. I come back swiftly to the safety of the road.

During the day, traveling on the road is usually safe enough. But the forest… Only parties of adults enter it. Sometimes, one goes in alone. And sometimes, they don’t come back.

During the night, forest or road, no one goes out. Too many things lurk in the dark.

Purchase

NineStar Press – SunFire Imprint | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords

Meet the Author

Alec Nortan is a French social services worker. Though he learned English at school, he chooses this language to write in. His works are gay-related fictions, varying from young adult, science fiction or fantasy adventure, to romance.

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Tour Schedule

2/6 – Stories That Make You Smile

2/6 – MM Good Book Reviews

2/7 – Books,Dreams,Life

2/8 – Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents

2/8 – The Novel Approach

2/9 – Prism Book Alliance

2/9 – Sharing Links and Wisdom

2/10 – The Kimi-chan Experience

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Guest Post by TJ Nichols, author of Warlock in Training

The ups and downs of writing Warlock in Training
The easiest part of writing Warlock in Training was getting started. Angus was a character in a bit of flash fiction and that was all he was meant to be. I grabbed the first name that I thought of and that was that.

However I found it really hard to forget about him. What happened to him after he was taken across the void and he ended up in Demonside? What was his demon like? What was Demonside like? I envisioned it night be a novella at most. But then I started writing just to see where the story took me and I realized that it was more than a novella…so maybe three?

By the time I’d written fifty thousand words I was in deep and the human and demon worlds were very much alive in my mind and I knew this was no quick novella or even novella series, this was a full on urban fantasy series that would cover four books. I have since gone on to do a rough outline of those books so I know where I’m going. With book 2 written it’s all coming together.

This makes it sound like it was a magical walk in the park where I wrote a story and it got published.

And while’s it true I was lucky enough to get a publisher I did have to do a revise and resubmit (for those not familiar it’s where the publisher goes, well we really like it but it has a couple of major flaws preventing us from buying it. Fix this and this and then let us have another look). I was more than happy to make those changes, not that it was easy to do that. I think I gutted 10k of defective scenes and rewrote scenes that worked better.

That wasn’t the hardest part of writing Warlock in Training.

Creating two very different worlds that used the same magic but in very different ways wasn’t the hardest part either. I had a lot of fun creating Vinland and working out the history of how this alternative country came to be (Angus lives in our world, but it’s a place where magic exists and as a result the country borders we are familiar with don’t exist. I couldn’t add magic and assume that history followed the same path). I researched desert civilizations and ecosystems for Demonside. I also research the little ice age that happened in the seventeenth century.

The hardest part of this book was what started as a cute idea to ensure that the heroes got plenty of naked time (while I was reading plenty of urban fantasy most of it was very light on when it came to sexy times). Sex magic…because writing those intimate scenes isn’t hard enough already.

Sex scenes are a bit like fight scenes, there’s body parts doing things to other body parts and emotions are running at a high and if there are more than two people then you really need to keep count of arms and legs and other bits…. Adding magic and having to keep the ritual in mind was another level of complication.

Those scenes would take me forever to write. I’d go through once just to map out what was going to happen body wise, and work out what the change in the character was (and sometimes I’d decide that I needed to do it from the other POV), then I’d go through it again making sure I put in enough magical working.

There is one big group working which I actually just skipped in the first draft and left myself the note: orgy here. Needless to say when I was doing the second draft and I found the note I hated my past self for being such a lazy so and so. I’m glad I left it though as I knew what needed to happen because I’d written the fall out—writing is weird like that sometimes. Sometimes you have to know what happens in the future to go back and fix the past.
Bio
TJ Nichols is an avid runner and martial arts enthusiast who first started writing as child. Many years later while working as a civil designer TJ decided to pick up a pen and start writing again. Having grown up reading thrillers and fantasy novels it’s no surprise that mixing danger and magic comes so easily, writing urban fantasy allows TJ to bring magic to the everyday.
With two cats acting as supervisors TJ has gone from designing roads to building worlds and wouldn’t have it any other way. After traveling all over the world and Australia, TJ now lives in Perth, Western Australia.
Website: tjnichols-author.blogspot.com
Twitter: @TobyJNichols
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TJNichols.author/

Blurb

Angus Donohue doesn’t want to be a warlock. He believes draining demons for magic is evil, but it’s a dangerous opinion to have—his father is a powerful and well-connected warlock, and Angus is expected to follow the family tradition.

His only way out is to fail the demon summoning class. Failure means expulsion from the Warlock College. Despite Angus’s best efforts to fumble the summoning, it works. Although not the way anyone expects.

Angus’s demon, Saka, is a powerful mage with his own need for a warlock.
Saka wants to use Angus in a ritual to rebalance the magic that is being stripped from Demonside by warlocks. If Angus survives his demon’s desires and the perils of Demonside, he’ll have to face the Warlock College and their demands.

Angus must choose: obey the College and forget about Demonside or trust Saka and try to fix the damage before it’s too late. Whatever he does, he is in the middle of a war he isn’t qualified to fight.

Ebook: 978-1-63533-267-4
Print: 978-1-63533-266-7

https://www.dsppublications.com/books/warlock-in-training-by-tj-nichols-353-b
https://www.kobo.com/au/en/ebook/warlock-in-training
https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/warlock-in-training/id1185020865?mt=11
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/warlock-in-training-tj-nichols/1125367830?ean=2940157520151
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N2W56EH/

Guest Post for The Craving by Z. Allora Blog Tour with Giveaway and Excerpt

I want to thank The Kimi-chan Experience for allowing me the opportunity to share my latest release with you. (Psst, there’s a way for sharers to enter the giveaway.)

The idea of being biologically driven to sate your physical and spiritual lust with another does something to me. To need that connection with another so bad you can’t think beyond the longing ache.

But what happens when reality and responsibility tries to deny you your heart’s desire? That’s what The Craving explores.

K’Dane is a modestly rich and sexually progressive planet whose part of the Xantha star system. It’s assumed most K’Dane are bisexual, and if there are preferences that can be worked out among the nucleus (the group of 4 they form to raise children). However, before the nucleus is formed, one must have life mates.

The craving pushes each K’Dane into an urgent need to find a person or people with whom they can bond. Phoenix Dotir wants to avoid such a fate as he is marked as a Chosen. His destiny is to live among the other dimensional artists at the Ambrosial monastery. His plan should the craving hit before he’s goes to the monastery is to medicate.

His sister thinks he’s insane and in this excerpt she sings a life mate song to him:

“First you start tying red knots. Then you need to be tangled in your lover’s twine. Red love knots… Red love knots binding you to the vine….”

In this next excerpt, Phoenix is obsessively tying the traditional K’Dane love knots. Sometimes a person will make as many as a thousand to demonstrate their wish to bind with someone. The tying of red love knots is one of the first signs someone in the craving. This excerpt involves Phoenix, his mother and the holo doctor. (Zadra is sexy star chaser who sent him into the craving).

He turned away. The need to rip his skin off rode him hard. It was too hot. Pushing off his robe didn’t help.
Feeling his forehead, she exclaimed, “You’re burning up. I’m getting a doctor.”
The light was too bright. He swore he could feel his toenails grow. Every breath increased his requirement for Zadra.
No! This can’t be happening. Zadra! Where are you? Zadra!
Death would easier…. He stumbled across his sleep space to his workspace. Red twine. Where was—
Ah, here it is.
His mother came back into his space. He hadn’t realized she left. She rolled a holo doc in.
“Doctor, please, what’s wrong with my son?” Phoenix’s mother paced back and forth. “Did the healing he had a few sleep cycles ago at his learning place not fix the damage?”
The best holo doctor their living complex employed flashed to life at the question. “I will diagnose.”
Phoenix’s mother studied him as if he were a broken unit in need of repair.
His sister lingered in the doorway. “I told you we should have made him report that incident with Vade. If he’s hurt Phoenix—How long is this going to take?”
Phoenix didn’t hear the answer. He focused on tying another knot and placed the completed design in the satin box where he’d keep the red binding knots.
“Phoenix, please stop. Put these away.” His mother tried to take the box from him.
“No! Not done. One hundred and eighty-eight.” He didn’t want to hurt her, but no one was taking this box from him. No one.
“Doctor, why can’t he stop?”
Fever and restlessness ate at him. He rocked back and forth as he twisted the twine with his blistered and bloodied fingers. Left, right, crossover, twist…. Zadra.
Why was his mother here? Oh right, she waited for the doctor’s opinion.
He shifted to pull at the protector. Sky demons, why was the belt preventing him… nothing should be stopping him. He had to—“Zadra!”
The hologram doctor shimmered and rested a hand on his chin. “There is nothing wrong with your son. All previous medical procedures were complete. Your son is healthy. He’s displaying signs of the… craving.”
Where was Zadra? One hundred and eighty-nine. Phoenix wanted him here. Had to have him. Now. Skin too tight. Off.
He wanted to—“Zadra!”
“Shhhh, son. Don’t scratch yourself.” His mother held his hands to his sides.
No. Knots. He had to tie knots. After jerking away from her restrictive embrace, he moved to the other side of his art table. Took more twine, sliced the red off the spool, and whirled another knot. Each tied bit eased him and ramped him up in equal parts. One hundred and ninety.
His mother gasped at the suggestion. “The craving? What? It can’t be! He’s too young. He’s not yet eighteen seasons.”
“Zadra!” He wasn’t too young. Desire scraped at his insides. He wiped the sweat from his forehead. Why wasn’t the temperature automating?
“It’s rare but has been known to happen.” The holo doc continued, “This process is nature’s way of highlighting every K’Dane has a need to bond with life mates.”
His mother growled. “How could this have happened?”
The holo doc’s voice deepened as if to calm his near frantic mother. “Skin-on-skin contact. One touch has been known to trigger the craving.”
“He’s Chosen. That’s not possible.”
The holo cocked his head to the side and observed Phoenix. “Nothing supersedes the urge, not even being one of the Chosen. His symptoms suggest it’s more than possible.”

The end game of the craving is to find your life mates… or maybe your soul mate.


The craving is an undeniable urge that drives K’Dane citizens to find their life mates—if only to sate their uncontrollable physical longings.

Thrilled at being named a Chosen, Phoenix Dotir leaves K’Dane to become an artist-monk who will create dimensional art capable of changing worlds. Living by the monastery’s Principles of Purity will surely help him overcome the craving. But he never accounted for star chaser Zadra Solav.

Zadra doesn’t believe in rules and makes his own future. Fate separates him from the man he loves, but one touch renders him helpless to his own desires. Bonding with a monk is forbidden, and Zadra’s family sends him to deep space to avoid disgrace. Unable to give up, Zadra must find a way reunite with his Chosen.

Tormented by enforced separation, Initiate Riva Quinton struggles with his vow of chastity and risks all to rescue his lover. Together with his Eros, he stows away on board a star craft to follow his heart.

Four men defy destiny and tradition for love… but their love is a crime punishable by death.

Buy Links:
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-craving-by-z-allora-8121-b

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-craving-by-z-allora-8120-b

Giveaway: Leave a comment about your favorite sci-fi series (TV or book). There’s two ways to win: You’ll be entered into win a $20 Dreamspinner gift certificate (which goes across all the blog sites on The Craving tour) and I’ll also pick a winner from each individual site for an e-book from my backlist.

Author Bio:
Z. Allora believes in happily ever after’s for everyone. She met her own true love through the personals and has traveled to over thirty countries with him. She’s lived in Singapore, Israel and China. Now back home to the USA she’s an active member of PFLAG and a strong supporter of those on the rainbow in her community. She wants to promote understanding and acceptance through her actions and words. Writing rainbow romance allows her words to open hearts and change minds.

To contact Z. Allora:
E-mail: Z.AlloraHappyEndings@gmail.com
FACEBOOK:   Z Allora Allora
Website: http://www.zallorabooks.com
Twitter: @ZAllora

The Black Sheep and The Rotten Apply by K.A. Merikan Blog Tour with Excerpt

Title:  The Black Sheep and The Rotten Apple:

Author: K.A. Merikan

Publisher:  Acerbi&Villani ltd.

Release Date: 7th of February 2017

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 140,000 words

Genre: Romance, Thriller/Suspense, Historical – 18th Century Cornwall, Highwayman, Kidnapping, Forbidden love, Violence

Add to Goodreads

 

The Black Sheep and the Rotten Apple is the kind of book that just needed to be written, despite our already tight schedule. The idea first came to us when we watched a documentary about highwaymen, but we promised ourselves to wait. And then we went to Cornwall for a month, and initial plans collapsed. As we walked through the woods, watching the lush nature and the old stone cottages peppered on both sides of a valley where we were staying, the characters and story steadily came to us. Our aim was to write a historical book that provides as much excitement as readers learned to expect from our contemporary romance.

RELEASE DATE: 7th February 2017

If you want to see our inspiration photos for this book, check out the ‘Black Sheep and the Rotten Apple’ Pinterest board:

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BUY A PAPERBACK COPY

The Black Sheep and the Rotten Apple is our baby. It’s been a year since we started working on this book, and to celebrate its release, we’re organizing a quiz for readers who follow The Black Sheep and the Rotten Apple blog tour. Answers to all questions will be provided in the blog posts, and we will then randomly pick the lucky winners. You can win:

  • a signed paperback of The Black Sheep and the Rotten Apple + a selection of Cornish treats (main prize – for one person)
  • 3 ebooks of choice from our backlist + a surprise treat from Cornwall (will go to 3 more people)

For a chance to win, follow the instructions in blog posts and solve the quiz, which will be published on our website on 1st February 2017. Please, send answers to kamerikan@gmail.com with ‘Black Sheep Quiz’ in the subject line of the email.

 

Winners will be randomly chosen from readers who sent us correct answers by 17th February 2017.

LINKS TO ALL POSTS:

02/01 THE QUIZ

02/03 Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

02/06 We Three Queens

02/07 Boy Meets Boy Reviews

02/08 Prism Book Alliance

02/09 The Novel Approach

02/09 Joyfully Jay

02/10 The Zipper Rippers

02/10 The Book Bella

02/11 Divine Magazine

02/12 Bayou Book Junkie

Synopsis

“How does one start a relationship with another man when it is forbidden?”
“One needs to decide that the other man is worth dying for.”

Cornwall, 1785

Sir Evan Penhart. Baronet. Highwayman. Scoundrel.

Julian Reece. Writer. Wastrel. Penniless.

No one forces Julian Reece to marry. Not his father, not his brother. No one.

When he is thrust into a carriage heading for London to meet his future bride, his way out comes in the form of an imposing highwayman, riding a horse as black as night. Julian makes a deal with the criminal, but what he doesn’t expect is that despite the title of baronet, the robber turns out to be no gentleman.

Sir Evan Penhart is pushed into crime out of desperation, but the pact with a pretty, young merchant’s son turns out to have disastrous consequences. Not only is Evan left broke, but worse yet, Julian opens up a Pandora’s box of passions that are dark, needy, and too wild to tame. With no way to lock them back in, rash decisions and greedy desire lead to a tide that wrecks everything in its way.

But Julian might actually like all the sinful, carnal passion unleashed on him. How can he admit this though, even to himself, when a taste of the forbidden fruit could have him end up with a noose around his neck? And with highway robbery being a hanging offense and the local constable on their back, Julian could lose Evan before he can decide anything about the nature of his desires.

POSSIBLE SPOILERS:

Themes: highwayman, abduction, ransom, forbidden love, self-discovery, danger, crime,
Genre: Dark romance, historical
Erotic content: Explicit scenes

Length: ~140,000 words (standalone novel)

WARNING: Adult content. Contains violence, distressing scenes, abuse, offensive language, and morally ambiguous protagonists.

Excerpt

The sun was high up in the sky by the time the desynchronized orchestra left Julian’s skull. There wasn’t enough space to properly lie down anywhere in the carriage, but he managed to obtain a comfortable position by resting his legs up the wooden wall while his upper body occupied one of the benches. He still felt like the filling of an enormous rattle as the carriage bent in all possible directions on the uneven road leading away from the coast.

Horace didn’t even make an attempt to hold back his disapproval, but after delivering several biting comments and a lengthy speech about duty, he at last leaned against the side of the carriage in the seat across from Julian and closed his eyes. It was difficult to say whether he was truly in need of a nap or if it was Julian’s face that he didn’t wish to look at.

With his headache out of the way yet not quite well enough to read, Julian opened the curtains in hope of amusing himself with the views, but so far, he merely got to see the side of a narrow gully—all dirt and grass.

He couldn’t understand why Father was being so implacable about having his youngest son marry a title. Couldn’t it wait a fortnight so that Julian could finish that new novel he came up with last night? This one could truly be the breakthrough Julian had been waiting for, the one that would make the Reece family known for more than fabric trade.

Inspiration was a moment in time when Julian’s friend Martin emerged from the darkness of an alley behind the tavern. In that very second he had not resembled himself but a man made of bronze, dreamlike and yet of substance, with strong hands that could crush Julian if they wanted. The novel would start with a similar encounter somewhere in the narrow back alleys, just off the Colosseum. Haunted by the ghost of an ancient gladiator, the protagonist would be believed to be slowly descending into madness, when in reality his awareness of the supernatural would become a vehicle for truth.

Julian was not yet certain of the exact message he wished to convey, but the events would be presented from several points of view, through letters written by the protagonist, his friends, and an official of some sort who’d represent the stale world order.

He’d already had several beautifully evocative ideas for metaphors describing the gladiator himself, but they became somewhat blurry after a night of cards and drink.

Oh, if only he could travel to Rome to let the atmosphere of the city soak him all the way to the bone—without a wife fighting for his attention and pulling him away from work because of feminine fancies.

He looked out of the window with growing disdain. Who in their right mind traveled on Sunday, and so early at that? Julian would have much preferred listening to a sermon at church to spending the day in what was effectively a hearse carrying one of the brightest literary talents just waiting to be discovered.

Now that Julian was feeling better, he was upset with himself about not asking for a day’s delay on religious grounds. He’d never been as devout about prayer as he was about his art, but if the Christian faith could postpone his commitment to a woman he never met, he would gladly kneel and pray. And Miss White wasn’t even a woman but a girl of fifteen, quite pretty in the portrait Julian had been shown, and a viscount’s only daughter at that, but surely as hungry for her intended’s attention as the bawdy house wench who’d become sweet on Julian some years ago.

Back then, he still visited Madame Canard’s establishment to do what everyone else did when they visited a school of Venus. These days, Julian had neither the overwhelming desire nor patience to handle a cunt, no matter how lovely the lady it was attached to. He still enjoyed having a drink with the harlots, and no card table within twenty miles was as lively as the one at Madame Canard’s, but at twenty-five he’d much rather handle needs of the flesh in solitude.

Sweet perfume made his nose itch, the act itself made him unpleasantly sticky—with his sweat and hers—and while he would not dare to ask, it was his suspicion that the friends who usually accompanied him to the brothel were only whoring so much because of pride and bravado. It was a sign of status to be able to afford women and decent wine daily, and so fucking and gambling was the thing you did as a social activity.

Julian’s eyes darted to Horace, who slept with his head thrown back and leaning against the side of the carriage. His wide-open mouth was asking for a distasteful prank, but Julian was far too upset to think of amusing himself at Horace’s expense. So far, the day’s joke was on him.

In the years past, he’d been mocked by his father and siblings over not taking on a profession that they deemed worthy of a gentleman, but with the family being very prosperous, Julian saw no reason to divert his focus from his one true calling.

Despite frequent threats, he’d hoped that Father—having four willing sons and three daughters—wouldn’t push Julian into marriage, but it seemed a lost cause. Soon it would be a wife nagging Julian to stop wasting his time following intellectual pursuits and instead turn his attention to practical matters. As the head of his own family, maybe he’d even be pushed to join the family trade, one step farther from traveling abroad to meet the great artists of the continent.

The carriage started a steep climb up a hill, and Julian cursed, pushing the soles of his boots against the wall to keep his body from rolling off the narrow bench. How long would it take for them to reach London at this pace? It was over two hundred miles away, so a week perhaps? The last time Julian had made the journey, he was so intoxicated most days that he couldn’t properly count them.

But out of nowhere, as the slope of the hill became gentler, the ugly dirt and grass that had been Julian’s only source of entertainment for the last half an hour were replaced by lush greenery of tree tops. He grinned and glanced at Horace, but the fat sod was too busy snoring to notice the change in scenery.

A wicked plan was starting to take shape in Julian’s head, and he quietly removed his feet from the side of the carriage and lowered them to the floor. Pulling himself upright was easy enough after that, and he stalled, eyes transfixed on the permanently flushed face of his brother that was an unappetizing contrast with the white wig he wore, and made him look like a man many years his senior. Julian might be less inclined to business, less sedate than his siblings, but at the very least he had good taste and flair most of Julian’s family lacked, buried deep in the stern world of pretense and money.

Horace didn’t even stir. The old pig was fast asleep, and if that wasn’t Julian’s chance to save his life, he didn’t know what was. Careful not to make any sound, Julian gathered his valise and the coat he’d earlier taken off because of the heat, stilling when the carriage came to a halt. His eyes immediately darted to Horace, but his brother only smacked his lips in his sleep. Hunt could have stopped to relieve himself. What an opportunity this was!

Julian could feel his heartbeat in his throat when he softly pressed on the door handle. Still distinctly aware of his brother being close enough for their knees to touch, were Julian not careful enough. He opened the carriage and left it in a soft stride before closing the door with care.

A warm breeze combed through his hair, wiping away the unpleasant wetness of sweat, and his lungs filled with fresh air, but he didn’t get to enjoy it.

The shining muzzle of a pistol was grinning at him from inches away.

Despite the warm weather, Julian’s whole body was shaken by a chill when his gaze met a pair of eyes so dark they might as well have been lacquered coals. The man had a tricorn hat pulled low over his forehead, and a black scarf obscuring the lower half of his face.

This can’t be happening.

“Don’t try to scream, or I will blow your brains out.” The man squinted and lowered his gun to Julian’s pupil. “Through the eye.”

Julian opened his mouth as his throat closed, robbing him of breath. He wanted to look back, suddenly wishing Horace weren’t such an easy sleeper, but Hunt was nowhere to be seen either. Heat washed over Julian’s body, making him stiffen as if he were made of clay. Had this man hurt their coachman? If so, where was the body?

“What do you want?” Julian whispered, resting his hand on the door handle when his knees softened.

“These.” A hand in a leather glove gripped Julian’s sweaty fingers and slipped off his rings. “And all your other valuables.” The man didn’t even blink, his voice dark as if dragged through tar.

Julian stared, and his mind finally came up with the answer for what this was. “You’re a highwayman…”

“And you’re cork-brained to travel on a Sunday when the roads are empty.” The man’s gaze drifted away to Horace for a split second, but he must have judged him as no threat, and when Horace snored from inside the carriage, the highwayman chuckled quietly.

Julian’s lungs emptied, and a silly grin emerged on his face, encouraged by the highwayman’s amusement. “Ah, I should have gone to church after all.”

The smile died on his lips when the robber poked Julian’s temple with his gun.

“Your valuables,” he urged.

Julian clenched his teeth when they threatened to clatter. He needed to keep calm. His father believed his friends to be villains, so he could handle one. “I’ve been taken out of the tavern this morning with nothing but the clothes on my back. I lost everything at the tables. You should try my older brother. He’s Father’s heir. He should have a healthy sum on him.”

The highwayman gripped the front of Julian’s waistcoat and pulled him forward so hard Julian stumbled straight into the man’s arms. He was much taller than Julian, with wide shoulders that were so strong their size couldn’t be just padding. His clothes smelled of leather and horse sweat, and Julian found himself staring into the eyes above the black scarf.

Before he could say a word, the man turned him around, and pressed the gun to the side of his head.

“Go on, wake up your brother.”

Julian breathed in and out, stiff with discomfort at the warm body pressed against his back as if the highwayman was seeking warmth. The gun provided some relief against heated skin. Its presence made Julian’s blood speed through his veins. It wouldn’t go off. Murder wasn’t in the robber’s interest, but if that was the case, then where the hell was Hunt?

Then an idea illuminated Julian’s mind. “I have a proposition, Mister—”

The highwayman stilled. He’d be lying. Of course. “Noir,” he said in the end. “What kind of proposition can you have, pretty boy? With no money in your pockets.”

Something about Noir’s tone sent a hot shiver through Julian’s ribcage, but he ignored the condescending words and slowly looked back into the blackest eyes he’d ever seen. “I don’t have much on me, but you must know my father. He’s William Reece, the cloth merchant. You could take me and ask for ransom. We could split it between us like two gentlemen,” he whispered and gave Noir a polite nod. Appealing to the highwayman’s self-importance should do the trick. His kind were known for a love of opulence and status they didn’t deserve.

He must have managed to surprise the thief, because Noir’s grip on him faltered. “How much could I ask for a son who hates his father?”

Julian exhaled in relief when he felt Noir’s aggression turn away from him. “A lot. He needs me. I’m worth more than you can imagine,” he said with a small smile.

Noir stole another glance at Horace sleeping in the back of the carriage, and his gloved hand slid to Julian’s neck, squeezing around his nape in a way that had Julian rising to his toes. “You better be. You scream, or try to run, and I will kill you.”

Julian swallowed against the warm, soft leather. It felt surprisingly expensive. Might have been snatched from a gentleman. “I don’t doubt that,” he lied. “However, we share a common goal, friend.”

“Call me ‘friend’ once this is all over.” Noir shook his head and pushed Julian behind the carriage, where a gloriously jet-black stallion awaited its rider, and watched Julian with eyes as dark as Noir’s.

“I hope you haven’t hurt our driver. He’s a good fellow,” said Julian, smiling at the huge beast in front of him.

“He’ll live. Your brother will find him once he wakes up.”

Julian was sure there had to be a hint of a smile under that black scarf. When Noir put the gun inside his coat, Julian tried to assess the man more thoroughly.

The black leather riding coat was worn but of good quality. Could have been stolen too, but the clothes underneath, as black as everything the man wore, were clean, suggesting the highwayman wasn’t sleeping rough somewhere. Unless he dressed up for robbery.

Julian opened his mouth to comment on the beauty of the horse, but Noir spun Julian around and pulled back his hands.

“Good heavens. We’re partners,” Julian whispered with distaste. Hot and cold sweats were hitting him in rapid waves, and he couldn’t tell whether he was scared or excited about this new development. Once he got out of this, he could write a novel about the peril of travellers attacked by rogues while driving through a dark, rainy forest, and with a bit of poetic license, call it a true story.

“I haven’t decided on that yet,” said Noir, and a cold shiver went down Julian’s back at the proficiency with which the man tied his hands. A former sailor perhaps? That wouldn’t bode well, as those types rarely possessed the intellectual capability for complicated schemes. His speech was also far too refined to have been only recently acquired. Damnation!

“Mr. Noir. I’d much rather ride with my hands free. You see, I’ve been incapacitated by gin just this morning, and I don’t feel secure enough without my hands to assist me yet. I assure you, I am harmless.”

Once Noir had tied Julian’s hands, he turned him around. “Now you are. Up.” And just as Julian was wondering how exactly he was supposed to climb atop the tall beast, the scoundrel grabbed his legs and picked him up. Julian barely refrained from screaming. It was no way to handle a gentleman, and yet he couldn’t help but be amazed by Noir’s physical prowess.

Definitely a sailor. A naval officer, perhaps.

Julian’s face flushed with heat when he imagined his bottom sticking out like a whore’s ass at a party. Good grief, what had he gotten himself into? What was next? Being kidnapped by pirates?

His foot found the stirrup, and he exhaled with relief, pushing his other leg over the horse’s hindquarters until he straddled its back. “I see no reason for this kind of treatment, considering it was I who came up with a most lucrative opportunity for you.”

“Keep that up, and I will gag you.” Noir was quick to get on the horse himself as soon as he’d attached Julian’s coat and valise to the saddle. Julian felt completely overwhelmed when the man reached for the reins, all but embracing him.

Julian shuddered and curled his shoulders to not be in the way, though no matter what he did, the shape of the saddle brought them close together. “You’re a scoundrel. Another man in your profession would have treated me right.”

Noir laughed darkly. “You are correct, sir. How could I have forgotten.” Even though the mockery had him exaggerate the polite accent, Julian was becoming certain that Noir’s natural speech was not that of someone uneducated.

Before Julian understood what was happening, Noir pulled a burlap sack over his head.

“I will scream,” whispered Julian, staring through the dots of light in the smelly thing. He squeezed his hands into fists and pushed them hard against Noir’s stomach. His mind was rattling again, as if the drunkenness returned with full force.

“No one will hear you where we’re going.”

“Julian?” came a sleepy voice from the carriage.

Noir’s thighs tensed, and he must have urged his mount to rush, as it went almost straight into gallop.

Julian screamed at the top of his lungs. “Horace!”

The stallion flew forward, and without the aid of his hands, Julian was forced to hang on to it with his legs alone, shaken like a rattle. The rapid gait moved him back and forth over the front of the saddle, making Julian stiffen and push back against the firm chest behind him. Without seeing where they were going, Julian tried to hold on to anything he had on hand, and as it happened, it was probably Noir’s waistcoat. If the horse tripped, at least they would stumble and break their bones together. Or maybe the villain would cushion Julian’s fall in a well-meaning act of God.

It was Sunday.

 

Meet the Author

K. A. Merikan is the pen name for Kat and Agnes Merikan, a team of writers, who are mistaken for sisters with surprising regularity. Kat’s the mean sergeant and survival specialist of the duo, never hesitating to kick Agnes’s ass when she’s slacking off. Her memory works like an easy-access catalogue, which allows her to keep up with both book details and social media. Also works as the emergency GPS. Agnes is the Merikan nitpicker, usually found busy with formatting and research. Her attention tends to be scattered, and despite being over thirty, she needs to apply makeup to buy alcohol. Self-proclaimed queen of the roads.

They love the weird and wonderful, stepping out of the box, and bending stereotypes both in life and books. When you pick up a Merikan book, there’s one thing you can be sure of – it will be full of surprises.

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