Review: Quenched in Blood (Asheville Arcana #3) by Ari McKay

Will love mean rebirth… or death?

Vampire Julian Schaden has been warning the Asheville Paranormal Council of an impending demonic incursion for more than two decades. Over the past two years, he and his friends have fought as hard as they can with little help, since Micah Carter, the demon hunter who should have led them, shirked his responsibility and then perished.

Desperate for anything that might aid the fight, Julian enters the Carter property and finds something he never dared hope for: young Thomas Carter, the heir to a long line of demon hunters.

Thomas knows nothing about the supernatural world. But the prospect of a real life, outside the sheltered, isolated farm where he grew up, calls to him, and the idea of fighting the Unholy feels right.

Julian agrees to train Thomas even as he struggles against an unexpected, unwanted attraction. Thomas is too young and innocent to get involved with Julian, but opposites attract, and this is one battle Julian seems fated to lose. A prophecy from a dying mage comes with a bleak warning: the upcoming battle will claim Thomas’s life. To keep his home and friends safe, Julian may have to sacrifice the only love he’s ever known.


I just want to say that I enjoyed this entire trilogy as it brought some nice twists to a community of supernaturals confronted with some very terrible evil and how they deal with such conflict while still finding love in the process!

This 3rd and final book focuses on vamp Julian, who’s made it his life mission to hunt demons. When he finds out that the local demon hunter (who was killed in the last book) has been secreting away a grandson who knows nothing of his heritage, Julian’s at once appalled but also relieved to have found such a potential powerful ally to help in the current fight against a seriously scary foe.

In turn, Thomas takes things in stride. He’s surprised about how life has been flipped upside down but what a wonderful discovery to realize he has a greater destiny and responsibility than just being a humble farmer. As Thomas learns his trade and gains more experience through Julian’s training, he obviously falls in love while shit gets real as the enemy closes in.

This had a sweet romance, and fans of virgins will certainly enjoy this. Of note, I personally felt this fell just a bit short through really no fault from Julian and Thomas. Their progression was plausible and reasonable but perhaps the lack of a mate bond set them apart from the other two couples in this series, and such a prolonged buildup in defeating the ultimate baddie was a tad anticlimactic regarding the conclusion.

However, be reassured that this was plenty sexy, with a good dash of gory violence, and neatly tied up the main story arc. Seeing as how Whimsy and Harlan from Forged in Fire were my favorites, Julian and Thomas also unfortunately had a tough act to follow, and it was an upward climb from the start.

Regardless, this was an overall enjoyable paranormal series that consistently delivered on all fronts!


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




Anniversary Shenanigans: Felice Stevens Giveaway!


Party bag is getting stuffed? Don't worry there's plenty more prizes! Author Felice Stevens joins the unicorn jamboree and she wants to fill someone's party bag today. You can win an eBook copy of James from the popular Man Up series. Check out the author's inspiration about the series too!


It's time to travel with James and Malcolm through their twenty year history as they battle each other and struggle to hold on to a lifetime of secrets.
James
Never good enough.
Not the real son.
I will prove him wrong—prove everyone wrong.
I am someone.
I will succeed.
I don’t need my brother to help me.
I don't need anyone.
My enemy holds my secret.
He teases me.
Taunts me.
Follows me with his eyes.
Our hot, angry kisses keep me up at night.
I don’t want him.
I hate him.
But I can’t stop thinking about him.
That there's more to him
I want to discover him.
The truth is unexpected.
My enemy might not only be my friend but the love I never thought to have.

Malcolm
Live, love, laugh.
Life is too short to worry when you don’t know how long you’ve got.
I want every day to be my best.
Like it’s my last.
My friends see what I let them.
Not the real me.
Only one man has ever crawled beneath my skin.
He drives me crazy.
Makes me wild.
Makes me care.
A night of bad decisions changes the course of my life.
Everything I've known no longer makes sense.
My enemy now stands by my side.
I’m no longer running.
I want to stay.
I want a future.
Hate has changed to something new and wonderful.
Something terrifying.
Uncontrollable.
Love.


Win an eBook copy of James from Felice Stevens!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The giveaway is open until 12:00AM (EST) 11/26/18. Shortly thereafter, we will contact a winner!

Please respond to the winning notification within 48 hours or we will choose another winner. Good luck!

Don't miss entering in our month long unicorn giveaway HERE! It ends 12/1/18!

Release Blitz + Giveaway: Mr. Winterbourne's Christmas by Joanna Chambers


Joanna Chambers and Signal Boost Promotions celebrate the Christmas romance release, Mr. Winterbourne's Christmas! Check out today's blitz and enter in the giveaway for a chance to win a back list eBook from the author!





Length: 30,000 words approx.

Cover Design: Natasha Snow

Winterbourne Series

Volume #1 - Introducing Mr. Winterbourne - CURRENTLY FREE - Amazon US | Amazon UK

Blurb

Lysander Winterbourne has been living happily at Edgeley Park for the last eighteen months. By day he is Adam Freeman's estate manager, by night, his lover...but Adam never speaks of his feelings and Lysander has no idea whether their relationship is any more than a convenient arrangement for Adam.

When the two men are invited to Winterbourne Abbey for a family Christmas, matters quickly come to a head. Snowed in at the Abbey with a house full of guests, Lysander has to face up to shocking revelations, long-held secrets and a choice he never expected to have to make...





Author Bio


Joanna Chambers always wanted to write. She spent over 20 years staring at blank sheets of paper and despairing of ever writing a single word. In between staring at blank sheets of paper, she studied law, met her husband and had two children. Whilst nursing her first child, she rediscovered her love of romance and found her muse. Joanna lives in Scotland with her family and finds time to write by eschewing sleep and popular culture.






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Anniversary Shenanigans: Author Visit + Giveaway - Jane Davitt (NSFW)


We have a special treat today: Jane Davitt! She came out of semi-retirement to write a fic for the shenanigans! It's sure to get your motor running too!



Mixed Messages
By Jane Davitt

I like to make sure there's no mistake about who's in charge so I tell him I'll be the one fucking him, not the other way around, before he pours me a beer. He raises his eyebrows, then shrugs.

"Fine."

Maybe I'd come on a bit strong there. I was happy to be the piece of rough this New York lawyer had brought back to his place for some no-strings sex, but I didn't need to scrape the smile off his face by being rude.

"Sorry. It doesn't work for me otherwise."

He hands me his beer, then splashes a finger of whiskey into a glass, the crystal all sparkles in the soft light of the city, streaming in through the huge windows. "Not a problem. I like controlling men." Huh. Okay then. I don't think of myself as controlling, but, fine. "I have a…request of my own though. I pick the position."

I nod. On his knees, ass up or on his back, legs up; I don't care as long as I get to nail him. He's as polished and bright as the glass, and I want to strip him out of designer and dress him in sweat.

Thirty minutes later, I'm naked in an armchair with him sinking down slowly onto my cock and somewhere, somehow, I'm not calling any shots, only his name, over and over, begging, grinding my ass against leather, hands trapped by his request, but it isn't is it, it's an order and he's gotten me so turned on, desperate for release, that I'm obeying him without a flicker of rebellion.

"That's it," he murmurs, taking me an inch deeper. "Good boy. Hold still, yes, perfect. I'm going to kiss you now, a reward for being so obedient."

The kiss comes with teeth and my nipple throbs, bitten hot. I moan, head angled to watch him, memorising him in case this is the only night I get.

Or will he keep me? Polish me into something as hard and brilliant as he is?

He comes with a groan, marking my flesh, but keeps me waiting for my climax until I've begged nicely.

He didn't lie. He likes controlling men. And he's proving it with every whimper he gets from me, every helpless, desperate word.

I want more, but something tells me to get it I'll need to be on my knees when I ask.

I can do that.

Anyone else need a drink or maybe a cig? We unicorns thank Jane for raising the temperature of the clubhouse and making our 5th memorable!

About the Author:

I'm English by birth, but I moved to Canada twenty years ago, so I have two places I call home. I started writing in my thirties, hammering out millions of words of fanfic with a growing sense that yes, this was something I could do, wanted to do, needed to do.

A decade ago, I became a professional writer of m/m romance and I've never regretted my choice of career. Back then, telling people what I wrote got me raised eyebrows or puzzled looks. Times have changed. Now m/m romance is thriving and I'm happy to be one of the many writers contributing to this always evolving and expanding genre.

[Free reads and my fanfic are here:
Jane Davitt at AO3]

Find her:

Website: http://www.janedavitt.com
Twitter: @janedavitt
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jane.davitt.1




Enter to win a DSP audiobook! Your choice! The giveaway is open until 12:00AM (EST) 11/26/18. Shortly thereafter, we will contact a winner!

Please respond to the winning notification within 48 hours or we will choose another winner. Good luck!

Don't miss entering in our month long unicorn giveaway HERE! It ends 12/1/18!

Review: The Omega Objection (San Andreas Shifters #2) by G.L. Carriger

Can a gentle giant with a trampled heart show a man who’s been running all his life that sometimes there are monsters worth running towards?

A werewolf walks into a bar.

Tank is working as a bouncer when he notices something odd about the new sexy-as-sin bartender. He’s odorless, he’s amazingly popular with shifters, and he’s terrified.

A man without a smell.

Isaac is trying to escape his past. He hides in San Francisco because everyone knows that there are no werewolves in the Bay Area.

Until one walks into his bar.

Can Tank figure out Isaac’s secrets in time to save him? And can Isaac forgive Tank for being a wolf in time to learn how to love?

New York Times best selling author Gail Carriger (writing as G.L. Carriger) brings you the next in her charming gay werewolves series.

The San Andreas Shifter books stand alone and do not have to be read in any particular order. But if you're a stickler this book is preceded by Bryan & Max's story, The Sumage Solution.

Delicate Sensibilities?

This book contains M/M sexy times, mild themes of dominance and submission, and horrible puns. If you get offended easily, then you probably will. San Andreas Shifter stories contain bad language, dirty deeds, and outright admiration for the San Francisco Bay Area. Not the faint of heart/mouth/tongue.


This pack's got charisma!

It took but a few short pages for me to become smitten all over again with the San Andreas pack. Carriger's way with dialogue makes these shifters unbearably charming; it's snappy, accessible and on the right side of slangy.

It's also funny.


This pack is, ostensibly, a pack full of misfits. Though I have to say, if this is what misfitdom looks like, SIGN ME UP! They all have distinct personalities that sometimes clash and they have banded together in an abandoned old mansion on the outskirts of San Francisco and are slowly expanding their family while strengthening their pack. What's more, they all seem to like each other and have fun together.

In this instance, (in case the title didn't give it away) they add an Omega: Isaac. Isaac has been on the run for a long time. His reasoning for doing so is understandable. He's taken to being a bit skittish when around wolves. Once he meets Tank everything in him tells him to skedattle but he's kind of dug in at his little bar with his friends and co-workers and Tank is such a yummy man mountain. When the baddies from his past start bearing down it's harder than ever to make himself hit the road.


I ❤️ me a size difference and I really like it when the big guy is a gentle giant and Tank is. Tank is very cognizant of his size and how intimidating it can be for others. There were so many endearing moments between he and Isaac; it's almost like they have a sixth sense about one another which worked towards convincing me their bond went beyond chemistry or kismet. Plus, Tank is adorable! When he started word vomitting about the barbecue... no way could anyone resist him.

Tank loves his pack. It's clear in his enthusiasm about them and his actions towards them. More than anything else he wants to be useful. He carries a significant amount of shame about this and persistently minimizes his worth which made me want to squeeze him even though I didn't really understand where it came from.

What I liked best about Isaac was his ability to read Tank and keeping up a fairly constant barrage of positive regard which went a long way towards showing Tank how essential he was not just to him but to his pack.

This installment ticked a lot of boxes for me: kinky, submissive big guy, big guy bottoming, possessiveness and mineing, smaller top, did I mention it was kinky? Not super #TeamPain kinky, just D/s and some orgasm denial with a smidge of begging. It'll do in a pinch.


They are into each other and quickly get on the same page. The catchphrase 'resistance is futile' ain't just for space aliens anymore, ya hear? I like a slow burn as much as the next but sometimes... why wait? They don't. And I dug it. Muchly.

The pack dynamics are hilarious with Marvin and his throw pillows, Max with his acerbic wit and Alec with his quiet strength and compassion. Isaac's friends from the bar add to the fun as well and some new and interesting shifters were introduced that I'm hoping will continue to make appearances as the series progresses.


The Omega Objection was a sweet, sexy, low angst read that's entertaining and balances the line between romance and action well about a man who finally finds his place among a bunch of so called misfits and another man who finally understands his worth among a bunch of misfits; it was exactly what the doctor ordered. Carriger has created a world that's uniquely her own in the shifter-verse that I thoroughly enjoy visiting and can't wait to see what comes next.


A review copy was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Anniversary Shenanigans: Author Visit + Giveaway - E.J. Russell


Welcome author E.J. Russell who's joining in the fun with an excerpt from her upcoming novel, Vampire With Benefits (Supernatural Selection, #2)! She's also offering an ebook giveaway too!

Happy blogoversary, Boy Meets Boy Reviews! I’m so pleased to be here to help you celebrate! My contribution to the anniversary bash is an ebook copy of The Druid Next Door, the second in my Fae Out of Water trilogy (part of my Mythmatched universe).
My next Mythmatched book, Vampire With Benefits (second in the Supernatural Selection trilogy), releases on November 26th. A couple of the characters from Druid make significant guest appearances in Vampire. In fact, the excerpt below takes place just before Rusty, an inactive beaver shifter, and vampire Casimir, his temporary husband, suddenly find it necessary to consult a druid—stat.



Rusty stormed out of the club, but he must have gotten turned around in the ballroom, because he wasn’t in the parking lot. He was at the top of a wide swath of manicured lawn that sloped down to the street. He let his momentum carry him down, even though it was the wrong direction to reclaim his truck and get the hell out of Portland.
He needed to be back in Eugene tomorrow anyway, to get started on the lake house repairs, and the last thing he wanted right now was to be anywhere near Casimir Moreau. Would it have killed him to have given Rusty a clue about what they’d be facing? Gaia, if Rusty wanted to be sneered at and shunned, he could have just stayed home.
“Rusty.” Casimir’s voice nearly got lost in the windy dark. “Wait up.”
“Why?” Rusty called, not stopping. “So you can maybe stick an apple in my mouth and lay me out on the buffet table? Oh wait. There isn’t a buffet because none of you eat. Maybe you want me to tap dance. Do a magic trick. Tell a few jokes so your high-toned friends have something to really laugh at, or so when they do laugh I can pretend they’re doing it because of my wit and charm and not at my expense.”
Casimir was suddenly right next to him. “That’s not what this was about.”
“No? Could have fooled me.” He smacked his forehead. “Oh wait. You did fool me. Or rather made a fool of me. I mean, I know we only got married for the shock value.” I just didn’t think I’d be the one getting shocked. “But what exactly were you trying to prove in there?”
Casimir peered up at him, meeting his gaze squarely, his eyes gone muddy yellow in the light of the retro streetlamps. “That I have a right to manage my own life. That the council has no right to deprive me of choice.”
“Oh, so that Henryk guy was right. I was just a way for you to thumb your nose at the council. Make everyone gasp in horror at just how far you’d go to tell them to fuck themselves.”
Casimir had the grace to look ashamed, his gaze falling to the middle of Rusty’s chest. “I’m sorry. I admit that I was thinking more about the effect you’d have on them than the effect they’d have on you.”
Effect. That was a good word for it. Like a flashback to every party he’d ever been to from puberty on, once it was clear he’d never shift. “You could have at least warned me that it was a black tie event.”
“White tie, actually.”
Not the fucking point!” Rusty swung at a No Parking sign at the curb, connecting with a satisfying clang, but his hand caught on a jagged edge and pain lanced through his palm. “Shit.”
“Are you okay? Let me see.”
“It’s all right.” Rusty dug in his pocket with his other hand. Double shit. No handkerchief. He always carried a handkerchief, but he’d been in such a hurry to change into his new clothes. Pretty funny that I thought I looked so damn good. Compared to the vampires in their red carpet–worthy duds, Rusty looked like the accountant brought in to count the votes at the Oscars. No, they wear tuxes too. The accountant’s second-tier mailroom clerk, then. No help for it. Unless he wanted to keep bleeding all the way back to Eugene, he needed to sacrifice his new shirt. He tugged his shirt tail out.
Casimir gripped his forearm. “What are you doing?”
“I need to stanch the blood, and I don’t have a handkerchief. Shirt will have to do.”
“Will you please let me see it? Stop being so stubborn.”
Rusty heaved an irritated sigh. “Fine.” He held up his palm, and blood trickled down his wrist onto his cuff. “There. Happy now?”
“You are such a—” Casimir grabbed Rusty’s wrist, and before Rusty could figure out what was happening, he licked from Rusty’s wrist to palm, finishing with a little extra suck against the cut.
Rusty jerked his hand back, but he couldn’t break Casimir’s iron grip. Talk about effects. Casimir’s tongue on his skin, the suction as he pulled against Rusty’s wound . . . “What the fuck?”
“Vampire saliva has a coagulant. I—” His eyelids fluttered and his knees started to buckle.
Rusty grabbed Casimir’s shoulders, steadying him. “Shit, Casimir. I’m a shifter. My blood is poison to you.”
Casimir wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. “I . . . forgot.”
“You forgot? What’s wrong with you? Wasn’t your death wish satisfied by actually, you know, dying?”
“Sorry. But you don’t smell like a shifter.” Casimir blinked at him in the amber glow of the streetlight. “I—” He licked his lips. “Is poison supposed to taste this good?” He wobbled, and Rusty caught him around the waist as his knees gave out.
“When I said I wanted to kill you, I didn’t really mean it. What happens? When a vampire bites a shifter?”
“I don’t know.”
“Well, find out. If we have to pump your stomach, or force a bezoar down your throat, or whatever, it would be good to know, don’t you think?” Was there a vampire equivalent of an EpiPen? “Fuck. This is not what I need tonight.” He glanced around wildly, searching for help, but the damn street was deserted. He wrestled his phone out of his pocket while supporting Casimir against his hip. Could the SMTs get here in time? How long would it take for Casimir to die? Or die again.

(Buy links for other sites aren’t usually up until much closer to release.)

About E.J.
E.J. Russell—grace, mother of three, recovering actor—holds a BA and an MFA in theater, so naturally she’s spent the last three decades as a financial manager, database designer, and business intelligence consultant (as one does). She’s recently abandoned data wrangling, however, and spends her days wrestling words. Her paranormal romantic comedy, The Druid Next Door, was a 2018 RITA® finalist and the winner of the 2017 Rainbow Award for Best Gay Fantasy Romance.
E.J. is married to Curmudgeonly Husband, a man who cares even less about sports than she does. Luckily, CH loves to cook, or all three of their children (Lovely Daughter and Darling Sons A and B) would have survived on nothing but Cheerios, beef jerky, and satsuma mandarins (the extent of E.J.’s culinary skill set).
E.J. lives in rural Oregon, enjoys visits from her wonderful adult children, and indulges in good books, red wine, and the occasional hyperbole.

Connect with E.J.
Facebook group (Reality Optional): https://www.facebook.com/groups/reality.optional
Website: ejrussell.com
Facebook author page: facebook.com/E.J.Russell.author
 Twitter at twitter.com/ej_russell

Our thanks to E.J. for helping us celebrate 5 years of unicorning!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Enter to win an ecopy of The Druid Next Door. The giveaway is open until 12:00AM (EST) 11/25/18. Shortly thereafter, we will contact a winner!

Please respond to the winning notification within 48 hours or we will choose another winner. Good luck!

Don't miss entering in our month long unicorn giveaway HERE! It ends 12/1/18!

Anniversary Shenanigans: Author Visit + Giveaway - Antonia Aquilante


Antonia Aquilante joins the shenanigans today with a fantasy fic that's bound to make you swoon with delight!

Moonlight on Wings
by
Antonia Aquilante


He was beautiful. He seemed etched out of moonlight and darkness as he stood at the open window. The silvery light played over the planes of his bare chest, the finely drawn lines of his profile. The shadow warred with the light, leaving his normally bright copper hair shades darker. His wings flared behind him, deceptively delicate like gossamer or glass but strong enough to lift him in flight, to carry him high in the air.
The contrast was the same for him as a whole. His beauty could stop anyone dead—it had utterly dazzled Crispin—but it was his strength that had Crispin tumbling into love. His strength, and his utter lack of awe at Crispin’s title.
Crispin watched from the bed as Tarquin stretched, seemed poised to move. “Are you going out?” he whispered.
He worried when Tarquin went flying alone at night, but Crispin wouldn’t hamper his freedom any more than he was forced to. Tarquin hadn’t been born to the restrictions of life in a royal palace; he’d only fallen in love with a prince. And every day, Crispin could only be grateful he had and had chosen Crispin.
Tarquin turned to him, his lovely features thrown into shadow in the moonlit room. “I thought you were asleep.”
“I was, but then you weren’t here.”
Something in Tarquin’s posture softened. He left the window and came to the bed, stripping off his thin pants, the only thing he wore, as he did. “I was going to, but I think I’ll stay here.”
Relief washed through Crispin, followed immediately by guilt. “I don’t want to hold you here. You should go if you want to.”
“You do.” There was a smile in Tarquin’s voice. “But I know you won’t. I said I changed my mind anyway.”
He lifted the light cover and slid beneath it, pressing himself to Crispin, his skin cool against Crispin’s. “I assume you don’t have any objections?”
“To having you with me? Never.” His heart swelled with love at the knowledge that this man had chosen to stay with him, not only tonight but for the rest of their lives.
“Good.” Tarquin brushed his lips over Crispin’s. Once, twice, before Crispin growled and pulled him in for a deeper kiss. Tarquin’s delighted laugh turned into a moan, and Crispin set about doing his best to make Tarquin fly in an entirely different manner.




We unicorns thank Antonia for helping us celebrate 5 years of quirky blogging and helping to make our anniversary special.

About the Author

Antonia Aquilante has been making up stories for as long as she can remember, and at the age of twelve, decided she would be a writer when she grew up. After many years and a few career detours, she has returned to that original plan. Her stories have changed over the years, but one thing has remained consistent—they all end in happily ever after.

She has a fondness for travel (and a long list of places she wants to visit and revisit), taking photos, family history, fabulous shoes, baking treats (which she shares with friends and family), and of course, reading. She usually has at least two books started at once and never goes anywhere without her Kindle. Though she is a convert to e-books, she still loves paper books the best, and there are a couple thousand of them residing in her home with her.

Born and raised in New Jersey, Antonia is living there again after years in Washington, DC and North Carolina for school and work. She enjoys being back in the Garden State but admits to being tempted every so often to run away from home and live in Italy.



Thanks to Dreamspinner Press, you could win your choice of audiobook from the publisher!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


The giveaway is open until 12:00AM (EST) 11/25/18. Shortly thereafter, we will contact a winner!

Please respond to the winning notification within 48 hours or we will choose another winner. Good luck!

Don't miss entering in our month long unicorn giveaway HERE! It ends 12/1/18!

Giveaway + Audio Release Blitz: Leaning Into A Wish (Leaning Into #5) by Lane Hayes


Celebrate the release of Leaning Into A Wish with author Lane Hayes and Indigo Promotions. Learn more about this holiday romance and enter in the giveaway to win a $20 Amazon gift card! Good luck!


Title: Leaning Into a Wish
Series: Leaning Into #5
Author: Lane Hayes
Publisher: Lane Hayes
Original Release Date: November 22, 2017
Heat Level: 4 - Lots of Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 3 Hours, 29 Minutes
Genre: Romance, Holiday, Bisexual, Humor, Winery, Working Relationship

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

Ryan Haskell loves everything about the wine business. He's fortunate to work
at one of the most prestigious wineries in Napa Valley doing something he
enjoys with the people who are like family to him. But he could do without the
good-natured intern slash former jock with the wicked grin who always seems to
be in the way. Ryan isn’t sure why the new guy is under his skin when everyone
else loves him. Thankfully he'll be gone after the holidays.

Danny Meyers can’t believe his luck when he lands an internship at Conrad
Winery. It’s the perfect temporary gig to wrap up his graduate studies. He's
left his dreams of tennis stardom on the court to focus on a new career and a
new life. However, he didn't count on the spark of attraction he feels for his
prickly co-worker. When their tentative friendship blossoms into something more
than either man counted on, they may have to change direction and lean into a
holiday wish.


Excerpt


A vacuum-like static rang in my ears. It
wasn’t until Danny nudged my arm that the typical raucous bar noises filtered
through again. And when he scooted his barstool back a foot or two and raised
his hand to flag down a server, everything seemed to return to normal. Sort of.

“Gin and tonic for my friend and I’ll
have another martini, please. Thanks.” Danny tipped back the last of his drink
then handed it over before twisting to face me. “So other than being out
twenty-five bucks and possibly having an awkward conversation at work on
Monday, that didn’t go so bad.”

“I—I don’t get it. What just happened?”

“We agreed to let Geordie win the bet,
remember?”

“Sure, but how did I get stuck here with
you?”

Danny snorted. “We’ve already
established that you like me. Stop being an uptight fuddy-duddy.”

“A fuddy—? You’re…” I gritted my teeth
and tried to think of a stinging insult to fit the situation. “Annoying.”

Lame. And the “That’s the best you’ve
got?” twinkle in Danny’s eye told me he agreed with me. I was about to let him
have it when the waiter stopped to deliver our drinks. When we were alone
again, I leaned into him and kicked his shin for good measure.

“Ow. Relax, Ry. I still want to kiss
you, you know.” He popped the speared olive from his martini into his mouth.
“With tongue.”

“You’re reading way too much into a
stick of spearmint gum, honey. Don’t flatter yourself. It was a joke,” I huffed
derisively.

“It doesn’t have to be.”

“Are you fucking nuts? I’m not kissing
you,” I announced primly.

“You want to though. Admit it,” he
teased.

I blew out an exaggerated breath, sucked
down half my cocktail, and slid off my barstool. “I’m outta here. See you Monday.”

Danny grabbed my belt loop and yanked me
to his side. “You didn’t let me finish. I was about to say…”

“Yes?” I prompted with a rolling hand
gesture.

“I want it too.”

We stared at each other for a heated
moment. I had no clue what he was thinking, but it seemed weird to ask for
clarification. When the growing tension went on a beat too long, I wanted out.
“See ya, Danny boy.”

I pushed my way through the crowd and
gulped for air when I finally reached the sidewalk. I didn’t dare stop to enjoy
the refreshing autumn breeze. If I wanted to avoid any further confrontation, I
had to boogie. Danny was the type of guy who liked having the last word, and
that wasn’t happening on my watch. I fished my keys from my pocket and
power-walked toward the parking lot behind the bar.

“Ryan!”

I ignored him and picked up my pace. I
spotted my car and clicked my fob to unlock the door. Danny called my name
again. I could tell from the sound of his footsteps behind me that he was
closing in quickly. I had to hurry or—

Too late. A hand on my elbow yanked me
sideways.

“What the fuck is your problem?” I
fumed, pushing his chest to no avail.

He moved into my space until his nose
was less than an inch from mine. He was too big and imposing, and the look in
his eyes was straight-up dangerous.

My dick twitched in my jeans. Of course
it did. I had a bad habit of coveting what I couldn’t have and getting turned
on by the chase. My past was littered with embarrassing short-term affairs or
crushes on guys like Wes and Finn. Men I admired but never had a real shot
with. I didn’t want to add Danny to that list because against my better
judgment…I liked him. Really liked him.

Purchase at Audible

Meet the Author

Lane Hayes is grateful to finally be doing what she loves best. Writing full-time! It’s no secret Lane loves a good romance novel. An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. These days she prefers the leading roles to both be men. Lane discovered the M/M genre a few years ago and was instantly hooked. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions, and were winners in the 2016 Rainbow Awards. She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in a newly empty nest.

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Meet the Narrator

 

Nick is an award winning narrator with a fan following for his work in fiction, specifically in the romance genre. His performances in two of Amy Lane's books, Beneath the Stain and Christmas Kitsch, made him the recipient of Sinfully M/M Book Review's Narrator of the Year - 2015. When he's not in the booth, Nick enjoys spending time with his wife, Jessica, and kids, (aka their beagle Frank and cat Stella), drumming in his cover band, exploring rural back roads with his wife on his motorcycle, or being enthralled in a tabletop role playing game with his friends.

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