BLURB: One can’t walk the path of darkness and expect to escape unscathed. At eighteen, Foster Erickson stepped out of the closet into a world of homelessness, prostitution, and drugs. Years later, he’s pulled it together and is ready to rebuild. Determined not to let the demons win, Foster starts university with a plan to keep others from making the same mistakes he did. The last thing he expects is Sylvester Roberts. After years of working with his father, Sylvester decides to step out on his own. University at his age is strange, but for him, failure isn’t an option. After flunking a few tests, Sylvester’s professor assigns him a tutor—Foster Erickson. The moment they meet, Sylvester knows Foster isn’t like other guy
As the darkness hovers and Sylvester begins falling, he will have to decide if helping Foster fight his demons will be worth it in the end
REVIEW: Foster’s character intrigued me from the first page. His past was really heartbreaking but not uncommon, which is even more heartbreaking. Here was a young man who fell into homelessness, sexual assault, drugs and forced into prostitution to survive and to feed his drug habit, which I suspect he fell into as a way to cope with his situation. Reading about his painful past will have your heart in your throat, it was just so sad to read. With the help of a cop who befriended him, Foster was able to escape his circumstances and get himself together. Understandably, there were some residual effects from his past which he is getting help for. Foster’s life is going well and he’s starting college. This is where he meets Sylvester.
Sylvester is a successful older student who is striking out on his own after years of working for his father. He needed a tutor Foster was recommended to him. Sylvester was intrigued by the beautiful man but he sensed Foster’s general uneasiness at being touched, of getting close to anyone, both emotionally and physically.
This story flows so well. At first I thought that I would’ve liked to have had more information on Foster’s past but now that I think about it, I’m glad the author chose to place more emphasis on his present and future, the happiness he finds and the relationship (first friendship, then romantic) he’s building with Sylvester. I love how she gave both MCs equal amounts of attention. I also loved how she wrote Sylvester’s character. This man was beautiful, intelligent, compassionate and passionate, loving, patient, tender and kind yet tough. He understood that he needed to proceed with a great deal of caution and patience in pursuing Foster because of his past. I adored these men individually but together as well.
Foster’s painful past made me cheer that much harder for him to find peace and happiness with Sylvester. And Foster’s friend Jason is an absolute sweetheart who was always there to with a shoulder to lean on, cry on and advise to help him along.
I enjoyed everything about this book. The characters, storyline and flow were well executed. I loved that it’s interracial and there were no ridiculous stereotypes in neither them or the storyline. Really, if it wasn’t mentioned purely for the character’s physical appearances you would never have known the race or ethnicity of the characters as the author wrote them all the same. The two MCs were simply two men who meet, fall in love and work through some issues to make their relationship work.
I also loved the cover. It was strikingly beautiful and is what initially draws your attention to the book.
I will definitely recommend this book as well as this author.
In the sequel to the Rainbow-Award-winning Skythane, Xander and Jameson thought they’d fulfilled their destiny when they brought the worlds of Oberon and Titania back together, but their short-lived moment of triumph is over.
Reunification has thrown the world into chaos. A great storm ravaged Xander’s kingdom of Gaelan, leaving the winged skythane people struggling to survive. Their old enemy, Obercorp, is biding its time, waiting to strike. And to the north, a dangerous new adversary gathers strength, while an unexpected ally awaits them.
In the midst of it all, Xander’s ex Alix returns, and Xander and Jameson discover that their love for each other may have been drug-induced.
Are they truly destined for each other, or is what they feel concocted? And can they face an even greater challenge when their world needs them most?
The Oberon Cycle: Book Two
About the Oberon Cycle:
Xander is a skythane man whose wings have always been a liability on the lander-dominated half world of Oberon.
Jameson is a lander who has been sent to Oberon to find out why the supply of the psycho-amoratic drug pith has dropped off.
What neither knows is that they have a shared destiny that will change the two of them – and all of Oberon – forever.
This is my first time writing a series – at least, the first time one has ever been accepted for publication.
To make things a little more crazy, I’m actually writing two.
The first is the Oberon Cycle, a sci fi trilogy with a heavy dose of MM romance that started with “Skythane”. The second, “Liminal Sky”, is a queer sci fi series that doesn’t really have any romance, and is a little more epic-long-term in scale.
“Lander” is book two in the Oberon Cycle, and as I write this, I find myself in a weird place, stretched a bit thin across the whole trilogy.
I am re-reading “Skythane” to make sure I don’t miss anything while writing the third and final book, “Ithani.” I have just finished edits recently for book two, “Lander.” And of course, I am writing “Ithani.” It’s a bit like being trapped in three different times at once. Events that happen over a stretch of time are compressed and mixed together, and I’m having a hard time remembering the proper order.
In short, I am swimming in the depths of Oberon.
It’s actually kind pf fun though, as it’s giving me the opportunity to make connections between books one and three that I might have missed otherwise. Like, why does Alix have long hair in book one and short hair in two and three? And how does he feel about it?
It’s a small example, sure, but it’s indicative of the kind of things that come up when you try to ensure consistency across a number of books. Sometimes it’s too late, so as a writer you have to come up with the reasons why.
Next time I write a series, I’ll probably do things a little differently. Outline a little better? Track character traits more closely? I have gotten better over the course of the three books, but my track record in book one is looking a little dismal LOL.
Anyhow, once it’s done, all the seams should be cleaned up and the holes plugged, so that you the reader won’t notice them. And if I do my job right, some of the errors might even turn into some of the story’s best twists and turns.
A writer can hope, right?
Scott is giving away a $25 Amazon gift certificate and three copies of his queer sci fi eBook “The Stark Divide.”
Xander stared at the torrent of water pouring over the cavern entrance. Somewhere out there, Quince and the others were lost in the storm.
“What happened to everyone else?” Jameson shouted, putting his hand on Xander’s shoulder.
“I don’t know. Last I saw them was before the lightning strike.” How had things changed so quickly?
Jameson started toward the exit. “We have to look for them!”
Xander pulled him back.
Jameson’s eyes were wild.
He squeezed Jameson’s hands, trying to reassure him. “Hey, calm down. There’s nothing we can do right now.”
“We already lost Morgan.” Jameson’s eyes pleaded with him. “I can’t lose the rest of them.”
Xander shook his head. “It’s no use. We’ll never find them in this tempest. They’re seasoned veterans. They can take care of themselves. We’ll go looking after the storm passes.” The loss of Morgan weighed on him too, though he was less and less certain that Morgan had been a human boy at all.
Jameson looked doubtful.
Xander felt it too, but there really was nothing they could do. “Hey, it’s gonna be all right.” He pulled Jameson to him, enfolding the two of them with his wings. Jameson was soaked, but Xander didn’t care.
Jameson nodded against his chest. “You’re right. Gods, I know you’re right. I’m sorry. I thought we were done with all this.”
Xander held him out at arm’s length. “Gods, huh? We’re doing the plural thing now?”
Jameson gave him a half smile. “Trying it out? When in Rome….”
“How’s your hearing?”
Jameson cocked his head. “It’s better. But everything sounds muffled.”
Xander nodded. “I can tell.”
Jameson blushed. “Am I talking too loud?”
“Just a little.”
Jameson smiled sheepishly. “It’s weird. It feels like my ears are full of water.”
Xander kissed him gently. “It’ll pass.” He looked around the cavern at last, his eyes gradually adjusting to the dim blue light.
The place was a faeryland, filled with rows of golden stalactites and stalagmites, like the bulwarks of an eldritch castle. Each one was a miracle of minute detail, like candle wax dripped from above. The whole cavern was lit by a turquoise-blue glow.
Xander looked around for the source. It came from pools of water on either side of the cavern. The scintillating light shimmered along the walls, creating complex, ever-changing patterns.
“Look, Jameson… it’s beautiful.” They were both a muddy mess. “We’re stuck here until the storm blows itself out. Why don’t we get cleaned up and try to rest? Then we can figure out what to do next. We have a long flight to Gaelan.” He was still shivering from the rain.
“A bath sounds like heaven.” Jameson let Xander lead him to one of the glowing ponds.
“Do you think it’s safe to go in?” Xander asked, pulling off his boots and testing the water with his toes. It was warm.
Jameson looked queasy, but then he smiled. “They called them faery ponds. There’s a microscopic organism that makes the light. It’s harmless, but beautiful.” He grinned. “Romantic, even.”
Ah, that’s how you knew this place. “You’ve been here before, haven’t you?” he said, slowly and clearly, gesturing to indicate Jameson and the cavern. His own generational memories were still fleeting, occasional things.
Jameson’s smile fled. He shrugged. “Not me personally….”
“Shhh. I know.” If he closed his eyes and focused, he could see this place too, but he seemed to be able to block them out when they were inconvenient. “Too many memories.” Xander pointed at his head.
Jameson nodded. He looked relieved. He reached out and pulled Xander close, his hands warm on Xander’s waist.
Xander slipped his arms around Jameson and kissed him once, twice. He wrinkled his nose. “You’re filthy and you stink! So do I.” He held up his shirt as proof. It was covered in mud stains.
Jameson laughed. “We can fix that.”
He helped Jameson unlace the sides of his shirt, pulling it off to reveal the naked skin underneath. Jameson returned the favor, his hands lingering for a moment before withdrawing to pull down his own pants.
They shucked their wet and dirty clothes and descended into the water. It was surprisingly warm, silky and smooth around Xander’s waist.
The pool was about three meters across and sloped down to about a meter deep at the far end. There was a warm, gentle current drifting past Xander’s legs, and the stone beneath his feet had been worn smooth by water and time.
Xander washed the grime off his skin, and it drifted off into the water around him.
Jameson pulled him in deeper and gestured for him to lower his head.
Xander lay in Jameson’s arms, and warm water washed over him, carrying the mud and dirt out of his hair. Jameson massaged his scalp, pulling away the twigs and bits of gunk he’d accumulated on the mad run through the forest in the storm.
Xander’s desire threatened to overwhelm him at Jameson’s gentle touch. He dipped his face into the water and rinsed off. It was so fucking good to get clean.
He shook his head, splashing Jameson, who shot him an aggrieved look.
The look turned into a wicked grin, and Jameson splashed him back. Then they were going after each other and laughing, a fine mist of water flying through the air.
Damn, it’s good to hear you laugh again. Xander grabbed Jameson and kissed him, harder this time, and Jameson’s body responded. They fell back into the water, and Jameson was hard against him, his own need naked before Xander’s desire.
After all that had happened, Xander needed to feel human and alive again. He tugged Jameson back to the shallow part of the pool and pulled his skythane down on top of him, Jameson’s skin warm against his own.
He kissed Jameson’s neck and nibbled on his ear, eliciting a low moan.
Jameson wanted this as much as he did. He could tell.
For a long, slow, ecstatic hour, Xander forgot all about the storm.
Scott lives between the here and now and the what could be. Indoctrinated into fantasy and sci fi by his mother at the tender age of nine, he devoured her library. But as he grew up, he wondered where the people like him were.
He decided it was time to create the kinds of stories he couldn’t find at Waldenbooks. If there weren’t gay characters in his favorite genres, he would remake them to his own ends.
His friends say Scott’s brain works a little differently – he sees relationships between things that others miss, and gets more done in a day than most folks manage in a week. He seeks to transform traditional sci fi, fantasy, and contemporary worlds into something unexpected.
He runs Queer Sci Fi and QueeRomance Ink with his husband Mark, sites that bring queer people together to promote and celebrate fiction that reflects their own reality.
Hi! I’m Kris T. Bethke, and let me give a great big thanks for hosting me today on my blog tour! I’ve stopped in to bring you an excerpt from Ghost of a Chance, which releases tomorrow. This book is not only part of the Dreamspun Beyond line, but it’s also the first in my new Requiem Inc series.
Requiem Inc. employs ghostwalkers—people who have the ability to temporarily die and, while they are on the spirit plane, help reluctant spirts cross ove. In order to do their jobs, ghostwalkers need anchors. Blake is a ghostwalker. Derek is his new anchor. And neither man anticipates what happens between them.
I hope you’ll check it out.
“Hey, B? How spicy do you like the carne asada?”
Blake sat up fast, and his head appeared over the back of the couch. He’d been lying down, reading a book while Derek puttered in the kitchen. He peered at Derek with a skeptical look on his face.
“You’re making….” Blake shook his head. “Is there anything you can’t do?”
Derek chuckled, pleased down to his core that he’d impressed Blake yet again. Derek was showing off, and he liked that Blake noticed. He’d always taken care of people, but very few of those people had actually appreciated his gestures. In fact there were quite a few who had just taken it for granted. Blake seemed more than appreciative now that they’d gotten past their initial stumbling blocks.
And Derek really liked watching the man enjoy food.
He shrugged. “You mentioned you liked Mexican, so I dug around in the cupboards, and this is what I could make.”
Blake stared wide-eyed for a long moment and then squinted. “I mentioned I liked Mexican once. In passing. In the middle of a very long, very involved story about my brother’s ill-advised tattoo.”
“I pay attention.” Derek winked.
With a smile playing at the edges of his mouth, Blake shook his head. “And we just happened to have steak in the cupboards, hmm?”
Derek shrugged. “Well. I might have asked the kitchen to send some up. I had all the rest. They keep this place pretty well stocked. And I thought, since it’s our last night holed up away from the world together, I’d make something nice. The rice is the instant kind, though. Sorry.”
“Don’t worry about the rice.” Blake pulled himself up so he was kneeling on the seat. He propped his elbows up on the back and rested his chin in his hands. “Do you need any help?”
Derek loved that he offered, and he could tell Blake was more than willing to help, but he was just about done. “I got this. All I need is for you to tell me how you want it. On a scale of ‘what spice?’ to ‘oh my God I just burned all my taste buds and I’ll never be the same again.’”
Blake threw his head back and laughed. The sound went straight to Derek’s gut, and that pleasant feeling grew. He loved that he’d gotten such a positive reaction from Blake. They were enjoying each other’s company. It was a win.
“Medium.” Blake pressed a hand to his chest as he regained his breath. “Just enough to give it a little kick, to be able to really taste it.”
“You got it.” Derek gave him a salute. Then he felt ridiculous and laughed at himself. He added chipotle and chili powder to his marinade and whisked the whole thing until it was well combined. He poured it into a plastic bag with the flank steak, sealed it, and set it on the bottom shelf of the fridge.
When he turned, Blake was leaning against the counter. His arms were crossed over his chest and so were his legs at the ankles. He cocked his head to the side, and he looked curious, not defensive. Rather than ask Blake what was on his mind, Derek mimicked his pose against the fridge.
“Sweet or salty?” Blake’s voice was low—bordering on sultry—and Derek was suddenly glad his jeans were just tight enough to keep his body’s reaction from being too obvious.
“Depends on my mood. But if I had to choose? Salty.”
Blake’s blue eyes darkened to midnight. “Yeah. Me too.”
Only love makes life worth living—over and over again.
Ghostwalker Blake Jones dies every day. It’s his job and how he helps trapped souls cross over. But to return to life, he needs an anchor. His new partner, Derek Scott, is a surprise. Not only is he male, but his appearance belies a caring and gentle heart underneath. Despite attraction and a strengthening relationship, they know they shouldn’t take things further.
But there’s a big difference between knowing and doing.
Their growing love presents a problem, though not the one they expect. Blake and Derek have to decide if they should take their relationship to the most permanent level—an unbreakable metaphysical bond. Doing so offers both risk and unimaginable reward. Can Blake let go of his fears and put his complete trust in Derek in order to have the happily ever after he’s always craved?
Kris T. Bethke has been a voracious reader for pretty much her entire life and has been writing stories for nearly as long. An avid and prolific daydreamer, she always has a story in her head. She spends most of her free time reading, writing, or knitting/crocheting her latest project. Her biggest desire is to find a way to accomplish all three tasks at one time. A classic muscle car will always turn her head, and naps on the weekend are one of her greatest guilty pleasures. She lives in a converted attic with a way too fluffy cat and the voices in her head. She’ll tell you she thinks that’s a pretty good deal. Kris believes that love is love, no matter the gender of people involved, and that all love deserves to be celebrated.
Find her on her sitehttps://kristbethke.com
Thanks for hosting me today as part of my blog tour for Prelude to Love, a Dreamspun Desire novel from Dreamspinner Press.
I have a Rafflecopter running as part of the tour so be sure to enter.
Opposites attract is a common romance trope, and one that works well for Prelude to Love. Choosing Joel’s occupation was easy as it was a part of the plot, and that the opening scene was inspired by the fact I used to be a music teacher.
Marcus’s occupation took a bit more thought. Lawn mowing franchises have become popular in the last few years as people work longer hours and have less time to spend on caring for their section. It fit his personality too, as he’s someone who enjoys the satisfaction of a job well done, and often uses physical labour to work through whatever problems come his way. It was also a job that would work for him in Wellington when he relocates from Hokitika. His home town is more rural than where he now lives. I visited Hokitika a few years ago when I did a road trip of the West Coast of the South Island, and loved it. The people were very friendly, and it’s basically one main street with shops, and the rest is homes and farms. Marcus is very much a man who likes everything in its place, and doesn’t deal with change, while Joel, while organised, is more spontaneous.
I thought it would be more interesting if one of them wasn’t from Wellington as it gives the other the chance to highlight local spots he enjoys visiting. However, it isn’t Marcus’s first trip to Wellington as he has family here. He reminds Joel of this when Joel warns him about the famous Wellington wind.
An ongoing joke in the story is Joel’s love of classical music, although he enjoys other genres too. Marcus listens to music but he isn’t a musician, and his tastes are more modern. Music plays a big part in this story, as Joel is a music teacher, and I also took the opportunity to introduce readers to New Zealand group, The Mutton Birds.
Although Marcus and Joel are opposites in many ways, they still find common ground and interests in which to connect, and building a strong friendship upon which to build their romance. One of the reasons I like the opposites attract trope is that both men bring something to the relationship with the opportunity to expand the other’s world view and experience.
Music speaks directly to the heart.
Two very different men face turning points in their lives after the collapse of long-term relationships….
Joel is a music teacher who knows it’s time to forget his ex and move on, while Marcus runs a lawn-mowing business and has come to Wellington to escape the reminders of a recent breakup. Although they’re opposites, when Joel and Marcus connect, their romance has the potential to hit all the right notes.
Too bad neither of them feels ready for new love.
With family and friends in common, dating is risky—things could get messy if it doesn’t work out. The sweet song of possibility draws them to each other, though, and they share a kiss following a Chopin prelude. But it will take some practice and perseverance to find their perfect harmony….
Joel stood on the stage at the front of the orchestra. He looked up when the door opened, and smiled.
Several of the kids in the orchestra turned around to see what Joel was looking at. A couple of the girls sitting in the front row of violins glanced back at Joel and then again at Marcus, but didn’t say anything.
Joel cleared his throat. “Okay, let’s take that one from bar thirty. Everyone found that? It’s two bars before the first time bar, so we’re going to play from there and do the repeat. I’ll give you a bar for nothing.” He raised his baton. “One. Two. Three.”
The orchestra began playing one of the tunes Joel had been humming the week before.
Marcus found a seat at the front of the hall, next to a woman about his own age. She tapped her foot along with the music and kept her eyes on Joel more than the musicians did.
A few other adults sat around them, listening. One woman seemed absorbed in whatever was on her tablet, although she nodded in time with the music and looked up when the flutes began to play.
Probably parents come to pick up their kids.
Marcus suddenly felt the odd one out, although he didn’t regret coming. Joel had an intensity about him when he conducted that was missing when he gave piano lessons. Although he’d been focused on his students then too, this felt different. Conducting was something Joel clearly loved—it reminded Marcus of when Joel had played the prelude for him.
A trumpet blared, jarring Marcus from his thoughts.
Joel lowered his baton, and although most of the orchestra stopped, the kid playing the trumpet didn’t seem to notice.
“Quentin!” Joel called, and the kid suddenly stopped playing.
“Yes, Mr. Ashcroft?”
“I think you’re a couple of bars ahead of the rest of us,” Joel said. “You’re sounding great, but it doesn’t quite work if you come in at the wrong place.” He spoke softly, so it didn’t sound like a reprimand.
One of the boys playing clarinet grinned, and the girl next to him giggled.
“Everyone makes mistakes,” Joel said. “Next time it might be someone else coming in at the wrong place. Even me.”
The whole orchestra laughed.
“Now,” Joel said, “I think we can run this through from where we were before, but this time we’ll just keep going until the end of the piece. So play the second time bar instead of the first. Okay?”
Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with two cats who are convinced that the house is run to suit them; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date it appears as though the cats may be winning. In 2008 she completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra. She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth. She also hosts other authors, reviews for the GLBTQ Historical Site “Our Story” and Top2Bottom Reviews, and writes monthly blog posts for Love Bytes.
Anne’s books have received honorable mentions five times, reached the finals four times—one of which was for best gay book—and been a runner up in the Rainbow Awards. She has also been nominated twice in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards—once for Best Fantasy and once for Best Historical.
Dane McCormick’s job negotiating leases and building out furnished office suites takes him all over the country. He stays until the job is done—and then he moves on. As satisfying as the job is, it leaves him no place to call home and no chance to build a personal life. After arriving in Greenville, South Carolina, for a job, a severe stomach virus knocks Dane for a loop. He finds a local urgent care clinic… and a tall, dark, and handsome doctor who goes well above and beyond his duties to treat Dane. The doctor’s bedside manner makes Dane forget all about his stomach flu.
Carter Baldridge has dedicated his life to caring for others. Since graduating from medical school, he has spent all his time and energy building his urgent care business. But the morning he steps into his examining room and sees Dane McCormick on the table, he realizes it might be time to devote some attention to a part of life he has neglected. The spark is there, but so is a major obstacle in the form of Dane’s peripatetic lifestyle and a bad experience in Carter’s past. Both have to decide if the risk is worth the reward.
Happy Holidays All!
I like to thank Kimi for allowing me to spend a little time with you. Someone to Kiss is about a traveling workaholic who loves his job, but wants to put down roots somewhere. He thinks he finally did that in Greenville, SC and soon after he unexpectedly meets Carter and Dane can’t believe his good fortune.
Dane has been on cloud nine for months. He has a home of his own and not living out of an extended stay hotel, he has Carter and he finds himself with a permanent smile on his face. Today he’s not only smiling but also humming along to Christmas tunes, anticipating the approaching New Year and all the possibilities. But all that changes when he get’s a call from his boss. I don’t want to give away too much of the story but these guys struggle with the outcome of that call while they navigate how to handle a possible eighteen-month separation. They’re in an odd place. Their relationship is flourishing but they’ve not been together long enough to commit, but long enough to know they have something special. Unfortunately, decisions have to be made.
Below you can read a little excerpt, but before you do, I’d like to know what you’d do in their situation. When two people with careers and obligations are forced to make a choice between career and love, what do they do? Would you give up everything for love, give up love for your career, try to enter into a long distance relationship?
If you do decide to share your thoughts, you’ll automatically be entered into a drawing for an e-book of “Someone to Kiss.”
Thanks for spending the time with me and I wish you and yours all the goodness the New Year has to offer.
Now here’s your excerpt and lot of other stuff about where to find me and my books, especially “Someone to Kiss.”
Dane McCormick stood at the freight elevator on the loading dock with his clipboard in hand, checking off load after load of office and conference room furniture, boxes of computer and communications equipment, mirrors and artwork, and seemingly unending cases of decorative accessories.
It was mid-December and almost four months since the build-out had started. Dane happily hummed along to Blake Shelton singing “Jingle Bell Rock” and even bounced to the beat a little. Holidays or not, he always seemed to be humming these days because he was, well, happy. Happier than he’d ever been. He and his boyfriend, Carter Baldridge, had been almost inseparable since their first date, and he was sure this was heading in a very good direction. They fit together like a hand and a glove. He was sure life couldn’t get much better.
Although it was cold and drafty on the dock, Dane was warm to his core and giddy with excitement. The anticipation of the approaching festivities put an endless smile on his face, and he was so looking forward to spending Christmas and New Year’s with Carter. To Dane, this time of year had always represented family, but he and Carter had selfishly decided this was their time, and neither was going home. They would spend the holidays alone together. Their families were none too happy about it, but understood.
In preparation, he and Carter had decorated two trees, one at each of their places, and shopped together for their families, even though neither had met the other’s. They knew it would happen eventually, so there was no rush.
And if Carter and Christmas weren’t enough to almost make Dane pee his pants, New Year’s Eve was not far behind. Finally, he could start the new year with someone he loved. Someone to kiss at midnight. Midnight. The signal of new beginnings.
The past four months had been so filled with joyous hope and endless possibilities that Dane could hardly stand it. But if all that personal happiness wasn’t enough, professionally this was always his favorite day of the entire build-out process. Today he got to start turning sixty empty, uninteresting offices into beautifully furnished office suites of various sizes, complete with ten conference rooms, a dozen secretarial stations, and a half-dozen kitchenettes. He would personally choose furnishings for each office, the common areas, and the conference rooms, hang all the artwork and mirrors, and place all the decorative accessories to finally bring his vision and plan to fruition.
Blake Shelton’s voice drifted off, and Dane’s phone rang. He looked at the screen and smiled when a familiar face popped up.
“Hey, Bill,” he said. “It’s awfully early to be hearing from you. It can’t be more than—” Dane looked at his watch. “—six fifteen on the West Coast?”
Bill Crocker was Dane’s best friend, his boss, and the sole owner of Omni Office Suites. Bill worked out of their San Francisco office and rarely called him this early.
“More importantly, how’s it going there?” Bill asked.
“It’s going well. I should have this place shining like a diamond in a goat’s ass by the end of next week. Why?”
“There’s been a change of plans,” Bill said.
Dane felt a wave of dread. “What kind of change?”
About the author
Scotty Cade left Corporate America and twenty-five years of Marketing and Public Relations behind to buy an Inn & Restaurant on the island of Martha’s Vineyard with his partner of over twenty years. He started writing stories as soon as he could read, but just five years ago for publication. When not at the Inn, you can find him on the bow of his boat writing gay romance novels with his Shetland sheepdog Mavis at his side. Being from the south and a lover of commitment and fidelity, all of his characters find their way to long healthy relationships, however long it takes them to get there. He believes that in the end, the boy should always get the boy.
Hey, y’all! I’m BA Tortuga, resident redneck and playlist junkie.
So, I have to say, this is one of the longest playlists I have. Why? Country music is all about booze and recovery. All about.
There are other reasons, but those would be spoilers, so I’ll just not.
Another Morning After Bleu Edmondson I’ll Have to Say I Love You In a Song Jim Croce Last Thing I Needed, First Thing This Morning Chris Stapleton Better Than I Used to Be Tim McGraw I Breathe In, I Breathe Out Chris Cagle Lonely No More (iTunes Originals Version) Rob Thomas Bridge Over Troubled Water Simon & GarfunkelAnywhere But Here Chris Cagle Flying Dutchman (B-side Version) Tori Amos Burning House Cam Don’t Jewel Secure Yourself Indigo Girls Forgiveness Patty Griffin Take Me to Church HozierDrinkin’ Problem Midland Up to the Mountain (MLK Song) Patty Griffin Song for the Asking (Live) Simon & Garfunkel If I Said You Had a Beautiful Body Would You Hold It Against Me Bellamy Brothers No One Is To Blame Howard Jones Going Under EvanescenceEverybody Hurts R.E.M. Fast Cars And Freedom Rascal Flatts Closer to Fine Indigo Girls Closing Time Semisonic Anna Begins Counting Crows A Case of You Joni Mitchell Inside Out (Acoustic Version) Eve 6 Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright Peter, Paul & Mary Mad World (The Voice Performance) Taylor John Williams Don’t Speak No Doubt Bridge Over Troubled Water Simon & Garfunkel Whiskey And You Tim McGraw Putting The Damage On Tori Amos Blue Ain’t Your Color Keith Urban Suede Tori Amos Trouble Me 10,000 Maniacs We Were Us Keith Urban & Miranda Lambert Enough Of Me Melissa Etheridge Come On Get Higher (Live Bonus Track) Sugarland Anything Goes Randy Houser
I Could Fly Keith Urban Nobody’s Crying Patty Griffin Ain’t Worth the Whiskey Cole Swindell
Help Me Make It Through the Night Sammi Smith Losing My Religion (Unplugged) R.E.M. Let Him Fly Patty Griffin Gravity Sara Bareilles Let Her Go Passenger Stand Back Up Sugarland Either Way Chris Stapleton If It Wasn’t for the Whiskey Zac HackerLeave The Pieces The Wreckers The Truth Trent Willmon Habit (Needle In My Arm) Roger Creager At This Moment Billy Vera and the Beaters Whiskey and You Chris Stapleton
Counting My Lucky Stars Mike Stinson All For You (acoustic) Sister Hazel If I Go, I’m Goin (feat. Macy Maloy) Bart Crow Rain King Counting Crows What Hurts the Most (Live Acoustic) Aaron LewisGood Enough (acoustic guitar) Sarah McLachlan Kiss Me When I’m Down Ryan Kinder We’ve Got Tonight Bob Seger Drive Melissa Ferrick Tin Man Miranda Lambert
Much love, y’all.
Recovery: Book Two
Love is a fragile thing, and it can slip through your fingers if you don’t hold on tight….
When Zack Jung’s AA sponsor and friend commits suicide, he’s desperate to hold it together, and there’s only one place he can turn. He calls Josh and Kris, and they take him back to their ranch outside Santa Fe.
A cowboy to the bone, Cimarron Duran cherishes his orderly life and routine. He likes his neighbors, Kris and Josh, but he has less than no interest in the hipster personal trainer who comes to stay with them—or at least, he plans to fight his interest in favor of his solitary life and his art.
But some things are as inevitable as the weather, and when Zack and Cimarron finally come together, they find they don’t want to let go. It won’t be easy, though, for two men with pasts like theirs to forge a happy future together.
Texan to the bone and an unrepentant Daddy’s Girl, BA Tortuga spends her days with her basset hounds and her beloved wife, texting her sisters, and eating Mexican food. When she’s not doing that, she’s writing. She spends her days off watching rodeo, knitting and surfing Pinterest in the name of research. BA’s personal saviors include her wife, Julia Talbot, her best friend, Sean Michael, and coffee. Lots of coffee. Really good coffee.
Having written everything from fist-fighting rednecks to hard-core cowboys to werewolves, BA does her damnedest to tell the stories of her heart, which was raised in Northeast Texas, but has heard the call of the high desert and lives in the Sandias. With books ranging from hard-hitting GLBT romance, to fiery menages, to the most traditional of love stories, BA refuses to be pigeon-holed by anyone but the voices in her head. Find her on the web at http://www.batortuga.com
The Earth is in a state of collapse, with wars breaking out over resources and an environment pushed to the edge by human greed.
Three living generation ships have been built with a combination of genetic mastery, artificial intelligence, technology, and raw materials harvested from the asteroid belt. This is the story of one of them—43 Ariadne, or Forever, as her inhabitants call her—a living world that carries the remaining hopes of humanity, and the three generations of scientists, engineers, and explorers working to colonize her.
From her humble beginnings as a seedling saved from disaster to the start of her journey across the void of space toward a new home for the human race, The Stark Divide tells the tales of the world, the people who made her, and the few who will become something altogether beyond human.
Humankind has just taken its first step toward the stars.
If you are a fan of epic sci fi, this is the book for you. Coatsworth writes an engaging tale that spans generations, as we follow them from the first scrabble to leave the dying Earth onwards. The rich prose grabbed me from the very start, drawing me into a future world that seemed familiar and possible. I found myself swept along with the ideals of the would-be colonists, and suffered the disillusion as old prejudices reared their heads, infecting the new society they had created. It’s got me hooked, waiting with bated breath to see what happens next. It’s a journey that has only just begun and I for one am along for the ride.
BLURB:Sasha was born to, and has always defined himself by, the secret assassins’ Order of the Crimson Scythe. He chose the love of Yarrow L’Estrella and Duncan Purefoy over his duty to his clan, forfeiting his last mission and allowing Prince Garith to live. Now, the order-previously Sasha’s family-has branded him a traitor. He’s marked, and that means the brethren of the Crimson Scythe won’t stop until Sasha is dead.
Garith’s twin kingdoms balance on the brink of war, and all three men have reasons to help the king, whether loyalty, duty, the interests of their own lands, or gold in their pockets. Still, Yarrow and Duncan are willing to abandon their reasons to seek out and destroy the assassins’ order to keep Sasha safe. But Sasha isn’t sure that’s what he wants. Loyalties are strained by both foreign invaders and conspirators in their midst. It’s hard to know which side to choose with threats piling up from every direction and war looming, inevitable, on the horizon. Their world teeters on the precipice of change, and Sasha, Duncan, and Yarrow can only hope the links they’ve forged will hold if Garith’s kingdom is torn apart.
REVIEW: Well, things haven’t settled down any since Book 2. If anything, the situation is even more chaotic than ever! Yarrow and Duncan are at their wits’ end with worry about the threat the Crinsom Scythe pose to Sasha, and Sasha’s indecisiveness isn’t helping any! I’ve been addicted to this sweeping saga since the very first book, and the journey has gotten even better in this awesome book. Gus Li is a master wordsmith, painting a vivid, compelling world where the characters are three dimensional, complex, and I feel like I almost know them as my friends. I DEFINITELY recommend this facinating tale to everyone, and suggest that you start with reading the first two books in this gripping series in order to really appreciate just how great it is. I can’t wait to get my hands on the next book, and am looking forward to many happy hours of reading.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
“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.”
“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.