Release Blitz + Giveaway: In Azgarth's Shadow by Cassie Sweet


Celebrate the urban fantasy release, In Azgarth's Shadow with author Cassie Sweet and IndiGo Marketing! Learn more about the fae fiction and enter in the $10 NineStar Press giveaway!


Title:  In Azgarth's Shadow
Author: Cassie Sweet
Publisher:  NineStar Press
Release Date: April 23, 2018
Heat Level: 1 - No Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 94100
Genre: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, LGBT, steampunk, fantasy, friends to lovers, fae

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Synopsis

When popular artist Nicholas Alexandre is shot and killed in a patron’s bedroom and his body dumped in Whitechapel, it is up to the talents of Drs. Mikhail Stanslovich and Dante Savoy to bring him back to life. Since the death of his beloved sister a few months before, Nicholas has lamented his pact with the fae master, Azgarth—for the world of the fae is one of broken promises and terrifying illusions.

Fae agent, Roman Cetanni has spent his tenure as one of Azgarth’s representatives trying to shield his charges from the fae master’s wrath. But what once seemed a division of worlds has now morphed until the lines between the human and fae world are blurred.

Even as Roman tries to help Nicholas recover from his injuries, a new threat looms. Lately more beings from the fae have invaded the human realm, and Oiredon, another fae master, wishes an alliance with Roman and his charges to aid in overthrowing Azgarth.

In these uncertain times, one thing is for certain: war has come to the fae and the lives of the humans they’ve touched hang in the balance.

Excerpt

In Azgarth’s Shadow
Cassie Sweet © 2018
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One
Light caressed Lady Clarissa’s bare breasts, creating interesting shadows as supplied by the long dark hair that cascaded over her shoulders in tousled curls. The strands revealed as much as they hid. She lay on the bed, gaze fixed out the window, staring at the moonlight. A pensive expression filled her lovely face. She didn’t do pensive well. Pouting and preening were more in line with her nature. Oh, there were the intrigues, instigations, and incidents, but they were solely to amuse.

“How much longer, Nicholas?”

“Not too much, my dear.”

Nicholas Alexandre put the finishing touches on the canvas and stepped back from his work. He’d painted her as Tatiana from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Most people assumed Shakespeare wrote the play as a fanciful comedy. What they didn’t know, or understand, was the fact the Bard wrote it from his experiences of the fae realm.

Lady Clarissa was as much Tatiana as any woman Nicholas had ever known. Petty and jealous, she lived in a world where her needs and desires were met at the cost of those around her. He indulged her because her behavior, though outrageous, amused him. He enjoyed the way her schemes horrified society. These days, it was the only thing that lifted his grief.

He studied the details of the painting, not quite satisfied with the illumination. Not to worry, he’d add flourishes later. For now, he was exhausted and wanted only to pack up his paints and—

The door burst open and banged against the wall.

“You wretched whore!”

Lady Clarissa screamed and grabbed at a sheet to shield her naked torso from her enraged husband. “My heart, it’s not what you think.”

Sir Rodderick Danworth laughed and held the dueling pistol pointed at Nicholas’s stomach. “You expect me to believe that? In my own bedroom?”

Nicholas wiped paint from his brush, unperturbed that the angry husband threatened his life. “As you see, I came here to work. I’m nothing more than a humble painter.”

The laugh this time came out bitter, pained. “There is nothing humble about you. Do your promises mean nothing?”

A prick of conscience and a slight brush of regret. “My word is still good, but my purse is not subject to the whims of honor. I still need to eat and live. I have a grieving mother to support.”

The fact his mother hadn’t left her bed since his sister’s death, notwithstanding.

Rodderick kept his gaze focused on Nicholas, much as a hunter might a wild animal. Something stirred in the depths of his eyes, not entirely of the man himself. “You are nothing more than a deceiver. A liar.”

Nicholas inclined his head in a subtle acknowledgment of the accusation and let his suspicions fall to the ground unvoiced. “And so I am what the world has made me.”

Realization and pain morphed into fury, filling Rodderick’s eyes. He fought an inner demon that shone in the dark depths. The gun went off.

Nicholas watched in horror as the shot struck him true. Crimson bloomed across the front of his white shirt, spreading like paint through a jar of mineral spirits. Odd how no pain registered.

The paintbrush dropped from fingers that no longer worked. Sound became a distant, hollow thing. A scream came from behind him, but even that had the quality of a train entering a tunnel, the whistle fading into the dark earth.

If he’d had the ability, Nicholas would have laughed. A mortal wound would not kill one such as him; it only released him into the hands of the fae master, Azgarth. And therein lay his real fear. Servitude on this plane was one of commerce, a way to provide for his family in the manner they’d become accustom. Being one of the chosen in the fae realm for eternity was not the thing of beauty Azgarth promised. The thing he’d seen welling in Rodderick’s eyes.

The only one to derive any pleasure from such an association was Azgarth himself. However, it might give him a chance to see Juliana again. To see if she’d been taken into the fae realm on her death and protected.

Rodderick stood over him, his face white, lips pale. Tears streamed down his face. The darkness had faded from his eyes. “Look what you made me do.”

He was unsure if Rodderick meant Nicholas, Clarissa, or Azgarth. He moved his arm to try to cover the wound and staunch the flow, but could do nothing more than watch as the blood began to soak into the carpet beneath.

Lady Clarissa finally rose from the bed. She stood over Nicholas, looking down on him. Her mouth was pinched with displeasure, no doubt for the stains that ruined the Aubusson. “I knew your jealousy would one day be your downfall.”

Rodderick still held the pistol. Disbelief pulled his mouth down at the corners. “I’ve killed him.”

Nicholas tried to inform Rodderick that he was very much mistaken—he still lived and heard every word they said. The one to kill him was much worse than Rodderick could ever imagine.

Lady Clarissa took Rodderick by the arm. “No. We will keep this between the two of us. Call Charles and have him dump the body in Whitechapel. No one will bat an eye for one more murder in that part of town.”

Rodderick nodded mutely. He started out of the room, then turned back as Nicholas took one last shuddery breath.

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Meet the Author

Cassie Sweet lives in beautiful Pensacola, Florida and often enjoys watching the Blue Angels do practice flyovers from the window in her writing nook. Growing up with a great love for the Grimm’s Fairytales and the original Star Trek, her stories might involve paranormal elements, space travel, or a combo platter of both.

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Release Blitz: Rhoades: Undeniable (Man Up #2) by Felice Stevens


Rhoades--Undeniable (Man Up #2) is officially out! Celebrate with the author Felice Stevens and Vibrant Promotions!

Rhoades RDB Banner

RHOADES: UNDENIABLE
MAN UP SERIES, BOOK 2
FELICE STEVENS
M/M ROMANCE
RELEASE DATE: 04.17.18

Rhodes Cover

COVER DESIGN: REESE DANTE
BLURB
Rhoades.
Loneliness. The pain doesn’t simply go away with time. It’s been years, and they tell me I need to move on. But I can’t.
Blame and regret are my constant companions. Until I see him in the spotlight and everything changes. Night after night, I watch him dance. Thinking about him.
What he’d feel like.
What he’d taste like.
And now that I know, I want him even more.
And maybe…just maybe, he might want me too.
But not yet.
Not before he knows he’s more than a pretty face. Not before he knows what he means to me. I need him by my side.
The two of us.
Together.
Austin
Why can’t I forget him? His hands touching me. His mouth on mine. Kissing me. Rendering me mindless.
Breathless.
Every night I lay awake burning for him. Dreaming. Thinking. Needing him.
No—I don’t. I don’t need anyone.
I lie.
I want him.
I want more. I am more. He’s seen that, and now here I stand with my dream on the horizon. All I need to do is take that first step. Trust him.
Trust myself.
Rhoades Teaser

EXCERPT


Fuck. I could kill Marcus. But I couldn’t refuse, and he knew it. Rhoades held me, but not too close, and after some initial hesitancy, I allowed myself to feel the music.



Rhoades’s breath touched my cheek, and I smelled the heat of the scotch he drank. It was like the night we kissed all over again, and I swayed, desire clawing at my insides. Why did being in close proximity to this man make me light-headed and restless?



“How are you?”



“Fine,” I managed to speak. The club had taken on a sensuous glow, and the people beside us faded to black. All I could see was Rhoades.



“So you work in a dance studio? I should’ve guessed by your dancing at Man Up that you had formal training. You move beautifully.”



“I’ve worked there for a while. We teach kids four-to-nine years old. I love it.”



“And is that what you’d like to do? Teach dance? I know you can’t want to dance at Man Up for long.”



“All these questions.” I shifted nervously. I wasn’t about to reveal my dream to him. He’d no doubt find it foolish—maybe even as stupid as my father had. “I thought we were just going to dance.”



“Very well.” He said nothing more, and we danced, our bodies brushing. His effect on me was magnetic, his touch a force pulling me in close. I concentrated on his face: the small lines fanning out from his eyes, the dark brows like wings, his firm mouth. The taste of his lips lingered on my tongue, as bright and pure as if we were kissing now. I found it impossible to be near Rhoades and not crave his touch. Somehow I’d moved closer to him, and our cheeks touched.



“I wondered if I’d see you again after you didn’t show up this past week. I didn’t think you came to these types of clubs.”



“Do you think of me, then?” His hand slid up my back and splayed between my shoulder blades. I didn’t mind that possessive touch.…I wanted it.



“I…”



“I think of you.” His whispered voice filled my ear with a roar. “After I left you last week, I stayed away like you asked, but I couldn’t sleep at night. Do you want to know why?”



I found myself nodding. We’d stopped dancing, though he continued to hold me, and we swayed together, caught up in our own world.



“I don’t know. Isn’t that crazy? You know I’ve watched you at James’s club. From the first, you caught me with your confidence—you owned the stage—but I also saw something yearning in you. That it wasn’t enough. You want more.”



His hands rested on my hips, and we stood chest-to-chest. The music played on, its sensuous beat rolling through me. I could smell desire in the air.



“Yes.”



The tips of his fingers trailed over my cheek and jaw in a gesture so achingly intimate, I fought to keep standing. Finally he put his mouth on mine, and we kissed. No thrusting tongues and panting breaths. Only a gentle press of lips…and it shocked me that a man who radiated such strength could carry this tenderness inside him.



“Keep true to yourself. Follow your dreams. Only you can make them real.”



And with one last kiss, he walked away and disappeared into the crowd before I found time to take a breath. I thought about going after him but stopped myself. He was doing what I asked. Giving me the space I’d demanded. I had already told him I wouldn’t fuck him in a club, and he remembered and respected that. Another man might’ve tried to persuade me with drinks or force. Rhoades wasn’t the man I thought.


OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES
Austin Banner
AUSTIN

Felice Logo

Felice Stevens has always been a romantic at heart. While life is tough, she believes there is a happy ending for everyone. She started reading traditional historical romances as a teenager, then life and law school got in the way. It wasn't until she picked up a copy of Bertrice Small and became swept away to Queen Elizabeth's court that her interest in romance novels was renewed.

But somewhere along the way, her reading shifted to stories of men falling in love. Once she picked up her first gay romance, she became so enamored of the character-driven stories and the overwhelming emotion there was no turning back.

Felice lives in New York City with her husband and two children. Her day begins with a lot of caffeine and ends with a glass or two of red wine. Although she practices law, she daydreams of a time when she can sit by a beach and write beautiful stories of men falling in love. Although there is bound to be some angst along the way, a Happily Ever After is always guaranteed.

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Guest Review: Perfect (Soulmates #4) by Felice Stevens

Despite multiple degrees and business success, in his heart Jeremy Strauss feels he’s never measured up. While he hasn’t lacked for men or women to share his bed, Jeremy has yet to find someone who sees beyond his muscles and perfect smile. Taking it slow with a lover isn’t how he operates, but something about the shy accountant he rescues in a snowstorm makes him want this time to be different. So what if Blake drops little comments here and there about Jeremy’s pretty face? Their relationship is perfect.

Or is it?

Lonely most of his life, Blake Myers is as careful with his heart as he is with a balance sheet. The last thing he expects is for a man like Jeremy to fall for him, and he can't help but wait for the bubble to burst on their relationship. When the stress of a professional crisis turns personal, Blake sees the perfect relationship he and Jeremy have built start to crumble. Caught in an ever-tightening web of lies, rather than wait for Jeremy to leave him, Blake breaks it off and vanishes.

Perfection is an illusion.

Jeremy doesn’t know which way to turn and for the first time in his life, he’s lost and uncertain. Believing he’s no longer the man Jeremy needs, Blake sinks deeper into despair. Both men struggle with secrets, lies, and hurtful memories until they are forced to look inside their hearts and learn the truth—that love is perfectly imperfect.



Reviewer: Shee Reader

This is a lovely, sweet, rolling tale of self discovery, bravery and love in all its forms. It was quite spell binding from the outset.

Jeremy is a buff, beautiful gym owner and Blake is the clever, nerdy city boy. Both men are charming and endearing, and I was rooting for them from the start. Despite all of their skills and talents, both men are riddled with self doubt. Both have stories of loving and imperfect/damaging childhoods and strong sibling love. Their love match is a beautiful one, with it’s own twists and turns, where the bottom line is: Honesty is key.

This is a pretty decent mantra to live by, and Felice does it beautifully of course!

I really enjoyed the fact that this story incorporates all variations of love - between parents and children, siblings, friends, nephews and nieces, friends and other significant people, and includes negative relationships and loss. It’s basically the whole of life in a few hundred pages!

Blake and Jeremy and both good guys who find their way into a relationship without either of then having had a real one before. It's a fascinating journey and one I loved taking with them. Another highlight for me was to revisit previous characters from earlier books. For example, Carter and Reed from The Arrangement. so good to see those guys again, albeit in passing.

On the whole, this is a super cosy read. The only slight down-side for me personally, was I’d have liked the story a little more pacey, but that's just a personal thing!

Highly recommended.



Audiobook Review: Fangs and Catnip (Dead and Breakfast #1) by Julia Talbot

A romance worth fighting for—tooth and claw.

Solitary vampire Fallon Underwood gets all the social interaction he needs being the silent partner at the Dead and Breakfast B and B high in the Colorado mountains. Change is hard for Fallon, so when his business partner, Tanner, suggests hiring a new manager for the inn, he’s adamant that they don’t need help, especially not in the form of bouncy werecat Carter Hughes.

Carter is a happy-go-lucky kitty, and he loves the hospitality industry, so the D and B ought to be a great place for him. He falls for Fallon as soon as he picks up one of Fallon’s novels and begins to woo the vamp with gifts. When Fallon finally succumbs to Carter’s feline charms, the results are unexpected, to say the least. Their mating will have irreversible consequences—for their bodies and their hearts.

Listening Length: 6 hours and 41 minutes
Narrator: Dorian Bane



With a series name of “Dead and Breakfast”, I was charmed by the premise of 2 best friends (a bear and a vampire) being proprietors of said B&B, a quaint little haven that specializes in catering to the supernatural community and all their quirky quirks.


This first installment belongs to Fallon the vampire, who's also the silent partner in this business venture. He's content with his curmudgeony hermit life, fronting up the necessary funds when needed but basically, partaking only in the perks that allow him to hole up comfortably to write his horror novels and not being bothered by much of anything. When his beary business partner Tanner, needs to hire a manger to help handle the increased workload, Fallon’s a lot disgruntled about letting a stranger encroach on his routine and is none too happy about this unwanted necessity.


Enter Carter. He’s a cat shifter and is all sorts of eager to prove himself worthy. The Dead and Breakfast is the perfect place to work at with its laid back atmosphere and casual approach, appealing towards Carter’s need to care for others but also being in a fantastic location surrounded by nature. It’s definitely the icing on the cake that one of his bosses is the attractive vamp, and Carter just can’t help himself from trying to win over the grumpy Fallon.


So basically, this entire book is about how Carter and Fallon fall in love and merge their lives but with one big ginormous snag in the middle. Vampires and shifters are not natural mates, and the ensuing problems and weirdness that develop, make things very difficult for them to achieve their happy ending.


What this story excels at is the narration by Dorian Bane. Talbot’s writing definitely has a certain flair to it where Bane, with his unmistakable raspy voice, certainly took advantage of how these characters were written and gave them distinct nuances that fit perfectly with who they were. Tanner the bear has a great tenor, Connor’s catty enthusiasm made me smile more than once, British Fallon sounds a lot like a stuffy Jude Law, and there’s even a gargoyle with an apropos tone and cadence that's exactly just right.


Admittedly, I’ve not read a lot of Talbot, but I think she does shifters and supernaturals in her own unique way where they’re always pretty darn endearing as she plays up their unique species characteristics while melding them nicely into their personalities. I’m happy that this is going to be a series, and I’m keeping fingers crossed that Tanner is up next. Bears being gentle or not so gentle giants are my jam, and I have a feeling Talbot (and most likely Bane) will have no problem making that an equally interesting, sexy, and fun read/listen!



Thank you to the author/publisher for the audio in exchange for an honest review.



Review: His Truth by Riley Hart

They were only kids when they met for the first time. Leo Mancini was the son of a judge. Roman Cipriani the son of a criminal. So different, yet as they shared stolen kisses and secret moments, they fell in love. One day they would run away together, have the future they deserved, because no one loved Leo like Roman did, or Roman like Leo did. But before they could make their dreams come true, their future was viciously stolen and their lives changed forever.

Roman has spent the last twelve years repressing the trauma in his past, trying to pretend it didn't exist, until even he believed his own lies.

Leo won't let himself forget what happened because he doesn't ever want to be that person again. He won't become the man his father wanted him to be or the guy who gets hurt when he lets someone in.

But in that split second when their eyes meet again, everything changes. Despite Leo's anger and Roman's denial, the connection they shared as teens is still there, too powerful to deny. Now, when their moments don't have to be stolen, they cling to what they've always craved--each other.

Roman and Leo aren't kids anymore, though--they can't lock themselves away from the world and pretend nothing exists but each other. A trauma like Roman suffered doesn't just go away, but now that Roman accepts his truth, can the two of them escape their demons before they destroy Roman and Leo a second time?

Possible triggers: violence and homophobia


What is it about adulthood that takes something so pure and over analyses it until it no longer resembles anything recogniseable. A simple truth that turns into murky swampland that no one can see the bottom of, simply by convincing yourself it isn’t your truth.

Leo and Roman had something beautiful and pure when they were in their teens. Hidden inside the lonely walls of Leo’s parents mansion, Roman and Leo could be themselves and explore their love for each other. Roman felt like he could transcend the criminal life his father laid out for him and be something more with Leo. But that all changed when a brutal event breaks something fundamental inside Roman and locks down the part of him that loves Leo.

This story was hard. I can see why the author needed time with it and waited. I’m glad she did. This wouldn’t be what it was without the attention to detail put into it after years of reviewing it to get it right. I’ve enjoyed Riley Hart’s other work, but this is something more. These men deserved the attention and care that was put into this story.

After reconnecting with Leo by chance, Roman immerses himself in the present and tries to ignore the wounds that are festering inside him from his past. Letting go of the past is one thing, but that is not what Roman is doing. Ignoring problems never works for long, and this is something that Roman is starting to find out, even if he appears unaware at times. It isn’t until a triggering event occurs, that Roman finally sees how damaged he is.

I loved these two men. They had mountains to climb to be able to overcome all the past pain they felt. When Roman jumped in and immersed himself in Leo, I could see the trainwreck coming. Even Leo could see it, but had no clue what he was doing, or how it would impact both of them.

I felt their connection throughout the story, even when they were holding back from each other. Sometimes it was overwhelming, and sometimes it simmered just out of reach. The one thing I didn’t really see was Leo’s support crew. He seemed to hold himself back from everyone, even though he was extremely social and popular. I felt like he didn’t have someone firmly in his corner to support him while he supported Roman. This made me sad for him and really showed how much the past messed him up too.

This will be a re-read for me. There’s something comforting about Hart’s writing style, even while her men aren’t coping. It’s familiar, but new, and I absolutely love it. This is a hurt/comfort and second chance story. There is a lot to unpack in it, and I sat and reflected on a lot while reading. Part of the experience was sitting with my feelings and aching for them. It felt real and honest, even when they were lying to each other and themselves, about what they were doing.

I rated this on how I felt after the story, not necessarily the complete execution of it. There were some parts I picked at in my mind, and may have rated down for, if it wasn’t for the overall experience of reading this.

I would recommend this for all readers who enjoy hurt/comfort stories. There are some really hard parts, and some flashbacks to trauma. The author has content warnings at the beginning, so make sure you’re okay before diving in with these men.

A review copy was provided for an honest opinion


Audiobook Review: Unlikely Hero by Sean Michael

Second Edition

When his three-year-old daughter is kidnapped, Eric Wilson doesn’t have many options, and time is running out. With nowhere else to turn, he reaches out to his ex, influential businessman Brock Vencenza, whose money and contacts might be able to save Josie.

Brock never got over Eric’s loss, and he’s more than willing to help when Eric needs him most. Together with law enforcement and private security, they embark on a twisting investigation to find the little girl—and who wants to hurt her and destroy both men in the process. Under the circumstances, confessing he still has feelings for Eric would be inappropriate, but Brock can’t deny what’s in his heart. He doesn’t know if their love can be rekindled or if he can even protect Eric and Josie. But one thing is certain: Brock’s determined to be the hero in reality that he is in Eric’s eyes.

First edition published by Top Shelf, an imprint of Torquere Press, September 2009
.

Listening Length: 7 hours and 30 minutes
Narrator: Jeff Gelder




Reviewer: Shee Reader

Our story opens with businessman Brock, getting ready to leave the office for a well earned vacation, when his ex-boyfriend Eric turns up desperate for help and not knowing which way to turn. His three year old daughter has been kidnapped.

So we are right into the thick of the agony and drama, but Brock is the super-studly exec who launches into fix-it mode even though he and Eric have been over for nine years.

In true Sean Michael fashion, we have no fear of a cliff hanger, or unrequited love, these guys are made for each other and of course, still love each other. There’s plenty of issues to resolve once little Josie has been returned to her father. There are some stupendously bad guys, amazingly good guys and lots of working-on-the-relationship which I love from this author. One of my many pet peeves is miscommunication between our main characters. I’d much rather see them talk to each other and really work on the relationship. All the threats to our guys happiness come from outside (with the one tiny exception of Eric listing Brock as Josie’s guardian should anything happen to him. Bit of a stretch when Brock doesn’t even know she exists, But dear old Sean resolves it beautifully, and Brock lets Eric get away with it).

I love the whole ‘found his family’ trope, and this one does not disappoint, even if it is so sweet at times it made my teeth hurt!

Jeff Gelder narrates it beautifully. His characterisation is superb all the way from a sweet little three year old, through two male MCs and a couple of macho security guys, all the way to an evil Grammy. Awesome.

If you like a definite HEA with unicorns and rainbows, this one could be for you.




Release Blitz: Second Chance by Jay Northcote


Celebrate the Second Chance release blitz with author Jay Northcote and Signal Boost Promotions! Learn more about the second chance romance today!





Length: 67,000 words approx.

Cover Design: Black Jazz Design

Blurb

Everyone deserves a second chance.


Nate and his teenage daughter need a fresh start, so they move back to the village where he grew up. Nate's transgender, and not used to disclosing his history, so it's hard living where people knew him before. When Nate reconnects with Jack--his best friend from school and unrequited crush--his feelings return as strong as ever.


Jack's returned home to get his life in order after an addiction to alcohol caused him to lose everything: his job, his driver's licence, and nearly his life. He's living with his parents, which is less than ideal, but rekindling his friendship with Nate--or Nat as Jack once knew him--is an unexpected benefit of being back home. Jack is amazed by Nate's transformation, and can't deny his attraction. Trying for more than friendship might ruin what they already have, but the chemistry between them is undeniable.


Doubting his feelings are reciprocated, Nate fears he's risking heartbreak. Jack's reluctance to tell his parents about their relationship only reinforces Nate's misgivings. With both their hearts on the line and their happiness at stake, Jack needs to make things right, and Nate has to be prepared to give him a second chance.



Excerpt

A hint of cigarette smoke carried on the wind caught Nate’s attention, and he realised he wasn’t alone. A hunched figure sat on a bench by the church. Wearing a heavy coat with the hood up, their head hung low staring at the grass between their feet rather than at the landscape stretched out before them. A cigarette hung from bony fingers that protruded from black fingerless gloves. As Nate watched, the man—because Nate could see his face now—raised his head to take a long drag before stubbing the cigarette out on the bench.


A shock of recognition made Nate’s heart jump, thudding erratically.


Jack.



Torn between conflicting urges to approach and flee, Nate stared at him, powerless to move.


How many years had it been since Nate had seen him? At forty-five Nate found each year passed faster than the one before. It must have been twenty years at least since he’d seen Jack, maybe more, and longer still since they’d spoken properly. Their last meeting had been nothing more than an awkward exchange of greetings when they ran into each other in the village pub one Christmas. The distance between them had cut Nate like a knife, so different to their teenage years when they’d been best friends, and almost inseparable.


Jack slumped forward again, letting the cigarette butt fall from his fingers. He put his hands over his face and Nate recognised despair and hopelessness, because they’d been his companions in the past. Acting on instinct, he approached.


“Sorry to intrude,” he said, pausing in front of Jack. “But are you okay? Is there anything I can do?”


Jack jerked his head up in surprise. His pale cheeks flushed as he shook his head. “Not really. Just having a bad day. You know how it is… or maybe you don’t.”


“I do.”


Nate studied him. The years had changed Jack, of course, but the essence of him was still the same. Sharp features, the strong nose Jack had always hated, even more defined with age, but more balanced now with dark stubble and the lines that the years were beginning to carve around his eyes and mouth.


As Jack stared back, Nate realised there was no recognition dawning on Jack’s face. To Jack, Nate was a stranger. Five years on testosterone had changed Nate to a point where Jack couldn’t see the person Nate had been before. Normally this was something Nate was glad about, but now he felt a pang of regret.



Jay lives just outside Bristol in the West of England. He comes from a family of writers, but always used to believe that the gene for fiction writing had passed him by. He spent years only ever writing emails, articles, or website content.


One day, Jay decided to try and write a short story—just to see if he could—and found it rather addictive. He hasn’t stopped writing since.


Jay writes contemporary romance about men who fall in love with other men. He has five books published by Dreamspinner Press, and also self-publishes under the imprint Jaybird Press. Many of his books are now available as audiobooks.


Jay is transgender and was formerly known as she/her.


www.jaynorthcote.com

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Guest Review: Mr. March (Calendar Men #3) by Bailey Bradford

Curiosity didn’t kill this cat…

Jason Eddings is a foreman for a construction company by day and a mountain lion at night. He got suckered into doing a calendar shoot when he lost a bet to his sister. Little did he know that his sister Joy was hoping to set him up with Gregg, another man on the calendar shoot. That never happened because Gregg met Albert.

Jason’s posing for Mr. March, working, and running from some memories, and maybe even himself. One night, he runs right into a tranquilizer dart. When he wakes up at a wildlife refuge, he finds himself intrigued by the veterinarian who is watching him.

Casey’s not only a newly graduated veterinarian, he’s also a shifter. He doesn’t advertise it and he works to smell like a human because of an incident that happened years ago. He thought there was something special about the mountain lion, but he didn’t have a clue how much his life was about to change.


Reviewer: Shee Reader

Jason is a construction company foreman by day and a mountain lion by night. He’s been guilted into posing for a charity calendar shoot by his twin sisters who work as doctors. The shoot is outside his comfort zone, but he’s easily gorgeous enough! As he goes for a run in his lion form, he runs into a tranquilizer dart, which is odd since he’s running on his family’s property. Fortunately he winds up at an animal sanctuary and is taken care of by a very handsome veterinarian, Casey, but all is not as it seems…

The premise of the calendar is well established by book three, and the people involved are almost caricatures of themselves, which is all good fun.

Jason is potentially in big trouble at the sanctuary, until Casey steps in to save Jason from the villains. Since we have a HEA to be getting to, our guys hit it right off, as soon as Jason is back in his human skin that is! The villains re-emerge later, of course.

The bad guys in the story are pretty awful, but get what’s coming to them, as do our heroes.

The HEA is a sweet fix in this relatively quick read. There are check-ins with characters from earlier books which are lovely, sexy times which are steamy and plenty of leering at hot studs in the photo shoot!

If you like a nice fluffy, lowish angst story, this one could be for you.



Series Blog Tour + Giveaway: Guns n' Boys by K.A. Merikan


Welcome the Merikans and the Guns n' Boys Series Blog Tour to the clubhouse! The authors deliver a yummy flash fic set in the series world today via Signal Boost Promotions! And there's more: TWO GIVEAWAYS! Comment on today's post for a chance to win a back list eBook from the authors! Enter in Rafflecopter for a chance to win the Grand Tour Prize! Good luck!



Guns n' Boys Series Blog Tour

Book #1 He Is Poison

Book #2 He Is Mine

Book #3 Homicidal Instinct

Book #4 Swamp Blood

Book #5 Chokehold

Book #6 Bloodbath

Book #7 Gilded Agony



This flashfic takes place during the events of the first book, when Domenico and Seth are on their mission in Berlin. You can read it even without knowing the story!

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The male body held no secrets from Domenico. He knew where to press, pull, and twist in order to give pain or pleasure. He knew how to block air, bruise the kidneys, how to punch to inflict maximum damage to bones and internal organs. He knew how to stitch up wounds, stop hemorrhaging, and which medicines to take to keep himself going in the worst of conditions. But there was something far more effective against bruises and swelling than ice-cold baths.

Sex.

By the time Domenico was twenty five, he’d learned to associate the painful aftermath of fighting with pleasure, so he didn’t mind the dull throb in his jaw. Even a professional like him was at times surprised by the proficiency of someone met on the job, which was exactly what happened last night.

Throughout the evening, Seth had watched him apply a bag of ice to his swollen face, his mouth tense, as if he were on the verge of asking what happened, but in the end--never did. They weren’t on the best of terms, but that wouldn’t stop Domenico from doing his job for the Family. A firm hand could transform anyone into a worthy man, and so he’d told Seth to prepare for a wrestling lesson first thing in the morning.

Twenty minutes in, both their fingers were slipping over sweaty skin, but Domenico pushed on, continuously trapping his student/opponent with well-practiced locks and pins. In a real fight, one never had the opportunity for breaks.

Neither of them said a thing, but the air filled with stifled sighs and groans that sounded very much like a long, slow fuck. Domenico blew on his forehead to get loose hair out of his eyes and twisted Seth’s arm back before applying pressure between his shoulder blades and ultimately pushing him face-down into the thin mattress. Their bodies pressed together, Domenico’s groin against Seth’s ass, and they both stilled. Seth twisted his head and looked at Dom, his thick lips open. He didn’t fight and just relaxed, watching his opponent with a curious mixture of apprehension and excitement.

The room was so still Domenico could hear children shouting in the street.

Without a word, he rolled Seth to his back, but before he could do anything else, the muscular arm that he’d been holding just seconds ago pulled on his shoulder until their mouths met in a kiss that made champagne explode at the back of Domenico’s mind.

In that moment, the pain in his jaw was completely forgotten.



Giveaway Information

Comment on the post to win, one person from each stop in the blog tour will win their choice of a backlist ebook from K.A. Merikan.  Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for your chance to win the Grand Tour Prize. (You can enter this one daily for more chances to win!)






To begin your journey with Seth and Domenico you should start here, with Book One: He Is Poison.



--- Love like butterfly knives in the stomach. ---


Domenico Acerbi. The Villani Family’s best assassin. Ruthless. Vicious. With no patience for weakness.

Seth Villani. The Don’s son. Clueless. Stubborn. In dire need of someone to keep him in line.

Domenico Acerbi grew up ready to give his life for the Family. Ready to follow orders and exceed expectations. A proud man of honor.

The last thing he wants to deal with is training the Don’s son for his future role within the organization. Lazy, annoying, spoiled, and as hot as a Sicilian summer, Seth Villani is no mafia material. But a man who could never become a threat might just be what Domenico needs.

Seth Villani wants nothing to do with the mafia. Unfortunately, he doesn’t get a say when he’s pulled back into the fold. Thrown into a den of serpents otherwise known as the Villani Family, Seth has to find a way to navigate the maze of lies. But when Domenico Acerbi, the most vicious snake of them all, sinks his fangs into Seth, letting go becomes impossible.

If Seth is doomed to follow in his father's footsteps, he might as well enjoy himself with the most intoxicating man he’s ever met. Maybe he can even fool himself into believing that Domenico isn’t a handsome sociopath who kills for a living.

POSSIBLE SPOILERS:

Themes: Enemies to lovers, mafia, homophobia, assassin, organized crime, forced proximity

Genre: Dark, twisted M/M romance / crime thriller

Length: ~110,000 words

WARNING: Adult content. Sizzling hot scenes. If you are easily offended, this book is not for you.
‘Guns n’ Boys’ is a gritty story of extreme violence, offensive language, abuse, and morally ambiguous protagonists. Behind the morbid facade, there is a splash of inappropriate dark humor, and a love story that will crawl under your skin.






K.A. Merikan are a team of writers who try not to suck at adulting, with some success. Always eager to explore the murky waters of the weird and wonderful, K.A. Merikan don’t follow fixed formulas and want each of their books to be a surprise for those who choose to hop on for the ride.

K.A. Merikan have a few sweeter M/M romances as well, but they specialize in the dark, dirty, and dangerous side of M/M, full of bikers, bad boys, mafiosi, and scorching hot romance.

FACEBOOK PROFILE
K.A. MERIKAN’S TWITTER (RUN BY KAT)
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PINTEREST
M/F ROMANCE BY MISS MERIKAN


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Audiobook Review: Off the Beaten Path by Cari Z.

When Ward Johannsen’s little girl Ava shifted into a werewolf, she was taken into custody by the feds and shipped off to the nearest pack, all ties between father and daughter severed. Ward burned every bridge he had discovering her location, and then almost froze to death in the Colorado mountains tracking her new pack down. And that’s just the beginning of his struggle.

Henry Dormer is an alpha werewolf and an elite black ops soldier who failed his last mission. He returns home, hoping for some time to recuperate and help settle the pack’s newest member, a little pup named Ava who can’t shift back to her human form. Instead he meets Ward, who refuses to leave his daughter without a fight. The two men are as different as night and day, but their respect for each other strikes a spark of mutual interest that quickly grows into a flame. They might find something special together—love, passion, and even a family—if they can survive trigger-happy pack guardians, violent werewolf politics, and meddling government agencies that are just as likely to get their alpha soldiers killed as bring them home safely.

Length: 6 hrs and 23 mins

Narrated by Jack Wesley 






Cari Z. really pulled off a unique take on shifters with Off the Beaten Path and Jack Wesley did the tale justice with his reading. There was more to Off the Beaten Path than just the shifter dynamic basics we all know and love; big strong alpha rescues weaker, heart of gold omega/human, the whole pack loves and respects said alpha, omega/human is stronger than anyone thinks, omega/human has alpha wrapped around his little finger, etc., etc. I love it, I really do, but having such a refreshingly different shifter story to read was a real treat.

The world building is really well done and given the conditions in which the shifters live, it was a smart decision to have one of the MC’s be a human. It put the shifters forced way of life into a perspective that connects with the reader. Ward (the human) has had his daughter Ava, taken from him because she unexpectedly shifted during preschool and hasn’t been able to return to her human form. Shifters are only raised with other shifters in seclusion so Ward doesn’t even know where Ava has been taken and is informed he has no recourse to get his daughter back.

Ava is Ward’s entire world and there is no way he is just lying down and letting his daughter go. He pulls strings, makes calls and gets some intel as to where she is being held. He takes off on his own to be with her again. Ward isn’t the healthiest of human specimens, but he doesn’t let his asthma stop him from the brutal trek to get to his daughter. The listener can’t help but root for him and feel his pain. The narrator conveys Ward’s emotions with enough emphasis to be effective but not overly so, keeping him real and not a caricature.

Henry is the alpha of the pack that has “adopted” Ava and he’s none too keen on the idea of having a human in his pack. But Henry is overworked and disrespected by the humans he has to answer to so having Ward around is not really on his agenda at the mo. Ava isn’t doing well though and Henry’s best option to bring Ava some comfort is to welcome Henry to the pack. Henry’s character is just as sympathetic (in a different way, obviously) from Ward, but he’s no less appealing in how much I wanted to root for him and sympathize for what he has to endure to be sure his pack is kept safe.

The secondary characters were strong as well and there’s some interpack dramatics that add to the story and overall world building. The extra plotlines helped explain some of the background of the society the author built and it all flowed together pretty seamlessly.

Off the Beaten Path is definitely more than just an alpha/human love story, there’s a lot more depth to it, and the only thing I would have liked was just a little more of Henry and Ward together once the resolutions started flowing. I wanted more of a sense of them as a couple without a world of stress hanging over their heads.

The uniqueness of the story engaged me from the beginning and the narrator added to that engagement easily. I stayed and loved the story for the characters and to hear their HEA.



**A copy of this audiobook was provided for an honest review**