Category Archives: Historical

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

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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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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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Vanya Says Go by Wayne Goodman -Blog Tour with Excerpt and #Giveaway

In 1906, Mikhail Kuzmin published “Wings,” the first book in Russian to discuss same-sex relationships in a positive light. With “Vanya Says, ‘Go!,’” Wayne Goodman retells the story from the perspective of the young man at the heart of the tale. The original work contained only three sections, but a fourth has been added to round out the story and provide some closure.
Kuzmin was one of the most celebrated poets of his time, the Silver Age of Russian Poetry. While his poems were quite successful, his somewhat-autobiographical novel “Wings” met with skepticism and criticism. Kuzmin used many constructs from poetry (characters who appear all too briefly with no second mention, plot jumps with little connecting material, long-winded orations); however, his descriptions of scenery are exquisite, and the dialogue is quirky and colorful. “Vanya Says, ‘Go!'” is crafted for the modern reader while keeping much of the original Russian style. It is a window into a time and places long gone. The story is narrated by the main character, who at 16 years of age is dealing with being an orphan foisted off on friends of distant relatives and attempting to acquaint himself with his sexual orientation while also discovering various religious and philosophical frameworks.

“An exemplary study in classic Russian literary charm… with a choice cast of picaresque characters. Goodman draws the reader into the desperate historical moment of pre-revolutionary St. Petersburg, and artfully stages Vanya’s gay yearnings against its fast-moving currents.” — Edmund Zagorin

“The author accurately evokes a long-lost Russia through his marvelous characters and descriptions… the underlying commentary on the decaying social order, and the romance of that forgotten time period.” — Andrew Demcak

“Set in Old Russia… this is an interesting, fact-based story of an orphaned gay youth and his attempt to find himself, his own opinions, and love.” — Daniel Curzon

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  • Amazon US | Amazon UK | SmashwordsWatch Wayne Goodman read from Vanya Says “Go!” on Facebook

     

    EXCERPT
    A few days later the Kazanskys occupied their usual positions around the dining room at breakfast. Nata, Boba, and Koka sat in the alcove, Kostya and Anna at the table. When I walked into the room, no one paid me any attention. I just wanted a few slices of their stale, dark bread, some of their foul-smelling, oily butter, and a small cup of their nasty coffee.
    Just as I reached for the butter knife, Konstantin Vasilyevich sputtered, “What’s this?” He set down the newspaper that had been obscuring his unshaven face. “Listen, everyone. Listen to this.”
    Nata, Boba, and Koka stopped stirring their coffees, Anna Nikolayevna looked at her husband, and I dropped the knife back onto the dish with a clunk!
    “Mysterious suicide,” Kostya read to us, “Yesterday, in Furshtadtskaya Street, at the apartment of an English citizen, L.D. Stroop, a suicide.”
    My heart stopped. I had heard that stupid expression before, thinking it silly because no one’s heart could stop without an impending death. However, at that moment, I fully understood the feeling and the meaning of the words. Had my Stroop taken his own life? He had sounded very upset about some situation, but I couldn’t believe he would kill himself. At least not before seeing me one last time.

    Giveaway: Win a SIGNED paperback of Vanya Says, “Go!”

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    About the Author
    Wayne Goodman has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area most of his life (with too many cats). When not writing, he enjoys playing Gilded Age parlor music on the piano, with an emphasis on women, gay, and Black composers.

    Links: Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Guest Post by Phetra Novak, Author of Finding Home and Haven’s Revenge (Caddo Norse Series)

havens revenge

Norse mythology, actually most kind of mythology, has been a subject that have been close to my heart for most of my life. I am by far the least religious person you can find but the myths and lore about the vikings and Norse Gods, bloody as it may be has always put a thrill in me. And in a way I guess it is just the fact that it is more lore and folktales than religion that suits me. Because lore and folktales are more commonly known as tales, unlike religion that is taken as a fact and truth even though there’s nothing that proves that it is anything else but 95% lore too.The idea of turning Norse mythology and Native American lore into one well-oiled series was never really the plan, Haven was at the start, a Native American were

The idea of turning Norse mythology and Native American lore into one well-oiled series was never really the plan, Haven was at the start, a Native American were hunter who was going to have no other passion than traveling the roads like a nomad. His only mission in life that of killing off the entire shifter race because of what one crazed shifter did to his family and tribe. He was never meant to have a lover, a group of men and women who he considered his family, no his story was at the early stages of my brain’s development of this story a very solitude and dark life.

It wasn’t until I started plotting out his story that the idea of Norse Mythology and the Fenrir Ulv, being the ultimate father of all shifters, started to creep into my mind. First, the Fenrir Ulv was going to be the Ultimate shifter, as he still is, the father of all creation when it came to were shifters. He was meant to have been Haven’s ultimate challenge, who Haven, in the end, was meant to die from trying to kill, and who know’s he might just still do that, but all in all no matter what happens  the path Haven went down was nothing like I first anticipated or planned.

Native American lore and history have is another subject that has always been something that has fascinated me. Native Americans being the only real natives of the continent of North America, it’s always surprised me how little we see of that history there. They were there, living the earth, making homes and a living long before Columbus discovered the Americas and were and are a huge part, the essential part of North American history and still “the white” man’s minute long presence is what dominates our history books. With Haven’s Revenge, I wanted to change that, I wanted to make Native American history and lore a main part of the story.

Those who have read my books, and I guess especially those that have read my books and knows me, know’s I favor the underdog, the oddball, the grumpy goodhearted bastards of society who everyone else has lost faith in, those are the men and women I prefer since following the stream of political correctness has never really been my cup of tea. I can honestly say I despise political correctness for the sake of it because way too many people hide behind it and are allowed to act like cowards because of it.

Planning Haven’s Revenge, at the beginning, was fairly easy because his cause his reason was just going to be that of revenging his past with his acts of devotion to killing of every shifter till all of them were dead. It wasn’t until I reacquainted myself with the Fenrir Ulv and Norse Mythology, and my love for it came back to live that I started playing with the idea of making it part of the heart of my story. I mean killing the Fenrir off when he was such a cool myth and when it would be so much more fun and interesting to have him stay alive and for once being one of the good guys!

It is funny when it comes to Norse Mythology and Vikings, most people get it wrong, Thor and Odin, and even Loki always somehow become heroes like Superman or Batman. Bad boys with good guys heart when in reality all of them were if you read the Edda or other sources of Norse Mythology information, they were all evil and selfish bastards. And as for the Viking, there was nothing gentle or loving about them, they were all brutes. Barbarians.

Fated fuure

Being pretty familiar with Norse mythology researching it I knew what I was looking for and really just needed to look up details such as how the Fenrir Ulv was captured by the Asa Gods, where exactly he was held and how they drove that sword through his giant jaws. The point was to keep as much of the original lore as possible, to keep the realness of what most people know or what is known as the “truth” so that you would get that familiar feeling as you read the story. Besides the most complicated story keeps to the facts, when you start swaying out too much and you need to explain in too much great detail that is when the story is lost. At least in my eyes it is.

So, what happened between Haven being a pissed of forever lost were hunter with nothing else on his mind than prowling the land of the United States killing shifters and ending up as ranch hand training horses, being the candy of a farm boy’s eye and becoming the key to that farm boy’s future as the King of Wolves?

It is fairly stupid to call me romantic, because in reality I am not, I am way too cynical to be called romantic but I guess there’s a part of me, even if that part is fairly small, that still likes the idea of love like no other kind of love. The kind of love that will make you break all the rules, even your own, the kind of love that will get you through that long and dark tunnel and out into the light, the kind of love that makes you a possessive son of a gun and makes you wait forever and a lifetime just to be with that person for no other reason than that you have no room for anyone else. I guess a small part of me that exists out there at least for some people.

Mind you now I say love, not being in love, because even if the idea of being in love and the idea of that one perfect mate/lover/partner/second half (call it what you want) is something a lot of people hope is true, love can be any type of love it doesn’t have to be boy meets girl or boy meets boy. It can be the love between a parent and child, grandson, and grandfather and so on and so forth, and I think that you see all those kinds of loves all through Haven’s Revenge, that love is what love is and come in all different shapes and colors and none is better than the other just different.

As soon as I started to toy with the idea of making Thor and foremost Odin into the bad guys of my story and the Fenrir Ulv (and his siblings the Midgard Snake and Sleipnir) together into the good guys everything just sorts of fell into place all on its own. Coleman and Vojin they were the first characters to take form in my head, Vojin immediately being the key to the Native American lore of things.

To me, Native American culture and lore is a lot about self-discovery, about finding you inner strength, personal spirituality, and sacrifice. That you are willing to give up a lot of your own things to bring pleasure, happiness and safety for your people/family/tribe and at times that ultimate sacrifice is death itself but it is not feared because you are always protected by the spirit you made part of you. In Haven’s Revenge all of the Caddo community are a proof of this Zacharias, Haven’s father, death, Vojin being the link between the Caddo community, the Fenrir Ulv, and the Shifter council with the original eleven (twenty) cubs that were the children of the Caddo man who was the first man to ever be possessed by the Fenrir spirit and who managed to not go crazy.

The Caddo Norse story is the lack of a better word, a complex story, and I think that show’s in the criticism the book get both from people who love it and hate it, because the most common criticism it, or I have gotten, from readers and reviewers is that there’s “things” that doesn’t make sense like who the hell is Viktor and Hawk, the pop up and disappears and we don’t really great a grip on them, Vojin is essential to the story but we don’t see him enough, and this was supposed to be Haven’s and Alex’s story but it is stolen away because of all those other characters or their story was rushed (which I personally don’t get because it was dragged out to the point of almost becoming too much) but all these criticisms and others have answers.

The M/M Romance community is very used to, or spoiled (winks) with HEA’s with stories that start and ends with boy meets boy and then they live happily ever after. They are used to series where the MC are the main focus and there’s a new couple in each book and the couples from the past book or books only, if at all, makes small guest appearances. Not in mine, they don’t.

I don’t, only, write traditional romance stories, I obviously don’t mind them, but all my stories (with one exception of Finding Home) the main plot of the story isn’t love and getting the two MC’s together as a couple, they are a sidekick to the bigger picture, the red thread, the moral of the story which as in the Caddo Norse Novels is the war between the Asa Gods and the Fenrir Ulv/ Paranormal and human world. It is the war between good and evil, look and you shall find a lot of my own personal views on things all the good and all the evil represents real situations or people. What is the moral of the story? Characters pop up in Haven’s Revenge and disappears for a reason, we are shifted back and forth in time to show the reader historic events that have a purpose for the future.

And as for Haven and Alexander, whatever possessed you to think that their story was over to begin with? (Grins) There are load of things still going on with those two and their fate, their story, together as well as apart has only just begun (and that goes for Vojin too.)

finding home

Luca is a first year med student at the University of Gothenburg. He is following in his father’s footsteps, something he’d been programmed to do all his life. He lives a sheltered and still life, with no real friends. Luca would love to change that but doesn’t know how, since he always feels so odd around other people, like he doesn’t quite fit in. There’s so much inside him that wants out, like wanting to become a veterinarian more than a doctor. And the fact that he likes boys and not girls. But he doesn’t tell anyone about that—not even himself.

In comes Kai, an American cowboy in Gothenburg. He’s doing his thesis overseas to broadens his horizons before he does what he has always wanted to do, which is to go back home and run the family ranch. He just happens to see Luca one day leaving class and can’t stop watching the shy guy as he waded his way through the crowd with quick, silent steps, and his head down to avoid eye contact with anyone. For weeks Kai watches him from a distance, trying to figure out how to approach him.
Had he known that spilled coffee and slippery, awkward book bags would have gotten him close to the guy, he might have physically bumped into him a long time ago.

Finding Home is a book with star-crossed lovers meeting and the evil mind of the wicked witch in the west threatening to crush young love’s every dream!

Amazon       ARe

 

About the Author

Phetra often refers to herself as the odd man out, the dorky book nerd who rather spend her time with a good book or making up fantastic stories with even more fantastic characters, than live in the real world dealing with real people. 

The real world is strange, in a very non humorous way, and people in it complicates it to the point of wearing you out. In the world of the written word, no matter if it is in someone else’s words or that of her own things might get busy, complicated, and sometime even plain painful, but somewhere along the line there is always a hero on the horizon. He might not be prime or proper, a church going pretty boy since the author prefer rebellious men and women who don’t follow the protocols of society.
 
One of her favorite saying are that only dead fish follow the stream and well she ain’t no dead fish. 

Phetra live together with her family, two children, a domestic partner and their two cats in Gothenburg, Sweden and when reading her books you will notice that she always finds a way of bringing her on culture into her books. 

The joy of writing and reading comes from her childhood and is something she has always loved, something she is passionate to share with others. Phetra loves hearing from her readers even with ideas of what they want to come next. 

If you are looking for her, the best place to start looking is at home in the quietest corner of the house, where she’ll be curled up with either her Kindle reading or with her laptop typing away.

You can also find Phetra at:

Amazon author page: Phetra H. Novak

Webpage: http://www.phetranovak.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/PhetraNovak
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/phetra.hedlund
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14436714.Phetra_H_Novak

 

Clockwork Heart (Clockwork Love book 1) by Heidi Cullinan

clockworkFrom Samhain:

As the French army leader’s bastard son, Cornelius Stevens enjoys a great deal of latitude. But when he saves an enemy soldier using clockwork parts, he’s well aware he risks hanging for treason. That doesn’t worry him half as much, however, as the realization he’s falling for his patient.

Johann Berger never expected to survive his regiment’s suicide attack on Calais, much less wake up with mechanical parts. To avoid discovery, he’s forced to hide in plain sight as Cornelius’s lover—a role Johann finds himself taking to surprisingly well.

When a threat is made on Cornelius’s life, Johann learns the secret of the device implanted in his chest—a mythical weapon both warring countries would kill to obtain. Caught up in a political frenzy, in league with pirates, dodging rogue spies, mobsters and princesses with deadly parasols, Cornelius and Johann have no time to contemplate how they ended up in this mess. All they know is, the only way out is together—or not at all.

 

Kimi’s thoughts:

As one might surmise from the blurb and cover, this is a steampunk adventure romance. It has a lot going for it- despite the time it is set, it has a contemporary vibe in tone and doesn’t bog itself down in trying to be overly historical. It stays true to it’s aim, that of of providing swashbuckling adventure with pirates, soldiers, airships, and clockwork while serving up a dollop of romance. It’s a sweet romance on many fronts but this is Heidi Cullinan so it’s not syrupy and there is a definite edge to how our heroes like to play.

The villains are properly heinous, though much less fully fleshed out as characters than our heroes. The plot itself is fast moving though the late introduction of the parasol wielding princess felt a bit overly convenient. All in all though, this was a great way to spend some time if in the mood for something lightly spiced and most definitely fun.

Buy from Amazon

4

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Werewolves of Brooklyn by Brad Vance Tour with Excerpt and Giveaway

RC

 

Pages or Words: 54,000 words

Excerpt:
The wolf’s eyes were lava-yellow with hate. His growl and his snarl were meant to terrify Darien, to freeze him in his tracks, prepare him for his death.
Then something rose up in Darien, rage, frustration, primal energy. And his own lips curled, his own growl met the enemy’s.
The Duke retreated a pace, taken aback. Darien felt sharp pains in his palms and looked down. Where he’d had fingernails, he had claws, long and sharp, and the fists he was making were digging them into his flesh.
He smiled, exhilarated, wild. He lunged and snapped at his enemy, knowing that his canines had become…literally that, elongated spikes ready to tear out a neck.
Darien’s ears were ringing, something surging in him beyond mortal feeling – like testosterone but stronger, more powerful, the smell of victory, immortality.
“The King is mine,” Darien declared. “And I am his.”
He knew he’d taken a step from which there was no turning back. He was the King’s man, the King’s consort. He would open to Albeus and take him, and be taken by him, and he would be alone no more.
He was one of the pack.
And it curdled the blood of men for miles around when he raised his face to the full moon, and howled.

Buy the book: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B013GIMYH4

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About the author:
Brad Vance writes gay romance, erotica and paranormal stories and novels, including the breakout hits “A Little Too Broken” and “Given the Circumstances.” Keep up with Brad at BradVanceErotica.wordpress.com, email him at BradVanceErotica@gmail.com, and friend him on Facebook at facebook.com/brad.vance.10.

Where to find the author:
http://bradvanceerotica.wordpress.com
http://facebook.com/brad.vance.10
bradvanceerotica@gmail.com
BradVanceErotica on Google+
@BradVanceAuthor on Twitter
https://www.pinterest.com/bradvanceerotic/

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6886454.Brad_Vance
Publisher: Brad Vance
Cover Artist: Brad Vance

Young male fashion model posing outdoors against rustic background

Young male fashion model posing outdoors against rustic background

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Dumb Jock #1 Audiobook by Jeff Erno Narrated by Tommy O’Brien

Dreamspinner Presents

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6748

Bjocklurb

Dumb Jock: Book One

Jeff Irwin is short, timid, and studious. A bit of a social outcast, he lives quietly in the shadows of the popular kids at his school, his life ruled by his ever-present fear of rejection or failure.

Enter high school football hero Brett Willson and the chance for Jeff to embark upon the challenge of educating the world’s dumbest jock.

But what develops between Brett and Jeff proves far more challenging than any tutoring session. In 1983, rural Michigan isn’t ready to embrace love between two men, never mind two teenage boys. If they’re going to make a go of it, Jeff will have to come out of his shell—and Brett will have to prove he’s more than just a dumb jock.

Review

This is a YA book – so you can expect that this has a fairly predictable message – but it’s a sweet and good one. Nerd loves jock. Jock surprises nerd and loves him back. Everyone has to grow up and be brave.

To me this felt like there was a bit of “fantasy” type stuff in here – meaning – the people didn’t necessarily act like I think they would in real life. But… that being said – they could act that way… especially since this shows us only one perspective- Jeff’s and from his adult viewpoint looking back.

I appreciated the lengths the author went to really get inside Jeff’s head and let this story out as one of hope for all those bullied along in high school.  The ending was super, super sweet.  A nice touch after all the heart-wrenching angst.

There are some interesting components to this as a YA book. 1) Off page sex – both are underage and it fits, but it’s there. 2) a bit of a Dom/sub thing – not overworked or “inappropriate” per se – interesting setting for it, though.

Audio

Tommy O’Brien is not my favorite narrator but he did a nice job with the narration, neither really adding nor detracting from the overall experience.

I think my overall impression was one of “good”. It was good. It didn’t “wow” me or make me think “how awful”. It was good. Certainly enough to make me consider more from the series when I’m in a YA mood.

3 of 5 hearts

3

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Mythologically Torqued Volume 2 by Torquere Press Tour with Giveaway & Excerpt

RC
Pages or Words: 102,185 words

Excerpt:
That night Luis dreams for the first time in years.
His surroundings are a surreal clash between pub and coffee shop. The bar is one he frequents only when he craves the noise and companionship of a crowd instead of an empty studio. The coffee shop is where he sat only days ago, agreeing to take on his first commission in ages. The mix of locales is strangely chaotic, too many details going awry between them. Gray windows hang opposite the bar itself, reflected by a wide mirror along the back wall. Yellow light glints from the ceiling, painting the pub brighter than Luis has ever actually seen it.
The booth he occupies is plush, empty but for himself, and the cushions beneath and behind him are cracked with wear.
“Can I join you?” a coffee-smooth voice asks, and Luis raises his eyes to find absolute perfection smiling down at him.
He can’t answer. His voice has frozen in his throat.
“I’ll take that as a yes,” the man says, dropping into the booth across from Luis. Mischief glints in dark eyes, and Luis stares in helpless silence, taking in everything he’s been searching for in a thousand unsuccessful sketches. Sharp cheekbones cut across a narrow face, perfectly symmetrical and softened by a widening smile. The face is narrow, but the jaw is strong, the nose straight and broad and fitted perfectly to deceptively delicate features. There’s an uncanny smoothness to the brow where it slopes beneath dark curls, but the smoothness creases when sharp eyebrows rise in pointed amusement.
Generous lips quirk into an even wider smile, and the man asks, “See something you like?”
Luis tries to reply, but he’s still too floored. Even knowing this is a dream, he’s mortified with himself for gawping. It’s embarrassingly difficult to summon his voice and answer.
“You’re perfect.” He means to say more, but a grating alarm sounds, jarring him. When he blinks he’s not at the bar any longer, but at home in his own bed, early sunlight piercing between window curtains and the alarm clock a cacophony in his ears.
The grogginess of sleep vanishes in a rush of adrenaline, and Luis reaches for the sketchbook on his nightstand
from By Hand and Heart by Yolande Kleinn

Buy the book: http://www.torquerebooks.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=200&products_id=4452

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Publisher: Torquere Press
Cover Artist: BSClay
Rafflecopter Prize: E-copy of ‘Mythologically Torqued Volume 2’
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Tin Box Audiobook by Kim Fielding Narrated by KC Kelly

Dreamspinner Press Presents
http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6660

TinBox[The]AUDMEDBlurb

William Lyon’s past forced him to become someone he isn’t. Conflicted and unable to maintain the charade, he separates from his wife and takes a job as caretaker at a former mental hospital. Jelley’s Valley State Insane Asylum was the largest mental hospital in California for well over a century, but it now stands empty. William thinks the decrepit institution is the perfect place to finish his dissertation and wait for his divorce to become final. In town, William meets Colby Anderson, who minds the local store and post office. Unlike William, Colby is cute, upbeat, and flamboyantly out. Although initially put off by Colby’s mannerisms, William comes to value their new friendship, and even accepts Colby’s offer to ease him into the world of gay sex.

William’s self-image begins to change when he discovers a tin box, hidden in an asylum wall since the 1940s. It contains letters secretly written by Bill, a patient who was sent to the asylum for being homosexual. The letters hit close to home, and William comes to care about Bill and his fate. With Colby’s help, he hopes the words written seventy years ago will give him courage to be his true self.

Review

Kim Fielding is an amazing writer, who has a way of combining dark, angsty topics with humor and sweet romance. I guess you’d say this is the “perfect” example of that.

We get the dark, very hard to read at times story of Bill – a patient in an asylum for being homosexual and what he experiences.

Then we get William and Colby’s modern day story, far more light-hearted and hopeful. William learns from “Bill” and finally finds the courage to be the man he wants to become.

“…You said gay people—any people—should be who they really are. Be authentic. You said I should wear a pink tutu and vote Republican if that’s what I wanted. Well, I’ll pass on that part. But Colby, this is me. I’m not a man who sleeps around, always wondering if the ass is greener on the other side of the fence. I’m not someone who wants to meet tons of men in clubs or online. Those things don’t suit me any better than this outfit.” He gestured at his borrowed shirt.

Such a delightful mix of tragic and happy. Well done, Kim Fielding, well done.

**

Audio:

KC Kelly does an absolutely amazing job with this! God! I loved his “Colby” and how well he handles the emotion and the smexy times.
I absolutely recommend his narration as a way to experience this novel.

5 of 5 hearts

5

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The Lion and The Crow Audiobook by Eli Easton Narrated by Scott Richard Ehredt

Dreamspinner Presents http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6736

LionandtheCrow[The]AUDMEDBlurb

In medieval England, duty is everything, personal honor is more valued than life itself, and homosexuality is not tolerated by the church or society.

Sir Christian Brandon was raised in a household where he was hated for his unusual beauty and for his parentage. Being smaller than his six brutish half-brothers, he learned to survive by using his wits and his gift for strategy, earning him the nickname the Crow.

Sir William Corbett, a large and fierce warrior known as the Lion, has pushed his unnatural desires down all his life. He’s determined to live up to his own ideal of a gallant knight. When he takes up a quest to rescue his sister from her abusive lord of a husband, he’s forced to enlist the help of Sir Christian. It’s a partnership that will test every strand of his moral fiber, and, eventually, his understanding of the meaning of duty, honor, and love.

Review

Christian and William are both sons of nobility and live in a time (Medieval) when the church and society fear homosexuality (while ignoring it if Royalty are involved.) There is absolutely no way these two can be a couple – except that Eli Easton manages to find a beautiful solution to their problem.

The romance is slow to build but hot and tender. Eli is a master at making us fall in love with her characters and given the time period and constraints it was a daunting task but she did it!

I even loved Christian’s wife – yes wife!- and thought that aspect of their lives was really depicted marvelously.

In the end we see our lover with a HEA and …. Well… I’m not so sure why the end needed to go beyond the HEA – I suppose ripping my heart out was a requirement! – but it was beautiful even if I’d wished I’d never read it.

**

I love this author, she is absolutely gifted in her ability to draw you into a story and immerse you in the POV of her characters. She is never too wordy and chooses her words with the utmost care.

I am NOT a historical romance fan, and I put off reading this for a long time. When it came out on audio and I listened to a sample I just had to have it!

I was not disappointed. The narration coupled with the expert writing are superb. Truly an immersive experience.

The narrator does all kinds of wonderful voices – appropriate to the time and place of the story – and makes you feel like you are watching a movie or something similar. He’s a new narrator to me and I hope to see more from him in the future.

I have to subtract a little bit – one smidge down from perfect – only because I’m not sure I needed the Epilogue with all it’s … completeness. It was very, very touching, but I enjoyed thinking of the lovers in their happy glory and didn’t really need anything else to make me appreciate their love – though it was magnificent.

5 of 5 hearts

5

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Shadow’s Dagger (The Princes of Nilan’dane 2): Violet Joicey-Cowan

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Blurb:  How can an assassin be Prince Belden’s safest choice? When Prince Belden of Nilan’dane picked his husband at the traditional gathering of men, known as The Choosing, he thought he had made a safe decision.

Sent by a mage who plotted the downfall of the royal family of Nilan’dane, Barli was supposed to get close to Bel’s family and then kill them all. However, when Barli looks into the eyes of the vulnerable Prince Belden for the first time, something changes, and he knows he will never be able to do anything that would hurt this man. But how is he ever to confess the truth of why he was at The Choosing when Bel now carries his child?

Barli has to teach Bel that, though he is a prince, submitting to Barli is what he really needs, and what Barli needs, is to believe in Bel’s love.

Review: This is the second book in the Hari series and in it, VCJ tells us Bel’s story. We got a glimpse of the two in the first book but now the story is being told from Barli and Bel’s perspective. 

An assassin by trade, Barli is hired to kill the Princes. He infiltrates the Choosing ceremony and ends up falling for and being chosen by one of the Princes. They’re married, have a child and travel to a neighboring kingdom to sign a peace treaty. The characters and events in this book tend to drag just a tiny bit in this book but it was so short that it didn’t at all deflect from my overall enjoyment of the story. 

Barli’s character kind of surprised me. Here you have this man who dresses and acts a bit feminine but you realize he does it for survival. Underneath all of those fine frilly women’s clothes is a cold and calculating assassin. 

I’m enjoying the series so far and this is surprising since this is so not my category; this medieval fantasy type category. But as I’ve stated in my review of the first in the series, I was pleasantly surprised. The only time flaw is the misunderstanding between Barli and Bel dragged out a little too long but other than that, this story will hold your attention. I really like how everything wasn’t given away in the stories; you’re left wondering what’s going to happen next. As always, her characters are fully formed, the plot is really quite good and her writing style is neat and organized. 

I am really looking forward to read Glare’s story.

Rating: ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Amazon

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