Blog Tour + Giveaway: Dirty Job (Dirty Deeds #2) by TA Moore

Welcome T.A. Moore as they visit on the Dirty Job (Dirty Deeds #2) blog tour! Check more details and enter in the giveaway!
 

Title: Dirty Job: Book 2 in the Dirty Deeds series
Publisher: Rogue Firebird Press
Release: July 5

Blurb: All Grade Pulaski wanted was a quiet life, a few low-profile murders to clean up after, and his hometown in the rear view as he headed back to LA. Simple, attainable goals. All he had to do was keep his nose down and everyone else’s hands clean...as far as the law was concerned...and he’d been able to show Sweeny his heels sooner rather than later.

Problem was that Grade’s ‘thing’ with local mob boss Clay Traynor—currently somewhere between a one-night stand and a bad idea—was a lot of things, but it wasn’t quiet or simple.

For example, Judge Charity Parker was the last person in Sweeny who needed to know Grade’s name. Yet here he was in her basement after midnight, cleaning up a mess that could derail a couple of political careers in one fell swoop. All because Clay owed Judge Parker a favor... or three.

Grade should have known better than to go along with it. Amateurs always made a job messy, and politicians didn’t have a grateful bone in their bodies. Now the only chance he had of seeing LA again meant he had to break his professional code of conduct.

He needed to get his client caught.

Tour:
4 July - Boy Meets Boy
5 July - MM Romance Reviewed
7 July - Love Bytes
8 July - Two Chicks Obsessed


 

AUTHOR VISIT


Hi everyone!

Thanks for letting me pop in to talk about my latest book, Dirty Job, which comes out on July 5. This is the second book in the Dirty Deeds trilogy, and I had a lot of fun with it! It’s available online - https://books2read.com/DirtyJob - and I hope you like it! There’s a third book in the works, after all!

If you want a ‘taste’ of the Dirty Deeds world, here’s the soundtrack I was listening to while I wrote it. If you’re new to the Moore, I don’t pick these songs because they’re great… it’s just the vibes. Also, my editor has told me I’m not allowed to use ‘A Horse Outside’ by the Rubberbandits OR ‘One Finger and a Fist’ by Drowning Pool. Which seems unfair to me, but there you go!

PLAYLIST

George Ezra - Green Green Grass

Fifth Of Whiskey - Verse And Bishop

Twenty One Pilots & Maroon 5 - Heathens Animals

Addict - Silvia Hound

Bury A Friend – Billie Eilish

Play with Fire – Sam Tinnesz

I See Red – Everybody Loves an OutlawGold Rush Kid – George Ezra

Hard for Me – Michele Morrone

Sucker for Pain – Various

Bohemian Rhapsody – Forest Rangers

Kill Your Heroes – AWOLnation

I’m Gonna Do My Thing – Royal Deluxe

Author Bio:

TA MOORE


TA Moore is a Northern Irish writer of romantic suspense, urban fantasy, and contemporary romance novels. A childhood in a rural, seaside town fostered in her a suspicious nature, a love of mystery, and a streak of black humour a mile wide. As her grandmother always said, ‘she’d laugh at a bad thing that one’, mind you, that was the pot calling the kettle black. TA Moore studied History, Irish mythology, English at University, mostly because she has always loved a good story. She has worked as a journalist, a finance manager, and in the arts sectors before she finally gave in to a lifelong desire to write.

Coffee, Doc Marten boots, and good friends are the essential things in life. Spiders, mayo, and heels are to be avoided.

Website: www.tamoorewrites.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TAMoorewrites/
Twitter: @tamoorewrites

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Audio Blog Tour + Giveaway: Contact (A New World #1) by M.D. Neu


 

Contact Audiobook - M.D. Neu

M.D. Neu has a new MM sci-fi audiobook out, A New World book 1: Contact. And there's a giveaway.

A little blue world, the third planet from the sun. It’s home to seven billion people—with all manner of faiths, beliefs, and customs, divided by bigotry and misunderstanding—who will soon be told they are not alone in the universe. Anyone watching from the outside would pass by this fractured and tumultuous world, unless they had no other choice. Todd Landon is one of these people, living and working in a section of the world called the United States of America. His life is similar to those around him: home, family, work, friends, and a husband.

On the cusp of the greatest announcement humankind has ever witnessed, Todd’s personal world is thrown into turmoil when his estranged brother shows up on his front porch with news of ships heading for Earth’s orbit. The ships are holding the Nentraee, a humanoid race who have come to Earth in need of help after fleeing the destruction of their homeworld. How will one man bridge the gap for both the Humans and Nentraee, amongst mistrust, terrorist attacks, and personal loss? Will this be the start of a new age of man or will bigotry and miscommunication bring this small world to its knees and final end?

Universal Buy Link | Amazon

Liminal Fiction | Goodreads


About the Series

A little blue world, the third planet from the sun. It's home to 7 billion people with all manner of faiths, beliefs and customs, divided by bigotry and misunderstanding, who will soon be told they are not alone in the universe. Anyone watching from the outside would pass by this fractured and tumultuous world, unless they had no other choice.

Todd Landon is one of these people, living and working in a section of the world called the United States of America. His life is similar to those around him: home, family, work, friends, and a husband.

Mirtoff Esmi is the first of her clan to be the Leader of the Nentraee. Her sole focus is to find them a home before their fleet of ships can no longer carry the last survivors of their dead world. With her brother, niece, and Faa (her companion animal) supporting her, she carries the weight of her world on her shoulders.

Mi’ko Soemu remembers the Nentraee home world for both its failures and its triumphs, which is why he holds the position of Vice-Speaker, and supports the efforts of the Nentraee Leader. He is a father and husband first, and will do what he needs to ensure his family and his fellow nentraee are safe and make it to a new world.

These three beings hold the weight of two civilizations in their hands. Will they be able to bridge the gap for both the Humans and Nentraee, amongst mistrust, terrorist attacks and personal loss? Will this be the start of a new age for both species or will bigotry and miscommunication bring these two people to their knees and final end?


Giveaway

M.D. is giving away a choice of The Called or Conviction in eBook format to 5 winners during the tour:

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Excerpt

Contact meme - M.D. Neu

A New World-Contact

M.D. Neu © 2019

All Rights Reserved

The scene is a confrontation scene between one of the alien generals, Gahumed, and the leader of the alien race, Mirtoff. For me this scene is a lot of fun and it shows off these two powerful women who aren’t afraid to stand their ground.

Pronunciations:

  • Rádo (RA Doo) – The á is a hard ‘A’ sound.
  • Gahumed (Gah Mead)
  • Mirtoff (Mir Toff)
  • Tuma (Tu ma)
  • Candra (Can dra)
  • Dála (DA la) – The á is a hard ‘A’ sound.
  • J’Veesa (J Vee Sa)
  • Za’entra (Za En Tra)
  • Martween (Mar Tween)
  • U’Zraee (OO Zray)
  • Nentraee (Nen Tray)
  • ***

“Madam Speaker, welcome to the Rádo.” The female officer stood and bowed.

“Thank you.”

“You honor us with your presence. I’ll let the general know you’re here.” The officer returned to her seat and started tapping on her terminal.

Mirtoff examined the reception area; unlike the civilian ships, this place had a claustrophobic feel. It was built for function, nothing more. She remembered when the ship was under construction at the Candra Shipyards. They barely had the drives working prior to the evacuation. It took five additional years to complete, but the end result was worth it.

“Madam Speaker. You can go in.” The officer bowed again.

Mirtoff bowed in return and proceeded into the general’s office.

The office wasn’t nearly as formal and polished as hers or the vice speaker’s, but it was bigger.

Probably needed to be this large for Gahumed’s girth. Or perhaps her ego.

Various monitors mounted on the walls ran status reports for ship-to-fleet control. This one office could manage the majority of the task force. The monitors displayed only the Nentraee Government Seal. The design comprised of seven gold patterns, each a symbol for one of the clans.

A bank of windows on the back wall showed a view of the internal command center. A large workstation loomed nearby, as did chairs and the conference table that could hold all the generals comfortably for any type of meeting. In this large space, the colors were drab.

I’m not a soldier. I could never work in a place like this. There needs to be plants or color. Something.

“Madam Speaker.” Gahumed offered a curt bow as she stood from her desk. She was a big woman, born for the military, with broad shoulders and a tall frame. Mirtoff was always impressed with how the general managed to keep her brown hair in such snug braids and an even tighter bun.

“General Gahumed. You run a remarkable ship. You should be proud.”

“I’m honored to have such a post within our government.” She tapped her workstation. “Dála, please, bring in two chilled cups of tuma.” She turned to Mirtoff. “You enjoy tuma, correct?”

“Of course.”

Gahumed pointed to the conference table. “Please, come. Let us sit.”

Taking a seat at the table, Mirtoff waited for Gahumed to join her. “I assume you’re here to talk about my suggested plan for dealing with these humans?” Gahumed almost hissed out the word ‘humans.’

“I am.” Mirtoff pulled out her datapad and loaded the information, then swiped it over to the largest of the monitors on the wall. The image started with the Earth rotating. Once it hit the area of the planet she wanted, she zoomed in on a small island continent. The image moved in closer to a smaller island mass off the island continent’s coast. “Your proposal to occupy the area known to the humans as New Zealand is dangerous.”

“I don’t agree.” Gahumed rested her hands on the table. “I picked that area with defense in mind. It’s remote. The land mass is small enough, and we can easily control the surrounding space. They have a limited population of four point six million that can be relocated to Uztralia—”

“I believe they call it Australia,” Mirtoff interrupted.

“Regardless, they share a similar language and background. I don’t see an issue.” Gahumed brought up demographic information of her own. “New Zealand can be made to become sustainable for our needs and allow us business options with the humans.”

“A forced relocation won’t work.” Mirtoff’s ears started to swell and warm up.

Relax. Don’t let this plan anger you.

Mirtoff took a breath. “How will that help us build a positive enough relationship with them so we can conduct trade?”

“We could offer them helium-3 for the territory,” Gahumed countered.

“And what if the Australians don’t want four point six million new humans?”

“Why not?” Gahumed smirked. “They have the land mass, and from the reports, the two territories have good relations.”

“The issue, as I understand it, is none of Earth’s governments are willing to give up their territory to us—”

“Madam Speaker,” Gahumed interrupted, “they are a barbaric species that fight among themselves for land all the time.”

“And how would we be any different?”

“It’s not the same thing,” Gahumed said.

It’s exactly the same thing. You don’t want to see it. You’re a hypocrite.

“We can’t trust them.” Gahumed swiped her hands over her datapad. “They won’t work with us in peace and certainly we can’t trust them to be truthful with their motives. Despite what you and the vice speaker may think. We can easily go there and use our military to take over the area. Then we move the humans and make reparations.” She picked up her datapad. “Denes and my staff have run the scenario based on the information we’ve gathered. The losses were negligible.” She swiped the data up to the monitor.

“Yes, General Gahumed, I’m sure the work of your son is admirable and perfect.” She rubbed the tips of her ears. “Just like him—”

“Are you mocking the abilities of my son? He is a fine male with a brilliant military mind. He is the type of male that every Nentraee of his gender should strive to be.” Her full lips pulled into a stiff line, and her ears started turning an angry shade of blue.

“Of course, General Gahumed, he’s the perfect male. Unlike all others. We are all aware of this fact.” Mirtoff forced her gaze not to move from the general’s. How poor Denes lived with the pressure for perfection was impressive.

It’s possible, on that fact alone, he may actually be perfect.

“I don’t appreciate your tone, and as a full member of the Speaker’s House, I would expect better.” Gahumed didn’t bother to hide the tips of her ears.

This isn’t going well.

“My apologies.” Mirtoff offered a stiff bow. “You want to go to war with the humans for territory? That is not the way of J’Veesa.”

“Don’t assume to understand J’Veesa’s will. Your people don’t have the relationship with J’Veesa that mine do.” Gahumed’s ears flared.

Mirtoff kept quiet.

Your people. My people. What is the difference? J’Veesa sees us equally.

Gahumed swiped information to the largest monitor. Battle statistics filled the screen. “I don’t consider it a war, more of a forced relocation. We’ll be fine.”

“And if they decide to involve other countries?” Mirtoff rested her datapad on the table. “Then what? It’ll be the Clan Wars all over again. Haven’t—” She stopped and her chin dropped to her chest.

We’ve been through that once on our world. How can we force that on another?

“It’ll be nothing like the Clan Wars.” Gahumed sat taller in the seat. “Once, these humans see our military might, they won’t challenge us. They would lose even if they used their strongest military deterrents. It would be nothing like the slaughter that your clan caused back then.”

Mirtoff’s eyes shot up. “The Za’entra? They were fighting back your clan because they had no choice. Your clan and the Martween and U’Zraee clans were slaughtering them. It was only because of their numbers that they were able to endure. How can you say—”

“I speak the truth.” Gahumed slammed her hands on the table, causing it to shake. “You and your clan have always blamed us for that war. We never started it—”

The soft chirp of the door interrupted them. They both turned as Dála entered, holding a tray with two cups on it. She quietly placed a cup in front of each of them and left the room.

“I’m sorry, General Gahumed.” Mirtoff stood, the tips of her ears on fire. “I appreciate your proposal. However, I came to inform you that your suggested plan for New Zealand has been rejected. We will not risk war with the humans to gain territory.” She glanced at the tuma and then back to Gahumed. “I appreciate the offer of the cup of tuma. However, I’m afraid I can’t stay.”

“This is a mistake, Mirtoff.” Gahumed stood. “You’ll see when they resist the arm of peace that you and others in the Speaker’s House extend to them. My idea is the only one that can guarantee the safety of our people.”

“No, General. I would sooner leave this planet than go in and slaughter them.” Mirtoff headed out of the office, her hands in tight fists.

There is a peaceful solution. I need to find it and keep the military generals from forcing us into an armed confrontation. I won’t be the first speaker general to go to war with an alien race.


Author Bio

M.D. Neu

M.D. Neu is an international award-winning inclusive queer Fiction Writer with a love for writing and travel. Living in the heart of Silicon Valley (San Jose, California) and growing up around technology, he’s always been fascinated with what could be. Specifically drawn to Science Fiction and Paranormal television and novels, M.D. Neu was inspired by the great Gene Roddenberry, George Lucas, Stephen King, Alice Walker, Alfred Hitchcock, Harvey Fierstein, Anne Rice, and Kim Stanley Robinson. An odd combination, but one that has influenced his writing.

Growing up in an accepting family as a gay man he always wondered why there were never stories reflecting who he was. Constantly surrounded by characters that only reflected heterosexual society, M.D. Neu decided he wanted to change that. So, he took to writing, wanting to tell good stories that reflected our diverse world.

When M.D. Neu isn’t writing, he works for a non-profit and travels with his biggest supporter and his harshest critic, Eric his husband of twenty plus years.

Author Website: https://www.mdneu.com

Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/mdneuauthor

Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/Writer_MDNeu

Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authormdneu/

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/66488958-md

Author Liminal Fiction (LimFic.com): https://www.limfic.com/mbm-book-author/m-d-neu/

Author QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/m-d-neu/

Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/M-D-Neu/e/B076FK1S14

Steve Connor - Narrator Social Media Links:

Narrator Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/connorysh

Narrator Twitter: https://twitter.com/connor_steve

Narrator Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/connorysh

Narrator Linkedin : https://linkedin.com/in/steve-connor-32a2b213

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Release Blitz + Giveaway: Turtle Bay (Tides of Change #2) by John Patrick


 

Title: Turtle Bay

Series: Tides of Change, Book Two

Author: John Patrick

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 06/28/2022

Heat Level: 1 - No Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 85400

Genre: Historical, LGBTQIA+, gender-bending, cross-dressing, businessman, humor, law enforcement, political, PTSD, Postwar America, sexual discovery

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Description

It’s 1947, and New York City is awaiting the construction of the new United Nations building, the FBI is actively pursuing Communists and Soviet spies as the Cold War begins to build, and homosexual men have even more reasons to hide who they are.

Uptight FBI Agent Arthur Mason is so deep in the closet he doesn’t even realize he’s in one. Clueless about his own sexuality, he’s surprised at his reaction to both Hans Schmidt and his twin sister, Ada. Under pressure from work, Mason investigates Hans and his boarders, including the highly suspicious Hank Mannix, a known member of the Communist Party. Though Mason can’t seem to locate Ada, he can’t stop thinking about Hans and keeps going back to visit.

Hans Schmidt is a cross-dressing German immigrant running a boarding house for “a certain type of man,” and he wants nothing to do with Agent Mason and his ill-fitting suits and bad haircut. Until he begins to see Mason more as a man and less as a government official.

Hans enjoys dressing as a woman from time to time, and once his feelings for Arthur begin to change, he realizes he needs to share his Ada persona if they are to have a future together.

Secrets on both sides must be revealed and cherished beliefs challenged if these two men are to find the love and happiness they deserve.

This story can be read on its own; however, characters from book one, Dublin Bay, play a prominent role as secondary characters, so it’s recommended to read that first.

Excerpt

Turtle Bay
John Patrick © 2022
All Rights Reserved

Hans

Even after five years in America, Hans still startled every time the telephone rang—an abrupt, clanging sound insisting on attention. Why couldn’t a country capable of producing an atomic bomb be able to create a more discreet way of letting a person know about an incoming call? He vaguely remembered the phones in Ireland giving a soft chime first, before beginning to ring in earnest, but his time there had been short and chaotic, always one step ahead of capture, so he couldn’t be sure.

He didn’t remember the sound of telephones in Germany at all, even though he knew one hung on the wall in the university’s administration office. He pictured it there next to the corkboard but couldn’t reconstruct its sound.

He hoped the new dial telephone would have a more melodious tone. Assuming the phone company ever got around to swapping out his candlestick model for something more modern as they had been promising for months.

The telephone sat atop the counter in the small reception hallway. Hans swiveled his stool and picked up the entire device, bringing the mouthpiece forward and lifting the receiver close to his ear. He was surprised a call had even come through; most of the operators had gone out on strike.

“Schmidt’s Boarding House, Hans Schmidt speaking.”

“Hans, old boy! It’s Wally, up in Albany.”

“Oh, Wally, so good to hear from you. Is this business or pleasure?”

“Business, I’m afraid. I have a live one for you. And don’t forget I’m still on a party line here.”

That was code for anyone could be listening. Hans appreciated the reminder. The boarding house had its own private line, and he sometimes forgot most people outside the city still used party lines. As if to prove the point, Hans heard muffled soft breathing in the background.

He sighed and glanced at the wall clock, mentally rearranging his calendar for the afternoon. “Hold on.” He placed the transmitter back on the desk, switched the receiver to his left hand, and pulled a pad and pencil out of the drawer. He leaned closer to the mouthpiece so he could still be heard. “A day or two’s notice would make a nice change. But go on.”

“Sorry, there was no advance notice this time. He came right up to the counter and said, ‘One-way ticket to New York City, please, next available bus.’ You’ve got two more hours. I’m certain of this one, Hans. We served together.”

“Oh, were you…?”

“No. Nothing like that,” Wally responded. “But I knew, of course.”

“I understand. Greyhound?” Hans asked.

“Yes, arrives at three thirty.”

That was good news at least. The Greyhound terminal was next to Penn Station, which was only a half-hour walk if he hurried.

“Would you recommend Ada or Hans?”

“Oh, Ada for sure, dear boy. This one seems quite skittish. A direct approach won’t do. He needs to see what’s possible,” Wally replied. “He’s a good kid, Hans. Don’t let him get swallowed up by the Y.”

“Understood, and thanks for the tip. What will he be wearing?”

Wally laughed, and the connection broke up a bit. “Oh, not to worry. You can’t miss him.” Hans heard a click as someone hung up, or perhaps someone else picked up to check if the line was available.

“Will you be coming down yourself anytime soon?” Hans asked. “You absolutely must see David Brooks in Brigadoon. He’s in a kilt most of the time. We could make a weekend of it.”

“That sounds grand! Maybe next month.”

They exchanged a few additional pleasantries and ended the call.

Hans needed at least an hour to get Ada ready, and he was thankful he hadn’t yet put on cologne. He’d planned a shopping trip this afternoon to resupply a few staples—coffee, tea, and biscuits for the ladies’ reception parlor—but that could be rescheduled. But he couldn’t put it off for too long; the ladies did not like to run out of biscuits during their social hour.

As he descended the stairs to Ada’s room on the garden level—a New York euphemism for below ground—he was reminded how much easier things were for men. He wore a simple gray suit with a narrow navy tie, appropriate for all seasons and conservatively bland. Why, a fellow could disappear into any crowd wearing such an outfit.

Ada, though—she had a much tougher go of it. It was spring, technically, but still quite chilly. She’d need something…delightful. Yes, Hans thought, that was the right word. Not too frivolous, but sufficiently feminine to show the world there was still joy in beauty. But she’d also need to wear an outercoat and sensible enough shoes for a bit of a walk. She wouldn’t want to invite scrutiny, but she’d want people to see her and appreciate the effort she’d made.

Hans stepped into Ada’s room and opened the closet. He considered his options. He’d have to use last spring’s coat; he hadn’t had the time or funds to completely reoutfit this season. But it would do the job. It was robin’s-egg blue with a fitted waist rather than a belt. Five oversized white buttons ran down its length. Sadly, American fashion houses continued to insist on outrageously padded shoulders even now, nearly two years after the war’s end.

A thrill ran through Hans as he stood in front of Ada’s closet. It always did, right before the transformation.

He eyed the spring dress he’d bought two weeks ago and knew it would be perfect. He took it out of the closet and laid it flat on the bed. It was a creamy off-white cotton, with a hint of pink. It dropped to midcalf and had a layer of tulle underneath the skirt—an extravagant use of material that would have been unthinkable only a year ago, when rationing and scarcity were just starting to give way. Large red cherries created a pattern, and a back zipper allowed for a smooth, uninterrupted front.

Hans removed his suit and his baggy, shapeless boxers, making a mental note to remember to take the clothes back to his own room, behind the kitchen. He spent the next half hour on underclothing and shapewear, then makeup, and finally a softly curling blonde wig that matched his natural hair color.

Hans was more comfortable dressed as a woman than he was dressed as a man. He always had been; it’s what got him in trouble back in Germany.

Dressed as a woman, Hans absolutely sparkled. His slight frame and delicate features fit Ada better than they fit Hans, and more than once he wondered what it would have been like to have been born as Ada. He’d met men who claimed to actually be women, deep inside, but he didn’t fully grasp that. At the heart of it, Hans liked being a man and being attracted to other men. He just liked dressing and acting like a woman sometimes.

It was enough for him.

The dress itself—the item everyone saw—was the easiest part but for the back zipper, which he managed eventually.

He slipped on square-heeled navy shoes, tied a gauzy pink scarf around his hair as protection against the breeze, and then headed out the door.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

Author John Patrick is a Lambda Literary Award finalist living in the Berkshire Hills of Massachusetts, where he is supported in his writing by his husband and their terrier, who is convinced he could do battle with the bears that come through the woods on occasion (the terrier, that is, not the husband). An introvert, John can often be found doing introverted things like reading or writing, cooking, and thinking deep, contemplative thoughts (his husband might call this napping). He loves to spend time in nature—“forest bathing” is the Japanese term for it—feeling connected with the universe. But he also loathes heat and humidity, bugs of any sort, and unsteady footing in the form of rocks, mud, tree roots, snow, or ice. So his love of nature is tempered—he’s complicated that way. 

John and his husband enjoy traveling and have visited over a dozen countries, meeting new people, exploring new cultures, and—most importantly—discovering new foods.

Website | Facebook

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Release Blitz + Giveaway: The Diplomat's Bride (Treaty Brides #2) Samantha Cayto


 

The Diplomat's Bride by Samantha Cayto

Book 2 in the Treaty Brides series

Word Count: 53,223
Book Length: NOVEL
Pages: 188

Genres:

ACTION AND ADVENTURE
EROTIC ROMANCE
FANTASY
GAY
GLBTQI
ROYALS

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Book Description

Being a bride is a state of mind, not of body.

Kexen of the Outer Vale has made a unique splash in the Moorcondian palace and has captured the attention of Benedict, Lord Tentrees, a diplomat trying to make his mark. When a winter-long mission arises to negotiate a trading treaty with a foreign queen, Ben needs a wife by his side. Never having been attracted to women, he sets his sights on marrying the enticing Kexen. He means for him to be both a helpmate navigating court society and a shield against the flirtatious queen.

Because Kexen is someone who—by his own admission—is neither male nor female, he is intrigued by the idea of becoming Lady Tentrees and presenting entirely as a woman. Ben sweetens the offer with a lucrative trade deal between their families. Kexen will not ignore his duty while also being drawn to the virile diplomat who desires him. He cannot help but accept the proposal.

Their journey through both their diplomatic mission and marriage proves to be a rocky one. Kexen is not as experienced as his husband first believes, Ben is more driven by his career than Kexen appreciates and neither of them anticipates the intrigue waiting for them at their destination. The strength of their growing bond will be tested as they fight for their survival.

Excerpt

Benedict, Lord Tentrees of Northcliff, stood at the balcony’s rail and peered down at the colorful spectacle of the servants’ ball. Technically, he had no business being there. The ball season for the nobility had already ended earlier in the evening. These final hours were intended to benefit those who served the palace denizens so faithfully throughout the year. This was a grand gesture of thanks for their hard work and loyalty. Woe be it to anyone who didn’t give a servant these few hours to enjoy themselves with food, drink and merriment. The royal family had long made it clear that this was by decree. There would be some aching heads and sleepy eyes come the harsh light of the morning, but for now, the people twirling around the dance floor and taking liberties with each other in corners had no care in the world—or so it seemed to him. Not that his gaze landed on anyone for long, because he was there to find one person in particular.

It wasn’t difficult for him to spot his quarry. Even among the bright garments of the attendants, Kexen of the Outer Vale stood out. He was clothed in the colors of fall—deep red, bright orange and sparkling yellow. His daringly short doublet sported gathered sleeves that cascaded in folds down his slender arms while provocatively highlighting what lay behind the crotch of his almost obscenely snug trousers. His knee-high brown leather boots gave his legs an even longer look, while his elaborately braided hair swung with his every graceful turn. Kexen was not a tall man, but that was all to the good. The boy would fit perfectly with Ben’s own height. The vision of gathering him in his arms was captivating. His cock hardened at the thought of it, enjoying the spark of pleasure. With his demanding profession, there wasn’t much opportunity to slake his needs. Hopefully, that situation was about to change.

There was no reason to tarry any longer, so, stepping away from his vantage point, he headed toward the staircase that would send him into the midst of the revelers. He had intended to be as inconspicuous as possible, understanding that this was not his domain, that he was an interloper who might cause some alarm among the servants. His good intentions notwithstanding, the severity of his all-black clothing served to make him stand out among the festive outfits of those around him. There was a certain amount of startlement by those who saw and recognized his station, if not his identity, leading to smiles morphing into more respectful expressions. Some nodding of heads occurred, as well, in deference to his rank. Ben tried to convey that he was no threat to them, that he had no demands, not even any expectations—not from these people, in any event. Kexen was a different story altogether. If all went to plan, Ben would seduce the boy while judging up close whether they would make a good match.

Ben caught sight of Kexen on the dance floor again. He was being whirled around in the beefy arms of a footman. Ben settled against the wall to stay unobtrusive as he waited with less patience than he would have expected from himself for the musicians to end their song. The moment the last of the notes were played, he launched into the crowd. Now he appreciated being shown respect as the partying servants cleared a way for him, making his journey that much quicker. He caught up with Kexen and his partner just as they were stepping out onto one of the balconies. The night was brisk but, in contrast to the heat of the ballroom, very refreshing—not that the cold air served to dampen his ardor. Seeing Kexen up close only increased his desire for the boy.

Exquisite.

Kexen’s face was lit with joviality as he gazed up at the footman, laughing at something the man had said. There was a coy look to the boy’s expression, as well. Ben was surprised at the spurt of jealousy he felt at the sight. He reminded himself that Kexen was not his and might never be so unless he proved to be worthy. Charging forth as if he were an enraged lover was hardly going to serve that purpose. Being a diplomat, he knew how to bank his emotions and measure his words and actions. By the time he reached the couple, he hoped he appeared friendly and casual.

Kexen was the first to spot him. His jubilance dimmed somewhat, although he looked more curious than apprehensive. He nodded his head. “My lord, is there something you wish?”

You. In my bed. Ben didn’t voice this desire out loud, of course. Instead, he said, “I would love a dance, if you would honor me.” Ben had the pleasure of seeing surprise flash across the boy’s face. He was delighted that the obviously confident young man could still be caught off guard.

Kexen reached to twist one finger around the chain of a small ruby pendant and dropped his gaze. “I am honored, my lord. But your pardon, this is the servants’ ball. It is not fit for a nobleman.” Just as Ben was appreciating the subtlety of the rebuke, Kexen looked up at him from under his lashes.

Cheeky boy, you’re interested. Ben stepped closer. “And a fine event it is. Please forgive the intrusion, but I have been anticipating the opportunity to meet you, Kexen of the Outer Vale. This seemed the best occasion to do so.”

Now Kexen showed open welcome, his lips curling in a beckoning smile. “Oh. You flatter me, my lord.”

The footman proved that his brains weren’t as big as his muscles. When the man opened his mouth as if to object, Ben stepped deftly between him and Kexen and stared the footman down. “If you don’t mind?”

They were matched in height, and while Ben wasn’t quite as broad, he could hold his own in a brawl as well as at the negotiation table—not that either skill was required in this event. He didn’t hesitate to convey his social position in his gaze to encourage the footman to find someone else to dally with. The man was confident but not entirely stupid, apparently. With a curt nod, he strode away.

Pleased with the outcome, Ben turned to Kexen and held out his hand. “They are playing a waltz…my favorite.”

Kexen managed to convey shyness, something his reputation belied. Ben didn’t mind the pretext. The boy’s ability to navigate the complex waters of a court was one of the things that Ben coveted him for. He hadn’t been worried about a refusal, but when Kexen put his hand in his own, the jolt of excitement Ben felt was a surprise. He prided himself on being cool and measured in his actions. Something about the feel of this boy, however, made him want to drag him off into a corner and do a different kind of dance—one that involved his cock sliding past those slightly tinted and lovely lips. The way Kexen closed the distance between them, wrapping his arm around Ben’s neck, told him that the boy had similar ideas. Such a temptation, but Ben schooled himself to be patient, because this night was not a one-time seduction. It was hopefully the beginning of a short courtship.

Ben took his dance partner by the waist and pulled him in close, letting Kexen feel the measure of his arousal. “Let us stay out here. I wouldn’t want my presence to impede the others’ enjoyment. I will endeavor to keep you warm.” So saying, he began to slowly lead the boy in circles.

Kexen tilted his head to look him in the eye. “You are succeeding admirably, my lord.”

“I’m gratified to hear it. I’m Benedict, by the way.”

“I know who you are, Lord Tentrees. I must confess to being surprised that you know who I am.”

Ben whirled them into the far recesses of the balcony, taking them away from everyone else. “You shouldn’t be. Who at the palace hasn’t heard of the valiant groomer of the Duchess of Vostguard? You helped to save Prince Soren from an ambush at grave risk to your own safety.”

Kexen dropped his gaze and shrugged. “Oh, that. It was all the Duchess’ doing. I merely went along to serve him, as is my duty.”

Ben knew false modesty when he heard it, and this was decidedly not that. Kexen truly believed his actions weren’t worthy of special mention. Ben’s estimation of him increased. There was more to this boy than beauty and even bravery. Most people in his position would brag to anyone and everyone about such exploits, not caring if their words betrayed the secrets of those whom they served. Kexen’s humbleness and discretion were excellent traits in diplomatic circles. There was no doubt in Ben’s mind that he had made the right choice, even if it were really the only one afforded him.

“You don’t do yourself justice. I’ve attended a few meetings in the presence of the king. I assure you he feels quite differently.”

Kexen blushed despite the cold air swirling around them. “The royal family is very kind, my lord.”

“My friends call me Ben.”

“I am surely not that upon such a short acquaintance.”

“I should like you to be.” He let his passion show in his eyes. “Should we continue our dance somewhere more private inside?” He actually held his breath waiting for the reply. In theory, he could have his way whether Kexen wanted him or not. King Auden didn’t tolerate the abuse of servants, but pressure could be brought to bear quietly against even the most secure servants with little retribution, if one was careful about it. But that wasn’t how he intended this venture to go. An eager Kexen would be a far better prize than a reluctant and begrudging one.

Kexen rested his cheek on Ben’s shoulder. “I would like that very much.”

Ben wasted no time, ending their dance before tugging Kexen by the hand back into the ballroom. He skirted the crowd to leave through the nearest exit and led the boy to the first quiet alcove he could find. The palace had so many discreet places for assignations that he was inclined to believe it was by deliberate design. Part of him disliked being so public. He would have preferred to take Kexen back to his own apartment, but, despite his recent promotion in the diplomatic corps, he still didn’t have a room in the palace. Taking the time to dress for outside and head to his place in the city didn’t appeal to him. Plus, he didn’t want to burden Kexen with two trips—there and back—on such a cold and late night.

The moment they were out of the sight of prying eyes, he pulled the boy into a kiss. He’d intended to take it slowly, to do nothing that might alarm even an experienced person such as Kexen. One touch of their lips, however, had him devouring the boy’s mouth instead. His much-valued control snapped with a speed that alarmed him. Or, rather, it would have, if feasting on Kexen were not as delectable as it was. Within seconds, he was sitting on a tufted settee with Kexen straddling his lap. Their respective erections mashed against each other as much as their clothing allowed. Ben wanted nothing more than to strip those barriers away. He had to wrestle with himself to gain control over his passion.

Breaking the kiss, he peppered Kexen’s jaw with quick pecks. “We must slow down, my dear, or I won’t last much longer.”

Kexen giggled in a sweet voice. “Who says I want you to…Ben?”

Hearing his name spoken in a voice thick with need nearly sent him over the edge. He closed his eyes and nuzzled the side of the boy’s neck, breathing in the sharp scent of bergamot mixed with the more musky smell of his arousal. As Ben worried that his mind was becoming cloudy, Kexen slipped from his grasp and was kneeling between his legs before Ben knew what was happening.

“Let me make you happy.” That was all the boy said before undoing the laces of Ben’s trousers, freeing his cock.

What rational thought that was left in his mind fled in the next instance when Kexen swallowed him whole right down nearly to the root. It was an impressive feat based on his prior experience. No one had ever taken the entirety of his rather large dick, and few had been able to manage as much as Kexen was now. The intensity of being mostly encased in such tight, wet heat nearly undid him. Then Kexen worked his throat muscles to massage the top half of Ben’s shaft. That was all it took for him to double over from his orgasm, pressing his lips tight to keep from shouting his pleasure.

Kexen kept lavishing attention on Ben’s dick until it popped out of his mouth. The boy beamed up at him as Ben caught his breath. “Do you feel better now, my lord?”

By way of an answer, Ben hauled him back up to his lap with a swiftness that made Kexen gasp. “Not nearly enough. I want more.” He kissed the boy again, tasting his own bitterness. Far from being disgusted, he loved it, because it was a mingling of them both. He wanted to reciprocate the giving of such pleasure. But when he reached between them to cup Kexen’s erection, he found that the boy had already come from the cocksucking alone. Knowing that he’d had such a potent effect on him puffed up his chest. He wondered if he could do it again and found himself eager to try. There was plenty of time left in the night, and based on the way Kexen melted into his arms, he seemed just as eager for more.

This was proof that he’d been right all along. Kexen of the Outer Vale was the perfect bride for him.

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About the Author

Samantha Cayto

Samantha Cayto is a Boston-area native who practices as a business lawyer by day while writing erotic romance at night—the steamier the better. She likes to push the envelope when it comes to writing about passion and is delighted other women agree that guy-on-guy sex is the hottest ever.

She lives a typical suburban life with her husband, three kids and four dogs. Her children don't understand why they can't read what she writes, but her husband is always willing to lend her a hand—and anything else—when she needs to choreograph a scene.

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Blog Tour + Giveaway: The Last Son Of Venus by Dion Marc


 

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Book Title: The Last Son Of Venus 

Author and Publisher: Dion Marc 

Release Date: January 29, 2022 

Genre: MM Dark Urban Fantasy  

Tropes: Fated Mates, Size difference, Alpha Top 

Themes: Trust yourself, don’t follow anything blindly, magic, gods, good vs evil  

Length: 87 000 words/330 paperback and 340 hardcover 

Heat Rating: 4 flames

It’s the first book in a planned series and ends on a cliffhanger.

Goodreads

Buy Links - Available in Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK 

Paperback or Hardcover also available from

B&N  |  Angus Robertson

Darkness hungers for the child of love. 

Blurb  

Alone and in London for the first time, Alex Anderson is being hunted by the darkness as the fates have seen fit to turn his dream holiday into his worst nightmare before he even steps foot out of the airport. 

An archaic evil hungers for him and will stop at nothing to possess the  twenty-two-year-old and the coveted secrets that have been hidden from Alex his whole life. 

All that stands in their way is a two-and-half-thousand-year-old spartan  Commander named Nikos and his fellow guardian sidekick Jin; a pink haired descendant of the goddess Hekate. 

Nikos will move heaven and hell to protect Alex even if that means protecting him from himself. 

When boy meets man sparks fly and an instant bond is felt, a connection that feels as old as the fabric of time. But Alex must first learn to trust Nikos and Jin while fighting his anxieties that have controlled his life if he has any  hope of surviving what's to come. 

The Last Son Of Venus is the first in the fast-paced LGBT fantasy romance series of the same name featuring queer male characters, high fantasy creatures, magic and the true gods of old. The Last Son of Venus will take  you on a long multi-series journey to a well-deserved HEA. So come and join Alex and Nikos and see what the Fates have in store. 

Excerpt 

Bitter wind violated my exposed flesh, sending a deep chill to the very core of my bones.  Mother had warned me that London was cold, but I thought she meant cold like Melbourne in  winter, not winter in Antarctica. If it wasn't for the fact that my jumpers were all packed down at  the very bottom, I would have stopped and added an extra layer of protection. But I was cold  and feeling far too lazy to reorder my bag, so I went without. Yes, I was an idiot. 

As per the map’s instructions, I turned right onto Gillingham Street. It was becoming really 

hard to focus on the map because the streets were barely lit. I cursed myself inwardly that I  didn't just buy a portable phone charger, but I would be sure to rectify my error first thing  tomorrow. My goodness, this would be a lot smoother if I was using my phone's Google Maps.  Anyway, what was done was done. 

For a Saturday, there was very little nightlife, which I thought was odd considering what I knew  about Londoners and drinking, although I have to say my knowledge on the subject was like  ninety-five percent based on Geordie Shore reruns. But still, there was not a soul on the street. 

I could feel my anxiety grow; it wasn't helped by the fact that some random man told me  someone was trying to kill me—though he wasn't some random man, was he? He knew my  name. I felt a shiver run up my arms; I didn't think I could feel any colder. Maybe I should have  stayed and heard him out before running away...again, if I had, maybe he had a portable phone  charger. 

Looking back down at the map, I estimated I had maybe another six-minute walk ahead,  although I wished I had just paid for the stupid cab fare, but I really couldn't justify the cost for,  what, maybe four hundred metres. I walked further every day on my morning run. 

The light flickered in the lamppost above. How strange. It flickered again, but this time, it didn't  light back up. I was plunged into darkness as the rest of the streetlights also extinguished. 

THUMP THUMP THUMP THUMP 

My anxiety started to peak, and my instincts told me to get out of there fast. All of a sudden, I  felt eyes on me. Shit shit shit. My pace quickened into a slight jog, my bag swinging heavy  behind me. 

Why did it feel like the approaching darkness was watching me? I looked up to the sky where  once a moon sat giving light to the sky, but now it was gone, shrouded by darkness. I started to  shake  uncontrollably; I couldn't tell if it was from the cold or my anxiety. Both seemed to be at war for  dominance over my body and mind. 

A sound emerged through the darkness, muttered voices. I started to run, every fibre of my  body telling me to do so. My flight response was fully active, I flew down the street, but the  voices seemed to be gaining on me. They were now close enough to hear what it was they were  chanting. "Consumptura est lux tenebris." They repeated it over and over. 

I crossed the street in mere seconds, but was stopped from going further by a gate of iron. I  turned to go around, but to the left of me, I found that the men were closing in on me. Looking  to the right, they were doing the same yet only metres away. 

Fuck fuck fuck, my only option was to jump the fence. It wasn't very tall, so I knew I could make  short work of it. I put my hands on the spikes and pushed down, lifting my body. I swung my  legs up and jumped down. The hem of my shirt got caught on a spike, lifting my shirt up,  trapping my arms. "FUUUUCK!" I yelled, trying to fumble myself free. I was shaking so violently,  I could barely unhook it, the process taking minutes rather than seconds. 

It came loose just as the men closed in. It was then that I realised my duffle bag's strap must  have also gotten caught on the spike as it lay broken just on the other side of the fence, but I  could clearly see the men's robes of red now. I hadn't the time to retrieve it. I'd have to let it go  and hope I found it later after I had made it to a police officer. 

Even the darkness seemed to draw dimmer. How was that possible? Turning, I started to run,  pushing past plants and shrubs, pulling my shirt back down as I ran. 

Their chant suddenly changed, I could now hear their voices ringing in my head as if they were  whispering right into my ears. "Arbores et plantae saxa animari, prohibere eum." Their chant  had changed. It felt as if the trees were drawing closer, which couldn't be so. 

Something grabbed my foot. I let out a scream as I fell to the ground hard. What was that? I  looked around, but all I could see was grass. I must have tripped over a root or something,  though I couldn't see one. Getting back on my feet, my left ankle felt swollen, and as I put  pressure on it, I let out a loud scream. I hoped against hope that it was just twisted and not  broken. I tried to run, but the pain was just too great. 

CRASH. The gate lifted from the ground and flew into a tree. The robed men continued to follow  me. FUCK.

"HELP! Someone, anyone, help me!" I shouted. 

One of the men raised his hand at me, and my voice faltered. I tried to let out a scream, but my  voice was gone. What in the name of Ursula the sea witch was this? All I could do was try  limping away. 

Roots lifted from the ground before my very eyes, spraying moss into the air, leaving the earth a  maze of traps, clearly designed to stop my escape. What was I to do? I tried to hop over them,  the pain forcing tears to fall from my eyes. But the pain didn't stop me. I continued to push  myself, for my life clearly depended on it. 

"Corrumpam vineam eius," shouted one of the robed men. Instantly, vines fell from the trees  and launched themselves at me. I ducked and missed the first one, but the rest found their  target, instantly forcing me to the ground, wrapping around me like dangerous pythons. 

The roots curled up, pulling me to face the robed men, forcing me to watch as they approached.  The men were dressed in robes of red. I could just make out a crucifix scar on one of the men's  outstretched arms. Wrapped around their hands were what looked to be rosary beads, but  something looked wrong. It seemed like the beads dug into their hands, drawing out a dark  fluid. 

The wind changed, and the smell of metallic ooze hit my sinuses, causing my nose to curl. That  answered the question of what the fluid was: it was blood. I struggled with everything left in my  body, but it was no use, the vines just grew tighter and tighter, almost to the point of breaking  bone. 

 "Help me," I prayed inwardly. "Someone, please." 

A man in the centre stepped forward chanting with the others, "Accipere auferat divina virtute."  Something jabbed into me sharp like a needle, causing unimaginable pain to flow through me. I  screamed and screamed, but no sound escaped me. Whatever it was it felt like it was crawling  through my veins. 

He continued forward towards me, chanting. Only a few feet away, I could now clearly make out  his face that was hidden by a hood. He looked to be in his mid-fifties with a full white beard,  long hooked nose, and beady black eyes. He kneeled beside me and raised his outstretched  hand over my face. I tried to close my eyes, but they were forced open. The man squeezed his  palm into the rosary beads, which I could now see were made of jagged barbed wire that cut  into his flesh. As the man squeezed, blood fell like water droplets over my face. On impact with  my flesh, it sizzled like acid; it smelled like it too. I was truly dead. My only thought was on my parents, hoping they would be able to get past my death. My vision started to fade to black.  This was the end of me. My eyes finally closed. I had no strength anymore. Maybe death  wouldn't be so bad? And with that thought, it all went silent. 

BANG! 

The earth reverberated. There was loud running, yelling, and what sounded like sandbags  hitting a wall, but I couldn't open my eyes to see. They felt like they were welded shut. 

"You must continue the chant!" shouted a voice that felt like spiders crying in my ears. 

The chanting started again. "Accipere auferat—" But was cut off mid-sentence as what sounded  like thunder struck the earth. I needed to run, move, get up, break the bonds holding me. My  brain told me this, but it was as if I was buried alive. 

Something dropped beside me. It radiated warmth. I wanted to lean into it. I tried to but failed. I  wanted it closer. "Please come closer," I begged the universe, and by some grace, it did. I felt a hand on my cheek; it was warm to the touch. Who was this? What was this? Again, I tried to  open my eyes but failed. I started to panic again. This couldn't be the end. My mind started to  race. Mentally, I was thrashing back and forth, wishing my body to do the same. This feeling of  disconnection was the scariest thing I had ever felt. 

"By Zeus, Alex, gods fucking dammit, your lips are blue," growled a familiar voice. Was it the  Adonis? It sounded like him, and for some unexplainable reason, I hoped it was him. I could feel  his hands on me. Everywhere he touched, I felt warmth. 

"Jin, we're going to need a recovery charm," he yelled at an unknown person. 

"Babes, I am fucking busy if you didn't realise, you know, holding off the Priests of Bellum  Sacrum," bit back an unknown, effeminate voice. 

"Fuck it all to Hades, you couldn't have just come with me at the train station." The Adonis's  voice turned gravelly. But I couldn't follow him at the train station because he was a stranger. I  didn't know him; therefore, I couldn't trust him. But was he here now to save me? So maybe  that meant I could trust him? 

"Fuck it, we'll have to swap," called the Adonis back to the person he called Jin, I assumed. 

No, don't leave me! He can not leave me. Don't take the warmth away. I'm so very cold. As if he  could hear me, he assured, "Don't worry, Alex, I'll be back." Then he was gone. The coldness set  back in, his warmth only a haunting memory.

Thunder struck the earth again; there were more screams of pain and terror. The smell of  metallic ooze grew almost too strong to possibly bear. A thud beside me. Was it the Adonis? It  couldn't be because this person didn't radiate warmth like he had. Was he friend or foe? 

"Queen, don't even stress, okay, I'm here to help you, boo." It was that voice again; it was  distinctly fem, but like fem male, not a fem female. I assumed it was Jin, but I really wished I  could open my eyes and stop all the guesswork. 

 "Álysoi kaí desmá nýn spázete." I felt warmth all over my body. Suddenly, I felt weightless like I  was flying in the air. The darkness began to fade as a white light came towards me. I tried to  meet it halfway. 

Light burst into my reality as my eyes flew open, temporarily blinding me as my eyes readjusted.  A man who couldn't be any older than myself stood over me, his hair fairy-floss pink, kept neat  and short on the side with a front fringe that covered the tops of his brows. 

"Is he awake yet?" yelled the Adonis from somewhere just out of my field of view. "Yes, fuck, give me a second, Miss Bossy Tiger," snapped the pink-haired man. He turned and spoke to me, trying for a soothing voice, but came off very condescending. 

"Hi, Alex, my name is Jin. I'm going to need you to stand up. Can you do that for me, dolls?" But  wasn't I tied to the ground by vines? 

"Jin, get him the fuck up now. We need to move!" said the Adonis, running back into view. "I'm  trying," he responded. 

"Then try harder." 

Before I could process what was happening, one of the robed figures instantly appeared 

behind the Adonis, bloodied dagger outstretched ready to strike, going for the killing blow.  "NOOOOOOOO!" I screamed, sending out a blast of energy that felt like it came from my 

very soul. I couldn't let the Adonis die. 

Gusts of power forced the robed man into the air, flying back with a loud crunching sound 

into a tree. The dagger burst into smoke. It took me a moment to realise what it was I had done.  My body retracted inwardly, instantly forming a ball. What had I just done? I started to rock 

back and forth, tears falling from my eyes.

THUMP THUMP THUMP THUMP 

I was a freak, and I may have just killed someone. I needed my mother to tell me it would be  okay, but she wasn't there, so I didn't know what to do. I needed to know I didn't just kill  someone. "Shhhh, calm down, it will all be okay," said Jin softly. 

But it wasn't going to be okay; nothing was. It would never be okay again. "Right, fuck this. Get the fuck up now, idiot, before you get us all killed," growled the Adonis. 

I just looked at him, like was he kidding? Like really, was he kidding? The rudeness. I was 

going through something. Instantly, my anxiety and grief turned to anger like a light switch. I  was standing up, pointing my finger at him. "Who the hell do you think you are? Do not EVER  talk to me like that again, do you understand?" 

The corners of his mouth turned up slightly; the barest whisper of a smile ghosted his face.  "That got you up, now didn't it?" 

About the Author  

Scottish Australian author Dion Marc lives and breathes queer art. Whether he is painting, writing, sewing or dancing naked in the moonlight he does it with pride. He is a practising  Hellenistic polytheist who believes in healing the world one hug at a time and that drinking tea without a biscuit is a horrendous crime. 

Dion has spent over eleven years working full time in film and television as a Makeup Artist, Hairdresser, Wig Maker and Costume Designer. For the last year Dion has been working on the award-winning theatrical shows Hamilton, Moulin Rouge and more recently full-time on Harry Potter and the Cursed Child as a hair and makeup artist. 

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one of five DELUXE eBook copies of ‘THE LAST SON OF VENUS’ 

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Release Blitz + Giveaway: Parasite by Ridley Harker


 

Title: Parasite

Author: Ridley Harker

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 06/28/2022

Heat Level: 3 - Some Sex

Pairing: M/NB

Length: 82500

Genre: Horror, LGBTQIA+, Action/adventure, coming-of-age, dark, humorous

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Description

Seventeen-year-old Jack Ives is used to being unlucky. His only friend has just moved away to college, his parents are alcoholics, and he’s relentlessly bullied by the town psychopath. All that begins to change with the arrival of a handsome but quirky new student, Lucien, who wants to be more than friends.

Their newfound happiness doesn’t last, however, as a strange new illness strikes the island. Fishermen go missing, and the villagers left behind aren’t themselves anymore. When Lucien is suspected to be the cause of the outbreak, can Jack overcome his teenage hormones and save Eldrick Isle? Will he even want to?

Excerpt

Parasite
Ridley Harker © 2022
All Rights Reserved

0054 hours

September 2, 2015

Gulf of Maine

When some kooky mainlanders offered to pay extra for a midnight ferry, Bill Jamison had jumped at the chance to pay off his bar tab. Now he regretted it. The middle-aged fisherman leaned morosely against the starboard rail while beside him his business partner, Jim Kendrick, fought the uphill battle of smoking a pipe during a storm. The rain pounded against the deck in a dull roar and, judging from Kendrick’s cursing, the pipe had gone out once again.

Not for the first time, Jamison reluctantly noted that his partner was getting on in years. Kendrick’s coat hung from his wizened frame like a cloak. His mysterious weight loss had made them both nervous, not that either one said anything. For an Eldrick Islander, the prospect of cancer was like foul weather; something to be endured without complaint.

“Goddamned son-of-a—” Kendrick upended the pipe and a sodden wad of tobacco fell onto the deck. He kicked it away, smearing it across the boards.

“We shouldn’t have gone out tonight,” Jamison said.

“Horse shit,” Kendrick huffed. “We’ve sailed through worse than this.”

“That ain’t what I meant.” Jamison jerked his head toward the mainlander lurking near the bow of the ferry.

Tall and blond, his passenger’s washed-out appearance resembled a photograph, the kind found in a neglected attic of subjects long deceased. Judging by the young man’s pinched frown, Jamison assumed that Silas Spencer was either a lawyer or an undertaker. He shuddered; Jamison hated lawyers, having seen enough of their kind during his divorce. Blood-sucking monsters the lot of them, in his opinion, but he had never been afraid of them, not even when the wretches helped his ex-wife take half of everything he’d owned.

But he was afraid of this one.

It was the eyes. He had seen eyes like that once before, years ago. Back when he had spent much of his days drunk. Once, while Kendrick cleaned their catch, Jamison had gone too far and drunk too much. His legs had betrayed him, and he had tumbled over the side. He remembered tasting blood. A tangy mix of iron and salt that burned his lungs when he tried to inhale. His eyes had stung. He had floundered in the icy water. He, a man who had learned to swim before he could walk, was drowning.

Then the moment of panic was gone, and instinct had set in. Jamison’s powerful legs had propelled him upwards, his arms outstretched toward the boat. He had nearly reached it before the shadow was beneath him. It came at him like a torpedo, almost too fast for his gin-addled brain to comprehend. A massive, prehistoric monster armed with muscled jaws and sandpaper skin. The soulless black pits of its eyes rolled back in its head, and its gaping maw expanded to reveal rows upon row of serrated teeth.

In the split second before the attack, Jamison had stared into the darkness of oblivion—then he had been shaken like a terrier on a rat. The shark had separated the flesh from his leg and sentenced him to a month in a mainland hospital whose bill he was still struggling to pay off. The very existence of such a creature disproved the notion that humans sat at the top of the food chain.

Safely back in the present, Jamison shuddered and remembered to breathe. He rubbed at his forearms, warm beneath his thick woolen sweater. He had been lucky. If he had drunk a little more gin, perhaps he wouldn’t have had the presence of mind to sink his knife deep into the shark’s eye socket. Now only scars and nightmares remained, and he hadn’t touched the bottle since. He liked to say that his rock bottom was on the ocean floor.

Jamison recognized something of that great white shark in Spencer. The man’s flat, grey eyes made his skin crawl. He glowered at Spencer’s broad-shouldered back, but Spencer didn’t seem to notice or care. His attention lay on the swirling mists beyond the ferry’s bow. Typical yuppie mainlander. Pretentious bastard, Jamison thought.

“They’re up to something,” he said aloud, glancing toward the cabin where the other one had sequestered himself.

Kendrick only snorted. “They’re mainlanders. They’ll spend a few weeks on the Isle, get bored, and then go back to whatever hell hole they came from. You know the type. We get a few every other year or so.”

Jamison did know the type. Unlike Nantucket, or Martha’s Vineyard, Eldrick Isle never attracted the summer crowd. There was nothing to offer. The once booming fishing industry had been usurped by commercial trawlers decades ago, forcing the neighboring isles to turn to seaweed farming instead. Eldrick, however, chose to bow its head and soldier on, clinging to the memory of its glory days. Billboards advertised a hotel that had long since shuttered its doors. The lone diner had a Visitor’s Special that no one ever ordered. The pier greeting the newcomers reeked of dead fish, the ever-present stench emanating from the dozen or so rusted fishing boats docked in the harbor.

Then there was the island itself: Eldrick’s shores were steep, rocky cliffs, with edges sharp and jagged like broken teeth. The surf stirred up debris and rotting vegetation, littering the island’s few beaches with trash from the abandoned canning factory on the island’s east side. Even the hottest days of summer were damp and chilly. Mist obscured the frigid waters. It crept onto the island, soaking through the sturdiest of coats. The few vacationers that showed up in August inevitably took one look at the dying town and turned around to book their return ticket.

Rain splattered against Jamison’s hood, echoing in his ears. Kendrick tried his pipe again to no avail. The storm lulled enough that the sound of retching was audible from within the depths of the cabin. Rasping coughs followed by the wet splatter of vomit. The downpour returned with a roar. It slipped past Jamison’s hood, soaking his neck. His shiver had nothing to do with the cold.

Kendrick abandoned his pipe and frowned, his rheumy eyes searching Jamison’s face. Jamison cleared his throat, striving to be heard over the rain and yet not loud enough for Spencer to hear. “Something’s wrong,” he shouted into Kendrick’s ear. “We were barely on the water before the kid got sick—”

“Billy, you been drinking again?” Kendrick asked, clasping Jamison’s shoulder with gnarled fingers. “When’d you get so goddamned superstitious?”

“No, I haven’t been fucking drinking! I’m only saying that this whole thing feels wrong; if one of my brothers were puking like that, I’d at least go check on him. I think the kid’s got something bad—what if it’s contagious?”

“What, like ee-bolah?” Kendrick asked, with a sharp look toward the ferry’s cabin. “Naw, it couldn’t be…”

“You checked on him?”

“No.”

“Well, someone ought to,” Jamison said.

“You do it,” Kendrick said dubiously. “Last time, I slipped in it and damn near broke my back.”

“Go check it out. If he’s only seasick then I’ll clean it up myself, but I’m telling you, something’s very wrong with that kid.”

“Christ, Billy! Nag anymore and you’re gonna sound like my wife.” Kendrick gave him a shove and then marched across the deck toward the cabin. Jamison caught movement in the corner of his eye and found Spencer watching them, his back against the railing. Their eyes met, and all of a sudden Jamison couldn’t hear the storm. There was nothing but the blood pounding in his ears. One corner of Spencer’s thin mouth twitched upward into a razor’s edge of a smirk. Jamison’s skin crawled. He wrenched his eyes away.

“Jim, wait!” Jamison shouted over the rain, but Kendrick had already knocked on the cabin door. The old sailor reached for the handle, his calloused fingers closing in on the doorknob. Jamison sucked in his breath.

Kendrick half turned around, his shoulders squared and his lips pursed, eyes narrowed beneath his bushy white brows. His hand was still on the cabin door. “Jesus Christ, Billy, what now?” he demanded. “What in the hell’s wrong with you, you crazy son of a bitch? You’re shaking like a virgin on—” He paused and glanced down. Jamison didn’t know why until Kendrick tried to take a step back. His boot remained glued to the floor.

Kendrick shoved at the door and yanked at his shoe. He stumbled as it came loose, trailing a viscous black gel behind it. More of the substance pooled out from underneath the cabin door. Lightning flashed, and a rainbow sheen coated the surface of the muck. The door creaked open.

Before Jamison shouted in warning, something darted out from the gloom. Thick and ropy, like a bundle of rotten vines, it hit Kendrick’s wrist with a wet slap, latching onto his bare skin. Kendrick sputtered, his eyes wide and his mouth hanging open in a perfect caricature of surprise—then another tentacled limb emerged and shoved itself down his gullet. Like a fish on a hook, he was yanked into the cabin.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

Ridley Harker is an up-and-coming horror author who delights in all things gay and spooky. While past careers have included reptile keeping at a zoo and EMT work at a casino, writing is his true passion. His favorite books are those with enemies to lovers, small town settings, and great villains. He currently lives in the Middle of Nowhere with his two dogs, a grumpy old snake, and a host of pet tarantulas.

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