Guest Review: The Gentle Dom (Iron Eagle Gym #7) by Sean Michael

When one of their own is threatened, the men of the Iron Eagle Gym will stand together and prove they are stronger as a family.

Stuntman Barclay Drambor suspects his fall from a roof was no accident. He believes his abusive ex was responsible, but he can’t prove it. Fortunately, a year has gone by with no word from Duncan, letting Barclay move on with his life—and that means dealing with the aftermath of his injuries. He finds personal trainer Reece “Rec” Gordon through a member of the gym, and it’s not long before their workouts together become much more intimate. Rec is gentle and goes out of his way to make Barclay comfortable, and in no time there’s talk of moving in together….

But just as Barclay is healing and finding a place to belong, Duncan returns to destroy his happiness. Though Duncan will learn he’s messing with the wrong group of men, in the end, Barclay must face him. Will Rec’s love and the friendship of the others at the gym give him the confidence to stand up for himself?

Reviewer: Shee Reader

Reece is a personal trainer and Dominant who works and plays at the Iron Eagle Gym. His latest client is a lovely quiet man trying to recover from a stunt gone wrong. What Rec doesn’t know is that Barclay feels his tragic fall was no accident, and fears for his life.

Rec is single and looking for a boy of his own. Barclay has little knowledge of the lifestyle, and really little awareness of his own needs. The pair connect from the start as we have come to expect from Sean Michael, and their developing relationship is fast and rather kinky in an understated way. Rec knows what Barclay needs but doesn’t want to come on too strong. He is, as the title suggests a gentle Dom. Not for him the really hardcore stuff, but his affection for Barclay, and the desire to take good care of B in every way is totally adorable.

The looming spectre of the crazy stalker ex is mainly off page, so the angst is there but relatively low calibre. This book has all the Hallmarks we expect and adore from Sean Michael, a touch of insta-love, definite insta-lust, a tooth-achingly sweet HEA and some nice little asides to reference the characters from previous books.

I loved it!

Release Blitz + Giveaway: Escaping Exile (The Escape Trilogy #1) by Sara Dobie Bauer

Help author Sara Dobie Bauer and IndiGo Marketing celebrate the release of Escaping Exile (The Escape Trilogy #1)! Learn more about the historical vampire romance and enter in the $10 NineStar Press credit giveaway!

Title: Escaping Exile
Series: The Escape Trilogy, Book One
Author: Sara Dobie Bauer
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: August 13, 2018
Heat Level: 3 - Some Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 21400
Genre: Paranormal, paranormal, historical, vampires, cannibals, gay, bisexual

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Andrew is a vampire from New Orleans, exiled to a tropical island in the 1800s as punishment for his human bloodlust. During a storm, a ship crashes off shore. After rescuing a sailor from the cannibals native to the land, Andrew becomes fascinated with his brilliant, beautiful new companion, Edmund.

Edmund is a British naturalist who has sailed the world seeking new species. Intrigued by creatures that might kill him, immortal Andrew is this scientist’s dream-but so is making his way back home. Edmund will fight to survive, even while wrapped in the arms of a monster.

As light touches and laughter turn to something much more passionate, the cannibals creep ever closer to Edmund. Can the ancient vampire keep his human alive long enough to escape exile and explore their newfound love, or will Andrew’s bloodlust seal his own doom?


Escaping Exile
Sara Dobie Bauer © 2018
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One
The crack as the hull breaks echoes across the beach, into the woods, and inside my head as I try to sleep. I was just beginning to dream of New Orleans. I almost smelled whiskey and muddy streets—almost. Instead, I jolt awake, still surrounded by the fresh flowery scent of this blasted tropical island in the middle of… Well, I don’t know really. That’s the point of exile.

I pull on a worn linen shirt. For the first few months here, I slept with my clothes on in case the cannibals came knocking. They never did. I think they knew this strange white man would make a disgusting meal. As if they could smell death on me. I wonder if eating my flesh could actually kill them. Wouldn’t mind offering a bite if only for some entertainment. I haven’t watched a human die in ages, but now, here we go: a shipwreck. There’s bound to be death in abundance tonight.

It’s not raining when I step outside my house. Yes, I have a small house on a tropical island in the middle of the ocean, overrun with cannibals and all manner of man-eating beasts. Michelle wasn’t that cruel when she sent me here. She did provide me with a home. Congratulations, you heartless bitch, you gave me a house in which to spend eternity alone.

I didn’t even mean to kill that last human back home in Louisiana.

Or maybe I did.

A leathery leaf to the face brings me back to the present as I stomp in tall boots through thick foliage. Despite the lack of rain now falling on my island, a flash of lightning illuminates the beach ahead long enough for me to see them—the natives who’ve managed to steal so many meals from me.

The irony would make me crack a smile if not for my ever-growing bitterness. I once considered capturing a cannibal, but then, they might come hunting me and I’m not half as strong as I once was. And I don’t think Michelle means to leave me here forever. I must wait out her overblown sense of justice.

From where I stand, sheltered behind a fence of palms, I see remnants of a great ship washing to shore. Thunder cracks as a man screams. My focus darts toward the dancing orange light of the native’s torches, and I see but outlines of their naked bodies as they tug and pull on a creature wrapped in white fabric. I squint and identify a man in his sleeping clothes. Dinner is served.

My gaze skims the beach, but it’s mostly detritus and dead men. Dead men are no good to me as their blood is most certainly not part of my unique diet. Oh, but then, there’s a scent on the wind. There is something alive nearby, and it’s bleeding. The smell of blood mixes with the salt of the sea and bitter stress-sweat.

I hone my senses to find the source of blood, but it’s been so long. Once a master, my hunting skills are now out of practice. I take a step back into the jungle and move to my right, away from the dancing torches and the man’s screams, and almost trip over a body. Out of practice is apparently a gross understatement as he was near me this whole time.

Unlike his soon to be devoured compatriot, this man is fully clothed in a coat and trousers. His hair is dark, and he wears black gloves. He’s but a shadow on the sand as I lift him and carry him farther into the woods.

Finally, a meal they won’t steal from me.

Safely inside my little house, I lay the man on the floor and poke at the fire until it roars like the thunder outside. Now, it rains. The ocean storm falls heavy, rocks on the roof, and an animal howls nearby, woken wet from its slumber.

I peel off his soaked clothes as the wound on his head continues to bleed. Unconscious, it’s a wonder he wasn’t pulled away by the current to die in the arms of some mythical mermaid. As I look at him in the firelight, I realize he is indeed a wonder. Perhaps it’s been too long since I’ve felt another man’s skin, but perhaps not. This injured sailor might be beautiful.

Looking at his hairless face, I would have guessed him barely a man. The thick muscles of his chest, arms, and legs dictate otherwise, as do the calluses on his hands. Not only is he a full-grown man, but he’s also a man who works hard. He is lean with hair the color of the ocean on a moonless night—and if I don’t stop his head bleeding, my curse of nothing but dead flesh could continue.

“Don’t die,” I say to him. It’s the first I’ve spoken to a human in ages.

I move him, naked and dry, to my bed and cover him in blankets before wetting a cloth and wiping his wound. It’s a sizeable gash high on his forehead. The dark creature inside me wrestles at the sight of his blood, but I woo it with promises of later, later.

I hold the rag to his head and realize I have no bandages. It’s not as though I need them. I’ll just have to sit here then. I perch on the side of my bed, and my thumb touches his bottom lip. Like a sunrise, this man is becoming more beautiful by the minute. I want to ravage him. I push the blankets away enough to run my hand over his chest. An angry scrape mars the pale skin, and I bet my guest will be covered in bruises by morning. The sea is not a gentle mistress. I know. I’ve tried to escape my exile by swimming out into white waves to no avail. The crushing currents always bring me back.

A log pops in the fire as the rain continues. My house now smells of smoke, mud, and him. I climb farther into the bed and recline at his side. I still hold the cloth to his head as I wrap him in my arms and run my nose up the side of his neck.

I think Michelle would be angry to see how happy I am.


NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Meet the Author

Sara Dobie Bauer is a bestselling author, model, and mental health / LGBTQ advocate with a creative writing degree from Ohio University. Twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize, she lives with her hottie husband and two precious pups in Northeast Ohio, although she’d really like to live in a Tim Burton film. She is author of the paranormal rom-com Bite Somebody series, among others sexy things.

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Review: Euphoria by Jayne Lockwood

It might take the arrival of an alien being to remind an isolated man what it means to be human.

With a stressful job, his boss breathing down his neck for profitable results, and an estranged wife and daughter, scientist Kurt Lomax doesn’t think life can get much harder. Until a nonbinary extraterrestrial with an otherworldly beauty, captivating elegance, and a wicked sense of humor inconveniently shows up at his apartment.

Vardam watched the destruction of their own world, and they don’t want to see the same thing happen on Earth. They are lonely, and feelings soon develop between them and the supposedly straight scientist—feelings Kurt reciprocates, much to his confusion.

The arrival of cheery interpreter Tom Soames—whose Goth appearance belies a gentle heart—is like a ray of sunshine in the somber lab. He acts as matchmaker for man and tentacled extraterrestrial, unwittingly instigating a national crisis when the news breaks out.

But will a misunderstanding ruin Kurt and Vardam’s chances for happiness together—along with the hope for peace between humanity and the Var?

4 Alien Loving Hearts!

A highly enjoyable sci-fi romp with all sorts to satisfy! This has time travel, aliens, a pending apocalypse, hurt comfort, mpreg, and nebulous tentacle shenanigans, all or some of which will surely interest many a reader!

The blurb is quite good at telling what’s what. Vardam is a peaceful, technologically advanced, non-binary alien who’s basically been traveling the galaxy in search of a new place for their peoples to inhabit since their home was destroyed by an asteroid. Their goal is to find a compatible planet and it just so happens to be Earth. However, there's a slight snag. The original inhabitants are on the brink of extinction, and Vardam, in their infinite capacity for appreciating all the complex facets of humanity, is willing to take a huge risk and leap of faith to travel back in time to try to stop the imminent demise of the human race.

Enter Kurt Lomax, a brilliant scientist whose abusive past has rendered him cold and unable to form meaningful relationships despite his desperate desire to do so. Unable to effectively connect and communicate with his estranged wife and daughter, he instead spends all his time and focus on helping his fellow man. This manifests as a twenty year long pursuit towards developing a vaccine that would fend off the virulent bacterium MRSA, in the hopes of preventing millions of difficult to treat infections. What Kurt doesn't know is that his creation will mutate in soon-to-start human trials, ultimately leading to the annihilation of animals and humans alike over the next two generations.

What ensues upon Vardam’s arrival to change the future was something I quite enjoyed. This is not exactly a straightforward sweeping romance focused solely on Vardam and Kurt. This also bridges medicine and science, corporate greed, and government oversight, all of which involves Kurt’s scientific team and how they deal with an intriguing powerful alien and the resulting fallout when the truth of their life’s work is revealed.

This boasts a great supporting cast to root for, a bad guy to really really hate, and another side romance to revel in. This is not erotica, but it is funny and touching and filled with some suspenseful action and harrowing situations. The best part of this was of course, Vardam and their unabashed honesty, their fascinating abilities, and their talent for thawing out a tortured Kurt to both figuratively and literally open himself up to the infinite possibilities of love. Lockwood nicely brings all of this to a great satisfying conclusion where of course, I wouldn’t say no to more stories in this awesome AU should she choose to create more!

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

Giveaway + Blog Tour: To See the Sun by Kelly Jensen

Let's help Kelly Jensen and Riptide Publishing celebrate the release of To See the Sun today! Find out more about this sci-fi romance and be sure to leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway for a $25 Riptide credit, swag AND a bracelet! Good luck!

About To See the Sun
Survival is hard enough in the outer colonies—what chance does love have?
Life can be harsh and lonely in the outer colonies, but miner-turned-farmer Abraham Bauer is living his dream, cultivating crops that will one day turn the unforgiving world of Alkirak into paradise. He wants more, though. A companion—someone quiet like him. Someone to share his days, his bed, and his heart.
Gael Sonnen has never seen the sky, let alone the sun. He’s spent his whole life locked in the undercity beneath Zhemosen, running from one desperate situation to another. For a chance to get out, he’ll do just about anything—even travel to the far end of the galaxy as a mail-order husband. But no plan of Gael’s has ever gone smoothly, and his new start on Alkirak is no exception. Things go wrong from the moment he steps off the shuttle.
Although Gael arrives with unexpected complications, Abraham is prepared to make their relationship work—until Gael’s past catches up with them, threatening Abraham’s livelihood, the freedom Gael gave everything for, and the love neither man ever hoped to find.

About Kelly Jensen
If aliens ever do land on Earth, Kelly will not be prepared, despite having read over a hundred stories about the apocalypse. Still, she will pack her precious books into a box and carry them with her as she strives to survive. It’s what bibliophiles do.
Kelly is the author of a number of novels, novellas, and short stories, including the Chaos Station series, cowritten with Jenn Burke. Some of what she writes is speculative in nature, but mostly it’s just about a guy losing his socks and/or burning dinner. Because life isn’t all conquering aliens and mountain peaks. Sometimes finding a happy ever after is all the adventure we need.
Connect with Kelly:

To celebrate the release of To See the Sun, Kelly is giving away a $25 Riptide credit and some swag stickers and a bracelet! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on August 18, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following along, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

Audiobook Review: Stand by Your Manny (The Mannies #3) by Amy Lane

Learning to trust and falling in love.

Sammy Lowell has his hands full juggling his music, college, some pesky health problems, and making the uncles who raised him proud. He needs help fulfilling his after-school duties with his siblings. Nobody can be in two places at once—not even Sammy!

An injury puts Cooper Hoskins in a tough spot—if he can’t work, the foster sister he’s raising can’t eat. But years in the foster system have left Cooper short on trust, and opening up to accept help isn’t easy.

Luckily, family intervenes—Cooper needs a job so he can care for Felicity, and Sammy needs someone who can see past his illness to the wonderful things he has planned for his life. Each heals the damaged places in the other’s heart. But falling in love is a big responsibility for young men deep in family already. Can the two of them get past their fear of the immediate future to see forever with each other?

Narrator: Peter B. Brooke
Listening Length: 6 hours, 1 minutes

Reviewer: Annika

You probably know by now that the books in the Dreamspun Desires line is mostly fluff and have that harlequin feel to them. Stand by Your Manny was no exception, but hey, I love my fluff so I don't mind that at all. You know what to expect when you pick these books up.

Cooper Hoskins works in construction. He's dirt poor and turns every penny to make ends meet so that he can take care of is foster sister Felicity. An accident at work puts him out of commission and in a tight spot to care for his small family.

Sammy Lowell wants to stand on his own two feet. Wants to work with music, tour with it, at the same time he's also taking care of his siblings. It's a stressful life for sure and his health is getting worse, and he knows in his heart he's not taking care of himself as much as he should have and he can't keep going in the pace he's set for himself. He needs to accept some help.

Their love story is a sweet one. It's not a hot and heavy one. But one of exploring, of discovery, first kisses, first touches and first times. Cooper and Sammy have so much in common, the deep caring for others, nurturing. The feel things deeply. The need for family. This book is all about family, the blood kind, but mostly the one you choses. Helping and loving each other through the ups and downs. It's a pure sweet and feel good romance.

Peter B. Brooke was an okay narrator. Not a great one, but okay. His narration felt a bit stilted a lot of the time and didn't quite have that natural flow of words. Adding pauses where there shouldn't have been. Which meant I spent a lot of the time focusing on his narration instead of the story he tried to convey. It wasn't an effortless listen, I really had to focus on it and that's not something I particularly enjoy with my audiobooks. I want to be immersed into the story, be a part of it, but Brooke didn't manage that. Another issue of mine, and that is a preference of mine, was that he added no real feeling to his narration. He was just reading the words in front of him, he felt detached and it made me feel detached from the story so I was never invested one way or another.

Stand by Your Manny was at the core a cute and fluffy read/listen. I would say that you should go for the printed version rather than the audio this time around, I think you'd enjoy that more.

A copy of this audiobook was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Audiobook Review: Sweet Nothings (Amuse Bouche #1) by T. Neilson

Will a bitter bite from the past spoil a sweet romance?

Tristan Love, the youngest of seven brothers, is back in his hometown. He’s left the New York food scene and an abusive relationship behind him, but he holds his love of French pastries close to his heart and is determined to put his skills to use in a bakery of his own.

Returning to his childhood home means his meddlesome brother Simon will butt into his business, but before the bakery even opens its doors, Tristan’s delectable creations have the town’s mouths watering, and Jake, a cute mechanic, asks Tristan out. It all seems worthwhile….

That is, until the bakery burns down, Jake’s criminal past comes to light, and Tristan’s nasty ex rears his head where he is decidedly not wanted.

Listening Length: 5 hrs and 49 mins
Narrator: Simon Ferrar 

Equal parts fluff and seriousness...

What I liked about this story was that it’s all about personal second chances. Tristan has been in a very toxic abusive relationship, and he gets the courage and motivation to leave it all behind. When he moves back home to open his own bakery, Tristan can finally take a breather and focus on himself for once. When he catches the interest of hunky Jake, who is trying to forge a new life as well, things definitely start to look up for both of them.

Jake and Tristan hit if off immediately. They are not without their challenges in starting a relationship. Jake has a shady past. Tristan has infuriating protective older brothers who love to be infuriating. Go ahead and add in a crazy ex boyfriend hell bent on revenge, and they might be doomed before they even really start.

Narrated by Simon Ferrar, this was my second listening experience from him, and I still have the same opinion. I enjoyed his performance except when it came to how he voiced one of the MC’s, which again, felt incongruent and was often distracting. Despite that, this was a good romance. Admittedly, there were several moments of disbelief that I just had to ignore regarding the ex’s evil machinations - who cares about plausibility right?? However, in the grand scheme of things, this was very nicely sexy, the relationship progression was equally sweet and enjoyable and thus, I deem this a win!

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

Release Blitz: Merrick the Art Thief by Michelle Woody

Merrick the Art Thief is out from JMS Books! Celebrate with author Michelle Woody and Signal Boost Promotions! Learn more about the romance today!

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | JMS Books

Length: 56,030 words 

Publisher: JMS Books


Brilliant art thief Merrick Davidson can steal anything, except Grant Silvan’s heart. Merrick has to keep Grant at arm’s length for fear of revealing his secret. When Merrick’s biggest rival exposes his secret to Grant, the rejected lover returns to win back his relationship with Merrick, but there are obstacles to overcome.

Wyatt Silvan, Grant’s father and Merrick’s employer, is after the famous seven Xanderclied paintings, which all contain clues to a treasure. If Merrick succeeds in obtaining all the paintings and find the treasure, he can retire as an art thief and start a normal, uncomplicated life with Grant.

Together, they hunt the paintings from art galleries to private collections, from city to city, dodging bullets and escaping from life threatening attacks. With danger all around and the FBI on their tails, will Wyatt and Merrick find the paintings and treasure they are looking for? Will Merrick realize love is the biggest treasure of it all, before it is too late?


Rhonda and Grant stood at the end of the hallway, looking around.

Merrick caught Rhonda’s gaze.

“There you are.” Rhonda approached him with Grant following.

“What’s wrong?”

“I don’t like this.” Rhonda leaned close. “I told him you two would look less suspicious with the family around.”

“Oh boy.” Merrick rubbed his chin as he glanced down the hall in hopes Wyatt would be there.

Wyatt’s voice came through the earpiece. “Honey, I can hear you.”

“Where are you?” Rhonda started toward the desk.

“We’ll look around. Bye.” Merrick removed his earpiece. “Let’s try the second floor.”

“Are they fighting?”


“I’ve never heard them fight.”

Merrick pursed his lips. “Let’s just look for the painting.”

They took the sprawling cream-colored marble stairs to the second floor. The landing branched out to their left and right, walls on both sides lined with framed paintings and photographs. They started down the hall to their right. Only three people moved past the works of art and didn’t seem to pay Merrick and Grant any attention.

Beside him, Grant fidgeted with his watch. He wanted to hold Grant’s hand, to enjoy the stroll through the museum. How nice it’d be if there was no stress or danger, only the feel of Grant’s soft hand, his arm resting against Merrick’s as they walked.

After they passed several paintings, Merrick grinned, bowed his head.


He glanced at the security cameras in the corners, then at Grant. “You’re distracting me.”

“I’m not doing anything.”

“You are.”

Grant smiled.

Merrick stared into Grant’s eyes for several breaths. The blue reminded him of the ocean; inviting and healing.

Grant lowered his voice. “Can my dad hear us?”

“Oh.” He looked at the earpiece in his hand. “Maybe.”

Grant nodded as he walked on.

Merrick fell into step beside him, forcing his attention to the art, even though he could feel Grant’s looks.

Grant moved closer so their arms touched. He wrapped his pinkie around Merrick’s, grinning as he turned his gaze away from Merrick.

The simple contact rushed through him. His fantasies of a life with Grant weren’t coming close to how wonderful it felt to really have him at his side.

Grant stopped them. “You’re blushing.”

“See? Distracting.”

Behind Grant, two sets of double doors led to a room where paintings in vivid colors of blues and reds flanked Xanderclied's Despair. He took Grant’s hand. “Let’s look in here.”

As they stepped through the doorway, Merrick studied the rectangular room. With the recent thefts of Xanderclied works, the upgraded security around Despair wasn’t surprising. A wire ran from the bottom of the canvas, probably attached to a motion-activated alarm. Cameras aimed down from each corner of the room. At the two doorways, nestled into the high ceiling, were roll cages, which Merrick presumed were set to drop once the motion alarm was triggered. It was daunting, but nothing they couldn’t handle. What troubled him was whatever trick Jordan had waiting for them.

Grant faced the door, sliding his arm through Merrick’s. “I’m so nervous.”

“Relax. Nothing is going to happen right now.”

Grant caught his breath. “I’ve seen that guy before.”

Merrick glanced at the doorway, finding it empty. “Who?”

A red-haired man with a bushy beard walked along the far side of the hall. Merrick had seen him before, too. He was the flirt from the Cunningham opening. Why was he there, today of all days? Was he a part of Jordan’s game?

Merrick gripped Grant’s hand as he slid his earpiece back into place. “Guys, we have a problem.”

Author Bio

Michelle Woody lives in Springfield, Missouri. Her other titles include Riley, winner of the 2010 National Indie Excellence Award for Gay/Lesbian Fiction, The Scarecrow's Kiss, and Figment of the Heart.

For more information, please visit

Hosted By Signal Boost Promotions

Cover Reveal: Rough Trade (The Woodbury Boys #3) by Sidney Bell

The Clubhouse is aflutter today because Sidney Bell has chosen us to reveal the cover of Rough Trade today right here!

A.K.A. GHOST'S BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!

Fans of the Woodbury Boys have been chomping at the bit for this one and the cover does not disappoint so with further ado... behold Ghost, uh rather, Rough Trade!


Quick-witted hustler Ghost is no stranger to living dangerously; survival has always been the name of the game.

He’s just always gone it alone.

Now he’s got the wrong people breathing down his neck, and the only way out demands placing his trust in the unlikeliest of heroes: Duncan Rook, a gruff cop whose ethics are as solid as his body.

Cozying up to a criminal is hardly what Duncan’s reputation on the force needs—especially when that criminal is temptation personified. Ghost is Duncan’s polar opposite, and the last person he expected to fall for.

So then why does every imaginable scenario for taking down their common enemy end with Ghost in his arms?

Rough Trade is set to release in ebook on December 3rd and You can pre-order it at these retailers:

Carina Press
Barnes & Noble
Google Play

If you've not experienced Sidney Bell's writing yet, get in the game! Her books are filled with complex and flawed characters who are trying to find love in this strange and beautiful world we live in. She's a master of writing gritty romance and Rough Trade, if you know anything about Ghost, will be another in a line of books that consume a reader.

  • Hard Line made it to the Lambda Literary recommended reads for April 2018.
  • Loose Cannon was praised by RT Book Reviews.
  • Bad Judgment is simply remarkable. Ask anyone.

Want to know more? Visit Sidney's website, and p.s., she welcomes questions!

You can also connect with Sidney via:


Add Rough Trade to your Goodreads TBR list here:

Release Blitz + Giveaway: Salt Magic, Skin Magic by Lee Welch

Celebrate the release of fantasy historical Salt Magic, Skin Magic with author Lee Welch and Signal Boost Promotions! Learn more from today's blitz and enter in the Salt Magic, Skin Magic eBook giveaway!

See our 4.5 Heart review HERE!

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Length: 78,000 words approx.


Lord Thornby has been trapped on his father’s isolated Yorkshire estate for a year. There are no bars or chains; he simply can’t leave. His sanity is starting to fray.

When industrial magician John Blake arrives to investigate a case of witchcraft, he finds the peculiar, arrogant Thornby as alarming as he is attractive. John soon finds himself caught up in a dark fairytale, where all the rules of magic—and love—are changed.

To set Thornby free, both men must face life-changing truths—and John must accept that the brave, witty man who’s winning his heart may also be about to break it. Can they escape a web of magic that’s as perilous as love?


“Magic, folklore, dark deeds, and hot romance combine in this wildly enjoyable, inventive story set in a lovely alt-Victorian Gothic world. More please!”

—KJ Charles, RITA™-nominated author of THE MAGPIE LORD and SPECTRED ISLE

"Salt Magic, Skin Magic by Lee Welch is the sort of book you want to read again the moment you reach the end. Beautifully written, with a romance that is by turns sweet and scorching, it belongs on the keeper shelf of any lover of paranormal historical."

—Jordan L. Hawk, author of the WHYBORNE AND GRIFFIN and HEXWORLD series


Thornby was walking along the moorland path, calm as you please, nose in the air, apparently admiring the autumn colours in the distant oaks in the park.

“Stop, Lord Thornby! I want to talk to you.”

Thornby walked faster, slight limp becoming more pronounced.

“Stop, I say!”

John felt in his pockets for his vials and pouches, then changed his mind and simply put on speed. He’d come to this remote part of the grounds in the hope of a rest. He’d not slept much last night with the walls of Raskelf muttering and whispering, and the antiquities from Egypt shrieking muffled curses from the other side of the corridor.

The thought of Thornby had kept him awake as well; so resistant to the Judas Voice—that had given John an unpleasant moment—and so unapproachable, with that aristocratic hauteur you could never breach. And so strange. Why did the man wear such peculiar clothes? Today it was tight black pantaloons and a high stock that would have been fashionable forty years ago. And over this bizarre Regency costume was a rusty black greatcoat with wide cuffs, and a tricorn hat that would have looked well in the previous century.

And, yes, Thornby was handsome—heart-stoppingly so—with arrogant grey eyes, a mane of brown hair that almost reached his collar, and a preposterous red mouth. He was tall and thin and carried himself like a fencer. There was, too, something whip-taut about him, some unbearable tension that made you feel he might lash out. Or suddenly kiss you. Thornby had looked John up and down when he was introduced, finally unbending so far as to give John a slight inclination of the head. And John’s mouth had gone as dry as if Thornby had extended one of those elegant white hands and given his balls a gentle squeeze.

It was tiresome, really. It made it so much harder to concentrate. He must make sure he didn’t allow his attraction to the man to cloud his judgement. Possibly Thornby was using a glamour spell. John couldn’t sense one, but sometimes by their very nature they were difficult to detect.

So, he mustn’t think about how good it would be to slide his fingers inside Thornby’s old black pantaloons, how good it would be to taste his lovely mouth, and wipe that damned snooty expression off his face. If John had been in London, he would have gone to one of the houses that catered to men of his taste, and tried to forget about it. Here in the middle of rural Yorkshire it was far too dangerous to approach anyone, and in any case, farm lads were not his type. He’d simply leave as soon as he could tell Catterall he’d done his best.

They walked in single file for perhaps five minutes. The path smelt of rotting leaves, and a biting wind began to make its presence felt as they crossed into an open piece of moorland. Splashes of muddy water were spotting the back of Thornby’s coat. John used the close proximity to feel for magic. Like last night at dinner, he could sense nothing emanating from Thornby. There was certainly no demon reek, so Thornby probably wasn’t a theurgist, or if he was, he was a very fastidious one.

But then Thornby didn’t feel like a materials man either, and John could generally recognise his own kind. So, how had Thornby broken those charms? Now John was closer, and had longer to concentrate on Thornby alone, he thought there might be something magical, at the very edge of his awareness, but he couldn’t put his finger on it. Most magicians used demons or materials, but there were other ways, so perhaps Thornby used some unfamiliar method.

John charged his ward stone, and put it back in his pocket. He patted his bag of salt and checked his Gelomorous twine and the demon trap, just in case. Whatever spells Thornby cared to throw at him, he was ready. In fact, he was almost looking forward to a fight.

They reached an open place a hundred yards from a small pine spinney. The dark trees were contorted sideways as if fleeing the icy wind. The sun, behind its grey pall of cloud, was beginning to set. Thornby suddenly stopped and swung around.

“Well, Mr Blake? I suppose you’d like to explain yourself?” Thornby’s chin was up, beautiful mouth curved in disdain.

Author Bio

Lee Welch wrote her first book aged seven (a pastiche of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe) and first had an idea for an m/m romance aged twelve. She loves books and comics, and when she’s not writing, she’ll probably be reading. Her favourite authors include Ursula Le Guin, Graham Greene, Linda Medley, Dylan Horrocks and KJ Charles. By day, Lee works as an editor and business communications adviser, mainly persuading people not to say ‘utilise’ when they mean ‘use’. Her job has led her to work in areas as diverse as mental health, nursing, accident prevention and the criminal justice sector.

Lee loves to hear from readers. You can find her at:

Twitter: @leewelchwriter


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Blog Tour: The Fox, The Dog and The King (The Cassie Tam Files #2) by Matt Doyle

Discover new NineStar Press lesbian science fiction, The Fox, the Dog, and the King (The Cassie Tame Files #2) with help from author Matt Doyle and Other Worlds Ink! Check out today's blog tour stop!

The Fox, the Dog and the King, by Matt Doyle

Matt Doyle has a new lesbian sci fi book out:

New Hopeland City may have been built to be the centerpiece of the technological age, but some remnants of the old world still linger. The tools of the trade have changed, but the corruption remains the same, even in the criminal underworld …

When PI Cassie Tam and her girlfriend Lori try to make up for their recent busy schedules with a night out at the theatre to watch the Tech Shift performer Kitsune, the last thing they expected was for Cassie to get a job offer. But some people are never off the clock, and by the end of the evening, Cassie has been drawn into a mundane but highly paid missing pet case. Unfortunately, in New Hopeland City, even something as simple as little lost dog can lead you down some dark paths.

Until now, Cassie wasn’t aware that there even was a rabbit hole, let alone how far down it goes.

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“I’m sorry, but did you want to get changed before we speak? We’d be happy to leave the room while you get ready. It must be hard work performing in both the TS gear and a kimono thick enough to house projectors without them moving out of line with each other, even if they are the smaller, lightweight models.”

“You don’t know the half of it,” Kitsune sighs. “There’s a wireless motion detection system in each hand too,” they add, waving two metallic, clawed paws. “You’ll note that my tails are missing. They don’t yet make multi-tailed suits, you see, and the number is important within the folklore, so we had to find other solutions. The projector tucked under the obi sash keeps the back open nicely, and it allows movement, both in animation and in the actual device, but it’s a bit stronger than the main ones.”

“Meaning that it’s heavier,” I reply.

“Indeed. The way the system works is identical to the tail guidance in regular suits though.”

I frown and Lori clarifies, “Regular Tech Shift gear uses two small wireless touchpads to control tails, one for the bottom half, and one for the top half. They’re embedded in the hand rest of Ink’s front legs. For hybrid-style gear, they usually sit inside the thumb of each hand. It’s the same concept in each one, but animal-style gear allows for bigger movements, while hybrid gear measures micro movements.”

“Which would be rather fiddly, given the level of movement that I require. These are built into the paw pads and are set to register larger movements so that the tails can move in time with the different dance routines and my more flamboyant gestures,” Kitsune explains, demonstrating one of the hand flourishes from the show. They pause then and chuckle. “Ah, but I’m rambling. I am afraid that changing is, contractually speaking, impossible. Will my appearance be a problem?”

“No, I’m used to Tech Shifters…”

Lori laughs and cuts in with, “You are sonot used to us yet.”

I laugh quietly, despite myself. The miserable old loner that still lives in my head says I should be angry about that; I’m working after all. But the part of me that was enjoying the evening is far more prominent and reminds me that this was supposed to be Lori’s evening too. I can allow her a small jab or two on that basis. “My early experiences with Tech Shifters were notpositive,” I say, addressing Kitsune. “I’m getting better, though. What do you mean by ‘contractually speaking,’ if you don’t mind me asking?”

“Not at all. It is essentially as it sounds. The Kitsune brand is a joint venture between myself and Kevin, and there is a lot of paperwork involved dealing with how the whole thing is to be played out in every mundane situation that you could imagine. What it means is that I can boss Kevin about and make him my dogsbody as much as is required, but at the same time, I must respect his rather brilliant marketing strategies. Part of that means that the mystery of the Kitsune’s true identity is to be protected at all times. As such, I do not meet with anyone without my professionalface on. It seems a little strange, I know, but he was previously a historian of certain old-world sporting brands by trade and thought that applying a degree of what he called kayfabewould help give the whole thing a new edge. I can’t say that he was wrong.”

“So, are you Kitsune when you’re around family too?” Lori asks. “Or partners?”

“Oh, I have no time for partners, not with mytouring schedule. With family, I can be myself, though Kevin did insist upon them signing a gagging order to prevent them from revealing my identity to anyone who hadn’t signed a similar contract. You should have seen my mother’s face when he brought that up. I honestly thought that the rolling pin she was holding was going to be put to nefarious use. Outside Kevin, even my oldest friends do not know who resides beneath the mask.”

“That must be hard to maintain,” I say.

“Oh yes, I have cover stories and everything. It’s somewhat akin to witness protection if television is to be believed. As far as most know, I am simply a touring stagehand for the great performing fox spirit.”

I nod. “Kitsune, as pleasant as this is, I assume there was a reason that you wanted to see me?”

“Oh yes, of course. I saw the news coverage of your recent success with that Gary Locke character,” they say, and Lori flinches slightly. “As far as local detectives go, there are plenty of them about, but you are certainly the most well regarded. I have actually been in town for a week now, and I am due to remain here for a further two. I am afraid that, over that initial period, I was subject to a crime of the nature I am led to believe the police do not take overly seriously.”

“The police wouldn’t be happy about not knowing your identity, regardless of the crime. If it’s one that they won’t usually touch, that doesn’t leave many possibilities. What are we talking about?”

“It is rather lonely on the road,” they sigh wistfully. “A few months ago, we stopped in Toledo, and I was awoken from a post-performance nap by a clattering outside the tour bus. I wandered out, expecting to find a fan or two hunting autographs, and instead found this charming little thing skulking around the bins. I named him Fish.”

Kitsune produces a phone from their kimono, loads up a photo, and passes it over. It shows a snow white American Shepherd dog sitting on one of the tour bus seats and giving the camera a suspicious look. It’s too big to be a puppy, but certainly not big enough to be fully grown.

“You named your dog Fish?”

“It seems strange, doesn’t it?” Kitsune laughs. “There’s a reason, though.” They take the phone back and enlarge the picture, revealing that the dog’s tail is about half the length it should be. It was easy to miss at normal size because the single colouring made it seem like it was tucked under its legs. “When I was young, my parents had some rosetail betta fish. One of them was pure white, and it had a habit of nibbling through its tail fin. When we took Fish to the vet, they said that the tail damage, judging by the angle of the marks, was likely self-inflicted. I couldn’t remember what my parents called the fish, so I just stuck with Fish.”

I nod. “And I assume that Fish is now missing?”

“I am afraid so. It happened yesterday, during the early hours. I was woken by a loud bang and found that Fish was gone, and the tour bus door was open.”

“Could Fish have run away?”

“It would have been difficult for him to open the door, but not impossible. I don’t think that he would have run, though. We were lifelines for each other, you see. He kept me company during the day, and when he had nightmares, I comforted him. If he was spooked, he would usually run and hide near my bed. I heard something else too, a van door being slammed shut maybe? And then an engine.”

“So you’re thinking that he was stolen.”

“Honestly? I don’t know. Do you think that you could take the case? How much would it cost?”

Author Bio

Matt Doyle lives in the South East of England and shares his home with a wide variety of people and animals, as well as a fine selection of teas. He has spent his life chasing dreams, a habit which has seen him gain success in a great number of fields. To date, this has included spending ten years as a professional wrestler, completing a range of cosplay projects, and publishing multiple works of fiction.

These days, Matt can be found working on far too many novels at once, blogging about anime, comics, and games, and plotting and planning what other things he’ll be doing to take up what little free time he has.

Review: Aftershock (Ever After #2) by Tanya Chris

Being acquitted of Jamie’s murder won’t bring him back. Syed might be free, but he’s lost his lover and his sub, along with his sense of control, his libido, his friends, and the stomach to inflict the kind of pain Jamie thrived on. Even his high-rise apartment doesn’t suit him anymore.

Dashiell is drawn to the handsome man he represented in court, but he’s promised himself never to get involved with another confident playboy. His next boyfriend—if he can find such a thing—will see him as something more than a backup plan for a better offer. And how could he ever give a man like Syed what he wants anyway?

Dashiell fears the day Syed will ask him to bear more pain than he can handle as Syed struggles to reconcile how he’s coming to feel about Dashiell with how he still feels about Jamie. Can their fledgling relationship survive the discovery that Syed’s new sub might be representing the man who murdered his last sub?

Jamie deserves justice, Dashiell deserves love, and Syed wants to be the one to give both these men exactly what they need.

Content warning: this book includes descriptions of homophobic hate crimes. There is very mild BDSM content.

Aftershock could potentially be read as a stand alone but I wouldn't recommend it since characters from Aftercare make appearances and parts of the story carries over.

At its heart this story, and this series, is about rebuilding oneself in the wake of loss and one I've thoroughly enjoyed. Syed and Dashiell's romance is quieter in ways than Aayan and Garrett's was; it didn't feel as frenzied. But it was no less moving.

Syed is still reeling from Jaime's murder. He was shunned by friends due to the circumstances of his murder and Jaime's family for their shared proclivities. His brother has found the love of his life and he's never had the best relationship with his parents due to his being gay.

In the face of all this upheaval and without Jaime he struggles to define himself.

Dashiell was a member of his legal team and has a crush on Syed. Dashiell also has some baggage of his own in the form of a wretched ex. Dashiell's self-image and self-worth took a beating from that douche-mcgouche making him primed for some TLC.

They start off slow. Dating. Getting to know each other with a simmering attraction between them that slowly gains steam.

I really have to tip my hat to Tanya Chris for the panache she's demonstrated in depicting the characters in this series and their struggle to not only rebound but make sense of their feelings. This trope can be hit or miss for me if enough gravitas isn't given to the lost love. I have a tendency to lose interest in the narrative when the previous relationship is minimized. Tanya Chris has taken the time to show how much Syed and Garrett have grappled with their feelings.

Their relationship feels organic in the way it evolved. I love that they build something together that is wholly different from what Syed had with Jaime. Jaime was a masochistic sub and Syed met his needs. Dashiell is submissive who wants to serve and please. One would think there would be a hole where Syed's sadistic needs weren't being fulfilled but Syed is primarily a dominant who can't seem to stomach impact play subsequent to Jaime's death. He has always derived the most pleasure and satisfaction from D/s. So, if you're expecting loads of kink, this might be a miss for you. There is D/s that Dashiell is new to, so no high protocol stuff and one bondage scene. I love lots of kink especially impact play but this level suits them and that gave me warm fuzzies.

Syed will always love Jaime but he can love Dashiell too. He can and does make a new start. From redecorating the apartment to realizing Dashiell needed him to call directly rather than using Bhupati and multiple other ways he deliberately changes and adjusts to accommodate Dashiell and the new version of Syed that's learned from past mistakes, is wiser and maybe a little braver than he once was.

Aftershock has quite a bit of legal eagling, maybe not as much as Aftercare but be forewarned anyhow. Also, mind the trigger for homophobic hate crimes! Dashiell's client is... challenging. Honestly, I kept trying to hate him but I wound up mostly feeling sorry for him and hoping he finds his way. Actually... *sheepish duck/shrug thing* I wouldn't be averse to reading Casey's story. Or Bhupati! I loved him. Or both! #greedy

Recommend to fans of contemporary romance who like a little hurt/comfort with a smidge of kink and a slowish burn.

An ARC was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.