Release Blitz + Giveaway: Slow Birth (Heat of Love #2.5) by Leta Blake

Slow Birth (Heat of Love, #2.5) is out now! Celebrate the release of another installment in this popular paranormal romance with author Leta Blake & Signal Boost Promotions & be sure to enter the giveaway for a backlist ebook from the author too! Good luck!

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link - Exclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow with Kindle Unlimited

Cover Design: Dar Albert @ Wicked Smart Designs

Heat Of Love Series

Book #1 - Slow Heat - Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link

Book #2 - Alpha Heat - Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link

Book #3 - Bitter Heat - Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link


Jason and Vale are back in this side story set in the Heat of Love universe!

A romantic getaway turns dramatic when an unexpected heat descends on Vale, leaving Jason with no choice but to act. The resulting pregnancy is dangerous for Vale and terrifying for Jason, but with the help of friends and family, they choose to embrace their uncertain future. Together they find all the love, joy, and heat they need to guide them through!

While this story follows the characters from Slow Heat, it will be most enjoyable if read directly after Alpha Heat, as it takes place contemporaneously with that book.

Author of the bestselling book Smoky Mountain Dreams and the fan favorite Training Season, Leta Blake’s educational and professional background is in psychology and finance, respectively. However, her passion has always been for writing. She enjoys crafting romance stories and exploring the psyches of made up people. At home in the Southern U.S., Leta works hard at achieving balance between her day job, her writing, and her family.

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Giveaway + Blog Tour: Furborn by Isabelle Rowan

Welcome author Isabelle Rowan who is here today promoting her new Harmony Ink release, Furborn. Find out more about this paranormal romance & enter in the giveaway for an autographed copy of the book too! Good luck!

A huge thank you to Boy Meets Boy for allowing me to visit their blog and introduce my new novel!


Early settlers transported foxes to the Australian colonies, but not all foxes are what they appear.
Connor Coutts fiercely guards the family secret of the Furborn in sheep country Victoria, where foxes are shot on sight and left to hang from trees as a warning to others. At seventeen he is the only male Furborn for hundreds of miles, one of the last of a rapidly dwindling legacy. His life’s path is clear—until someone new arrives at the MacKenzie sheep farm. Spencer MacKenzie, with his long black hair and gothic style, might seem out of place, but it soon becomes clear that the two boys could make a formidable team against their enemies.
But before they can work together, Connor owes Spencer the truth…. He’s just not sure if he should trust him.   

Furborn began life after seeing a beautiful artwork of a bearded redheaded man in an autumn gold forest. The image stayed with me, but it didn’t suit my environment. Evergreen gum trees of sage and grey didn’t take on the fall hue and the light in the forest here is very different. Also, I want my boys to be just that – not full-grown men but teenagers finding love for the first time.  

Furborn is a paranormal romance of discovery and exploration. Finding love and trust in Australian sheep country which isn’t easy when one of you is a city goth and the other is a fox shifter!

A gun shot. 
Connor bolted upright in bed. Another blast. The farm dogs barked furiously from their guard post on the veranda. The shots were close, but the pounding footfall outside his room told him they didn’t originate from the farm.
He eased himself to the edge of the bed and grabbed his crutches. “What’s going on?” he called out to the huddle of MacKenzies on the landing.
“I’m not sure,” Carol said. “Neil’s gone down to see.”
The dogs continued to bark despite Neil’s command to shut the hell up! Pa Mac made his way slowly down the stairs and Connor heard his quiet, “Enough”. After one last bark from Tosh the dogs settled.
Spencer appeared in the doorway. His dark boxers hung low on slim hips that were luminous white in the moonlight. 
Definitely a raven, Connor thought. Or a vampire. 
“Dad’s gone down to see what’s going on.”
“Yeah,” Connor replied. He hopped past him and slid his crutches in his armpits at the top of the stairs. They were always a challenge and he took it slowly one step at a time, but another blast of gunshot hastened his descent. Spencer was right behind him.
“Where’s it coming from?” Spencer asked.
“The eastern edge of the forest. Past our boundary fence,” Pa Mac replied. Eerie barks of hunting dogs echoed up from the forest. Tosh and Bella growled, but remained at Pa’s side. “They’ve found their quarry,” he muttered.
No gunshot followed and Connor understood what that meant – the dogs were released to tear their prey to bloody pieces.
“Your foxes will be safe,” Spencer said softly.
He meant well, but Connor’s lungs wouldn’t release his breath. It hurt. Everything hurt: heart, soul and body. Spencer’s hand touched his – not enough to be noticed by the others, but enough to tell him he wasn’t alone. His white knuckled grip on the crutch loosed.

Win an autographed copy of Furborn from the author! Open internationally!

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A slinky cat for a witch may be a cliché, but add a whole bunch of tribal tattoos and an intolerance to garlic (seriously), and you have Isabelle Rowan.
Having moved to Australia from the North East of England as a small child, Isabelle now lives in a seaside suburb of Melbourne where she taught film making and English. She is a movie addict who spends far too much money on traveling… but then again, life is to be lived. 

She is occasionally retired from teaching and is beginning a new career in story and screenwriting!

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Review: The King's Dragon (Fire and Valor #1) by W.M. Fawkes & Sam Burns

Lord Tristram Radcliffe has a secret—he is the only dragon at the king’s court in Llangard. It’s a secret he’s kept from the knights he’s fought beside, from the ladies who bat their lashes at him, and from his closest companion, Prince Reynold. If it were to get out, he’d be banished to the Mawrcraig Mountains along with the rest of his kind, but the kingdom of men is the only one he’s ever known, and his heart lives in the stone halls of those who’d count him an enemy.

When the old king dies and Prince Reynold takes the throne, two visitors from the north throw Tristram into the middle of the ancient conflict between dragons and men. They put him on a collision course with the king’s shadow, Bet Kyston, a dangerous assassin who may want him dead or may want more of Tristram that he’d ever thought to give.

With the eyes of dragons upon him and a threat from the north creeping toward the home he loves, Tristram must weigh his allegiances before his dual legacies tear him apart.

You guys…. you’ve got to check this out!

Don’t be fooled by that flashy cover thinking that this is light and whimsical because it’s not. This is fantasy at its best, and it’s set in a land and time where humans and dragons have a tentative peace that teeters on the edge of explosive consequences. However, the divide and animosity runs high, and the chance of a truce is nigh impossible despite a potential dangerous and common foe.

This is a world about a new king coming into ascension, one whose less than savory personality puts many on guard for he’s not the gentle beloved king his father was.

This features the king’s shadow Bet, who has only known struggle and pain, whose life was elevated and ultimately, saved by his highness. His loyalty is devout and steadfast, being the new king’s eyes, ears, and hands in all things necessary and not necessary regarding the king’s whims and needs.

This centers on the king’s cousin and best friend Tris, whose strength and goodness and honor shine brightly through. However, he’s hiding a very big secret. He's half dragon, which puts him in quite the precarious position as most in the kingdom of Llangard despise dragons out of the long established hatred when they once enslaved and ruled over humans - and that includes the king himself.

So get ready for a slow build attraction between Tris and Bet. Two men with different ranks, on opposite ends of the social spectrum but each outcasts in their own right. Though they’ve noticed each other from afar, their paths rarely cross until one day they do. When Tris’s secret is exposed, each man and the many other characters have some very very difficult choices to make, all of which will have damning repercussions.

Overall, Fawkes and Burns have created something that’s quite impressive. It’s intricate, complex, boasting no else than 7 POV’s, all tied together ingeniously with a slow build and reveal that keeps you on edge, where around the corner things can change in a flash and one’s status or life hangs in the balance. So many secrets abound in all sorts of ways involving assignations, alliances, promises, betrayals, magic, and dangerous longings all just waiting to be discovered.

If you like a Game of Thrones-esque type set up, a romance that is hard fought and not quite yet won, where the protagonists’ struggles are weighted, meaningful, and angsty, then this is for you, and I don't say that lightly.

Though this ends tentatively (and please don’t let that dissuade you) it has a concrete conclusion for this first installment and leaves the reader chomping at the bit for so much more! I just hate that I have to wait an interminable and unknown amount of time for the next book! Write faster please!

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

Release Blitz + Giveaway: Earnest Ink by Alex Hall

Welcome debut author Alex Hall and IndiGo Marketing as they celebrate the release of Earnest Ink! Learn more about the fantasy novel and enter in the $10 NineStar Press!

Title: Earnest Ink
Author: Alex Hall
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: October 14, 2019
Heat Level: 1 - No Sex
Pairing: No Romance, Male/Male
Length: 72100
Genre: Fantasy, LGBT, magic, mystery, trans, Sci-Fi, Ace, Pansexual

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While twenty-year-old FTM Hemingway is making an excellent living as a tattoo artist in a near-future version of Hell’s Kitchen, the rest of the country is splintered and struggling in the wake of a war gone on for too long. Technology has collapsed, borders rise and fall overnight, and magic has awakened without rhyme, reason, or rule, turning average unwitting citizens into wielders of strange and specific strands of magic.

Hemingway’s particular brand of magic has made him a household name. Not only is he a talented artist, but his work comes to life. Literally.

When NYC’s most infamous serial killer—the East River Ripper—abducts Hemingway’s best friend, Grace, he has only days to save her. Hemingway teams up with his stoic cop roommate to hunt for the killer and rescue Grace before she becomes the Ripper’s latest victim. But as the duo chase clues to the serial killer’s identity, Hemingway begins to fear the magic he and the Ripper share might eventually corrupt him too.


Earnest Ink
Alex Hall © 2019
All Rights Reserved

I work without speaking because that’s the way I prefer it. The vibration of my machine, the softer buzz of the fluorescent lights overhead, the tap of my foot on the pedal—it’s the best music in the world.

When I hit a ticklish spot, the girl I’m working on gasps, jolting in my chair.

“Don’t move,” I say. And then, with a salesman’s false cheer: “Almost done!”

The girl is sweating down the crook of her neck. She’s got silver glitter paint on her eyelids and cheeks, a new fashion trend I just can’t quite get behind. Under my lights the mix of perspiration and makeup looks like a blurry constellation.

She wanted a bee inked onto her collarbone, one of those tiny honeybees you find on good tequila bottles. Easily done, and she met the cash requirement. She’s eager, nervous, and breathing in and out in little puffs.

I can’t remember her name, but that’s fine. Customer relations is Eric’s job.

There’s another kid leaning over my glass counter, watching eagerly as I work. “Does it hurt?” he asks. “When the magic happens?”

The bee’s fat yellow thorax wriggles from side to side as it begins to wake, fighting the pressure of my needle, hungry for life.

“It looks like it hurts,” the kid says. I ignore him.

One minute more and—thanks to my peculiar magic—this bee will fly free.

I’m perched on a swivel stool, a wet paper towel in my hand to wipe away ink. It’s too hot in my studio, even with the industrial fans whirling overhead and the door propped wide open. Evening light slants in through the door and the north-facing, floor-to-ceiling window panes that look out onto West Forty-Sixth. It’s muggy, too warm for New York in October, and all of Hell’s Kitchen is wilting, including my client.

“What does it feel like?” the kid demands. He’s leaving greasy fingerprints on the surface of the glass as he strains to get a better look at what I’m doing. I study him out the corner of my eye, wiping sweat off my nose with the back of my wrist before it drips on my customer. He looks like one of the street punks who have taken to running in packs near the cruise terminals, sleeping in old, abandoned cargo containers and panhandling up and down the marina.

He’s skinny and tall, hair dyed an unsettling violet and styled into spikes all over his head. He’s got a silver ring in his septum and more hoops in his ears; his eyelashes are coated with purple mascara to match his hair. Green glitter paint sparkles on his lids. His T-shirt and jeans are torn and dirty, and he’s got a pack of black-market cigarettes rolled into one sleeve against his upper arm.

“Tattoos hurt. The magic bit? Not so much. Now get off my counter; you’re leaving streaks.”

That’s from Eric, working customer relations from behind the shelter of our gigantic, old-school cash register. The register’s solid brass and built like a tank, and Eric keeps pepper spray and a butterfly knife in the drawer with the cash just in case. Eric hates people in general, and New Yorkers in particular.

Before the draft he was an intern at a law firm in Connecticut. He wasn’t on the front for more than six months before he contracted Cascades fever and was sent home on medical discharge to die. While lying in bed one day, he saw me on TV and decided he could make good money as my receptionist and bodyguard.

Eric didn’t die. He got better, found his way from Connecticut to New York, crossed the border on a military visa, and stayed. I hired him because he knows how to sell an idea, keep a tidy client book, and break an assailant’s neck with one arm.

“Sorry.” The kid jerks away from the countertop. I lean back over the girl in my chair. He clears his throat. “I mean, how would I know, right? I’ve never seen magic before. Except on TV. And you can’t believe everything you see on TV. Some of that shit just isn’t real.”

He’s got a barely noticeable accent, a strange softness to his vowels. I think he must be Canadian, and I’m surprised. Most of the Canucks still left in the city keep to themselves, living and working south of Wall Street in a homogenous neighborhood known affectionately as Little Montreal. From what I’ve heard, they’re a close-knit, fanatically private, mostly wealthy group of people, and it seems unlikely one of their kids would take it upon himself to break with tradition and trade real family for the rat pack running rampant on Pier 88.

The girl twitches and giggles when I wipe her collarbone. A lazy breeze sneaks in through the door, along with shouts and muffled laughter. It’s tourist season, and outside Earnest Ink, the sidewalks are busy with gawkers from out of town. Mostly they just take selfies under my sign. If they’re stupid enough to come in without plenty of cash in hand, Eric chases them out.

I’m guessing the street punk spent his last handful of dollars on the cigarettes rolled in his sleeve, so I’m not sure why Eric’s letting him linger.

“This particular ‘shit’ is real as it gets,” Eric drawls while I smooth petroleum jelly over skin. The ointment’s pleasantly cold. The girl shivers.

“Can I come closer? Just a little? I want to see.” Without waiting for permission, the kid bends over the counter, resting his elbows on the glass.

Eric shifts languidly behind his register but doesn’t chase him off. Bee Girl is our last appointment of the day. Eric’s bored and probably hungry, and maybe that’s why he lets the kid stay—for entertainment. But he doesn’t really want to have a conversation. Probably he just likes the look of the kid’s hair and eyes. Eric’s in his early twenties like me, but he acts ten years older. I think it comes from seeing the front line and living to tell about it. He dresses like a runway model in secondhand Chanel suits and 1990s-era Givenchy. He keeps up on the latest city fashions with an eagerness bordering on obsession, and reads literary classics with equal enthusiasm.

“Okay,” I answer without looking up from my work. “But maybe don’t talk so much. It’s distracting.” I smile apologetically at my client, but she only giggles more. Cheap wine has dyed her lips indigo. I test my machine, squeezing the trigger. It vibrates under the pressure of my fingers.

“You him?” the kid asks eagerly. “Hemingway? The thaumaturge?”

I nod. Hemingway’s my surname. It’s what I’ve gone by since I escaped Ketchum, Idaho, for the big city.

“Huh.” He sounds reluctantly impressed, but he doesn’t take the hint to shut up. “Did you really do Arctic Fox in their hotel room before their last show?”

Eric snorts. Bee Girl blushes pink under her paint. I check my ink cup to make sure I’m not running low before working the foot pedal again.

“Matching ink, all six of the band members.” It hadn’t been a very exciting job. They’d been specific and unimaginative about what they’d wanted and too stoned at the end to react much when the sailors’ swallows I’d inked onto their biceps spread their wings and took flight, swooping a few inches into the air, tethered by an invisible thread of magic to tattooed flesh. “Photos in the red book, there. Take a look.”

I hear him open the book and flip through. The tattoo machine sends vibrations through my bones and the girl’s, together.

“How much, eh?” the kid asks. “For a small one?”

“You’re not old enough,” Eric retorts. “Come back in a few years and then we’ll talk.”

“I’m sixteen!”

“Law’s eighteen in Manhattan,” I say over the buzz of my machine. “I never break it.”

“It’s a stupid law… Are you sure you’re him? I expected someone…taller.” He’s so lanky he reminds me of a brilliantly plumed stork.

“License is right there in the window,” Eric replies, examining his fingernails. “And rules are rules, so take off and come back when you’ve grown pubes.”

Eric can be a real bitch, but I don’t mind. Life can be a real bitch, too.

The kid takes his advice and leaves, stomping his way out of the studio and into the stale afternoon, bony shoulders hunched.


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Meet the Author

Sarah Remy/Alex Hall is a nonbinary, animal-loving, proud gamer Geek. Their work can be found in a variety of cool places, including HarperVoyager, EDGE and NineStar Press.

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Cover Reveal + Giveaway: Twice Shy (A New Milton Novel) by Sally Malcolm

Join author Sally Malcolm & Signal Boost Promotions as they introduce the cover of the latest in the popular New Milton series, Twice Shy. Find out more about this romance & enter in the giveaway for a backlist ebook from the author! Good luck!

Release Date: November 1 2019

Length: 88,000 words approx.

Cover Design: Sally Malcolm

New Milton Series

Book #1 - Perfect Day - Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #1.5 - Love Around The Corner - Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #2 - Between The Lines - Amazon US | Amazon UK


The last thing Joel Morgan wants is to fall in love again. Scarred by his failed marriage, Joel’s determined to keep his life emotionally stable—which means taking a job teaching fourth grade, fixing up his house on weekends, and avoiding absolutely all romantic entanglements. And he's doing great.

Until he meets sweet but struggling single dad, Ollie Snow.

Following the tragic death of his sister and her husband two years earlier, Ollie became the legal guardian of their two young sons—much to the horror of the boys’ conservative grandparents. They think Ollie’s too young and too gay to raise their grandsons. So to prove them wrong, Ollie’s determined to parent the boys without anyone’s help.

Until he meets reserved but caring teacher, Joel Morgan.

As the only two men in the school’s Parent-Teacher Association, Joel and Ollie are thrown together over a series of fundraising events and somewhere between the Beach Fun Run and the Christmas Market they fall in love. But Ollie has another reason for moving to New Milton—a reason he’s keeping close to his chest—and Joel’s wounded heart won’t trust a man with secrets. Dare they hope for a future together, or will their past hurts keep them apart forever?

Sally Malcolm was bitten by the male/male romance bug in 2016 and hasn’t looked back.

Perfect Day was her first published male/male romance, with the follow-up (Between the Lines) out later in 2018 and a dozen other ideas bubbling away on the back burner. Her stories are emotional, sweetly angsty, and always have happy endings.

Sally also writes tie-in novels for the hit TV shows Stargate: SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis. To date she’s penned nine novels and novellas, and four audio dramas.

She lives in South West London with her American husband, two lovely children, and two lazy cats.

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Release Blitz + Giveaway: The Mage Heir (The Life Siphon #2) by Kathryn Sommerlot

Join author Kathryn Sommerlot and IndiGo Marketing as they celebrate the NineStar Press release of The Mage Heir (The Life Siphon #2)! Learn more about this epic fantasy and enter in the $10 NSP credit giveaway! 

Title: The Mage Heir
Series: The Life Siphon, Book Two
Author: Kathryn Sommerlot
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: October 14, 2019
Heat Level: 2 - Fade to Black Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 97100
Genre: Fantasy, LGBT, fantasy, royalty, magic users, epic mage battles, fearsome desert predators, action/adventure, family drama

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Exiled from Chayd and pursued by Runon, Tatsu’s life twists into something unrecognizable when he escapes with Yudai into the mountains. Despite the growing danger trailing them, the biggest threat lies within Yudai and his voracious magic, a force spiraling outside his control. Their only hope is to head into Joesar in search of a way to contain the magic.

But Joesar’s desert holds perils of its own, and the only answers Tatsu and Yudai find lead them farther into storms. Friend and foe blur until impossible to tell apart, and all the while, the unchecked siphon devours any energy it can find. If Yudai can’t fix what the Runonian mages broke, the siphon could swallow the world, and Tatsu will watch the horror unfold.

No matter how tightly Tatsu’s heart is tied to Yudai’s, and after everything they have sacrificed for freedom, the past might catch up with them, murky and muddled, betrayal lying in Tatsu’s traitorous bloodline.


The Mage Heir
Kathryn Sommerlot © 2019
All Rights Reserved

Tatsu woke with such a start he couldn’t breathe.

Heart hammering, he spun up and onto one knee, grabbing his bow and notching the arrow before his thoughts had completely righted. He waited for one breath, and then another, poised and ready to release the arrow into the shadows of the trees. Everything around them loomed threatening, and the pulsing dread shouldn’t have been a surprise—they were fugitives, after all.

His throat closed, pulsing along with his heartbeat. When nothing jumped out from the darkness, at least the idea of the soft sounds belonging to one of the queen’s guards faded. No one had come to drag them both to the prison cells in Aughwor.

“Alesh?” Tatsu said, voice low, and was met with only silence. The low murmuring wasn’t Alesh and Ral either, and knowing they’d stayed in Dradela eased Tatsu’s mind a bit, though his stomach clenched at the thought of the queen guessing their involvement in Yudai’s escape.

With their camp set up in a small clearing, the mountains stood half a day’s walk away, close enough to feel the threat from both Chayd and Runon still breathing down their necks. If the queen hadn’t sent guards after them, then Runon certainly had. The last thing Tatsu wanted was to underestimate Nota—no, his mother, no matter how difficult placing the designation on her was. Underestimating mages had landed them into the whole mess in the first place.

Whatever stirred within the brush faded away—a small rodent foraging across the forest floor, perhaps—and Tatsu dropped his arms back to his sides. He focused on returning his heartbeat to normal rhythms.

He was jumping at shadows, and at such a rate, he’d exhaust himself long before they could hide themselves in the mountain peaks. Willing his body to relax, he settled onto his sleeping roll as the branches overhead waved gently in the night breeze. There was nothing strange about the trees, but Tatsu kept imagining he could hear them sing.

After traveling through so much of the drained land and its twisted aftermath, nature didn’t hold the same comfort it used to.

From his vantage point beneath the tree cover, the moon remained obscured behind branches brimming thick with leaves, but Tatsu guessed half the night had passed, giving them three or four hours before the sun rose. Yudai, sleeping several paces away near the fire pit, was curled into a tight ball on his leather bedroll. Occasionally, he would murmur and turn over, but none of the sounds seemed to be enough to wake him. Small favors, if nothing else.

Tatsu closed his eyes, but unbidden, his mind pulled up a scene he’d spent weeks trying to bury: Zakio’s body crumpled in the crimson-stained snow. He pressed the heels of his palms against his eyes hard enough to leave red spots dancing in his vision after he pulled both hands away, but the image persisted even as he resumed staring out at the trees. When he let his head fall against the trunk of the nearest tree, his hair caught in the rough bark.

At some point, he managed to nod off, still in his uncomfortable sprawl against one of the wider trees, and by the time he woke again, the sky had begun to streak with color. Leaning forward, he winced at the pain the movement elicited in his stiff neck. He was preoccupied enough with the tightness to only vaguely notice Yudai stirring across the fire, but the anguished yell a second later startled any residual sleepiness out of him. A split second of spinning showed they were still alone in the clearing.

The relief, if one could call it that, flashed in an achingly short moment.

Yudai sat up with both hands raised in the air, head jerking from side to side. Around him, stretched out like a too-bold shadow, his own sleeping outline had burned brown into the withered grass. The drained blades bent and curled over on themselves, even the ones that weren’t crushed beneath Yudai’s weight. In only a single night, life had been bled dry by Yudai’s wild, uncontrollable magic.

Yudai glowered up at him, eyes glinting with vulnerability.

“No,” he said, and that single word reverberated through Tatsu’s limbs until he feared he could no longer stand. His chest heaved, a pang of copper blood on the back of his tongue.

The life siphon had endured.


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Meet the Author

Kathryn Sommerlot is a coffee addict and craft beer enthusiast with a detailed zombie apocalypse plan. Originally from the cornfields of the American Midwest, she got her master’s degree and moved across the ocean to become a high school teacher in Japan. When she isn’t wrangling teenage brains into critical thinking, she spends her time writing, crocheting, and hiking with her husband. She enjoys LGBTQ fiction, but she is particularly interested in genre fiction that just happens to have LGBTQ protagonists. Find out more at her Website.


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Review: Goalie Interference (Hat Trick #2) by Avon Gale & Piper Vaughn

It’s goalie vs. goalie in this brand-new enemies-to-lovers hockey romance from Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn…

Ryu Mori has had a stellar season as goalie for the Atlanta Venom. So when he’s called into management’s office, he’s expecting to hear he’s the new starting goalie for the team, not that some new guy—an incredibly hot, annoyingly bratty rookie—is here to compete for his spot.

Not everyone gets to play in the best league in the world. Emmitt Armstrong knows that, and he’s not about to waste the opportunity after grinding his way from the bottom to the top. If the Venom is looking for a meek, mild-mannered pushover, they’ve got the wrong guy.

Ryu doesn’t want to admit the other goalie’s smart mouth turns him on. Beating Armstrong at practice feels good, sure, but there are other, more fun ways to shut his rival up.

In this league, it’s winner takes all. But there’s more to life than winning, and if Emmitt and Ryu can get past their egos and competitive natures, they might just discover they work better as partners than they ever imagined possible.

2.75 Hearts

Ryu Mori’s within reach of his goal - being the new starting goalie for the Atlanta Venom. He’s trained hard and has the stats to prove it. Until promising upstart Emmitt Armstrong transfers to the team, setting off a race for the starting goalie position.

I really liked Ryu in book 1. He was the calm, dependable, and quiet friend that Tristan needed. He may come across as cold at times, but that’s just introversion.

Emmitt is the opposite of that - a complete extrovert. He’s loud and a bit brash. But he’s equally loyal, and committed to the game and the team.

The two men definitely start off on the wrong foot. Neither man is a dislikeable character, but the competition for starting goalie and opposite personalities inevitably set the stage.

But it’s also undeniable that both men feel attracted to each other. As the weeks pass, the mutual dislike and attraction build.

Until finally they give in. And it’s hot.

Nothing like a lot of angry sex to really break the ice!

Or, as Ryu and Emmitt look at it, just a bit of stress relief. I was all for their arrangement - rivals on the ice, and rivals with rough sex in the sheets.

Feelings inevitably enter the picture. It was very sweet to see the two men gradually open to each other, and share bits and pieces of themselves that they hadn’t expected to.

I swooned just a bit when Emmitt and Ryu finally had the talk and agreed that they wanted to be more than just fuckbuddies.

Of course, the major obstacle remains throughout the book - the competition for starting goalie. It continues to affect their relationship after they decide to get serious.

The situation became repetitive at times, but ultimately it was an entertaining plot. And despite the angst, Ryu and Emmitt manage to come out at the other end with a stronger relationship.

But I wasn’t entirely sold on the ending. It’s a HFN, with some major points still unresolved.

Overall, this was a likeable enemies-to-lovers hockey romance, with some angst and a lot of hot and sweet. I’m hoping we get to see Ryu and Emmitt’s story wrapped up in a short follow-up or in a book 3!

A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.

Release Blitz + Giveaway: The Spymaster’s Secret (Chronicles of Tournai #7) by Antonia Aquilante

The Spymaster’s Secret (Chronicles of Tournai #7) is out! Celebrate with author Antonia Aquilante and IndiGo Marketing! Learn more about the latest in the popular fantasy series and enter in the $10 NineStar Press credit giveaway!

Title: The Spymaster's Secret
Series: Chronicles of Tournai, Book Seven
Author: Antonia Aquilante
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: October 14, 2019
Heat Level: 3 - Some Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 107100
Genre: Fantasy, LGBT, Fantasy, paranormal, family-drama, political intrigue, magic, gay, bisexual, royalty, men with children, architect, college, magic users, cat shifter

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Alexander is doing his best to settle into life in Tournai’s royal palace after years living outside the country due to his father’s diplomatic work. The sense of belonging and home he feels is overwhelming, but none of his plans are going as he imagined. Many see him as only a lovely, charming adornment of the royal court and underestimate both his intelligence and abilities. His attraction to Marcus, a mysterious older man who does work for the prince, Alexander’s cousin, is unexpected but not unwelcome…if Marcus could possibly see who Alexander really is.

Lord Marcus is the second son of a minor noble family, a widower raising two children…and the prince’s spymaster. He knows his work is necessary for the security of the kingdom and its royal family, but he also knows it can be distasteful and dangerous to him and those around him. Marcus has vowed never to fall in love again, never to put anyone else at risk—a promise threatened for the first time by the vibrant, flirtatious Alexander. The attraction is unwelcome and entirely undeniable. He can’t believe someone like Alexander would want someone like him, but he also can’t stay away.

As they become ever more entangled, Marcus is investigating rumors of spies at work in Tournai’s university. As he gets closer to uncovering their plot, Alexander is drawn deeper into danger. Can their love survive when Alexander is put in peril by the very spies Marcus is hunting for?


The Spymaster’s Secret
Antonia Aquilante © 2019
All Rights Reserved

“What do you have to tell us, Lord Marcus?”

Marcus sat in one of the chairs across from the pair of desks in the princes’ private office and contemplated Prince Philip. The crown prince had the look of his father and something of his manner, a commanding presence he had probably cultivated since birth. He had the dark hair and classically handsome features of the men in the royal family and the bred-in-the-bone care for this country. Which Marcus had a feeling he might have thrown over in a heartbeat for the man beside him. Prince Consort Amory was shorter and fair with large dark eyes and curling auburn hair. He hadn’t been born into royalty or even nobility, but he’d adapted to his role far better than most of Tournai’s nobility had anticipated. Marcus knew quite well what each noble family thought of the marriage, just past its third anniversary, although the princes had never asked him for the information.

“First, Your Highnesses, the prisoner taken into custody at the border hasn’t answered any questions posed to him. I was asked to try.”

The army had brought the man in from the border several days ago. Tournai was protected from magical attack by a barrier created by a web of spells. Almost no one knew of the spells in Tournai, but someone outside had apparently discovered their protection and was determined to find its weaknesses. The man had been testing the barrier, and somehow the spells had caught and held him until the army could get there. Marcus had to speak with Savarin about how he’d been caught and what weaknesses they should guard against.

Philip frowned. “We need answers from him. I can’t believe the threat has disappeared because we’ve apprehended one man at the border.”

“With all respect, Your Highness, we don’t know what the threat is yet.” Marcus glanced between the princes but returned his attention to Philip. “I’ll do everything I can to find out and quickly, but there is more than one possibility.”

“I think the possibility at the top of our minds is this man was sent by Ardunn,” Amory said in his quiet tone. “I doubt anyone will rest easy until we can rule that out. If we can.”

“It is a possibility, Your Highness, and a strong one.” The Ardunn empire was located far to their east, separated from Tournai by an impassable mountain range and the kingdom of Elleri, but Ardunn’s emperor was obsessed with conquest and seemingly interested in using Tournai as a foothold for gaining control of this half of the continent. The geographical barriers were too great to march an army in, and Ardunn had no naval power to speak of. But they routinely sent their agents into Tournai searching for weaknesses. “However, with the bandit attacks along the border over the last several months, it isn’t the only one. He might have been with the bandits. Or he could’ve been sent from Ardunn or hired by them to test the barriers. The attacks could’ve been orchestrated by Ardunn as well. Or they might be completely unrelated. For all we know, the prisoner was working on his own, unrelated to either the bandits or Ardunn.”

Marcus didn’t much care for that option, as it meant they probably had another enemy lurking, but he also didn’t think it was the most likely either.

Philip’s frown deepened, not even lightening when Amory laid a hand on his arm. “You’re not giving me much helpful information, Lord Marcus.”

“I apologize, Your Highness. All I can do at this point is present you with theories.” He spread his hands in a helpless gesture. He wished he had more for the princes—he took the lack as a personal failure despite the short time he’d had this problem on his desk. “I will do everything I can to get information from our prisoner, and I have people searching for the bandits he was likely traveling with as well.”

“The army has been chasing them for months.” Amory’s remark was said without judgment for either Marcus’s people or the army.

“I’m aware, Your Highness, but my people can go unnoticed in a way the army can’t.”

Amory nodded, thoughtful, but Philip spoke. “Coordinate with Captain Loriot if you need further information, though I can’t imagine you ever lacking information.”

Marcus smiled slightly at Philip’s dry statement. “Far be it from me to ever claim I know everything, Your Highness. That would be the heights of arrogance.”

“If you say so.”

Philip didn’t explain why Marcus should see Loriot if he needed information about a situation the army was overseeing. Loriot’s power ended at the city gates when he wasn’t traveling with the princes. But Marcus could surmise.

“Is there anything else we need to know? Not only about our prisoner, of course.” Philip always phrased the question that way when he asked. Marcus didn’t blame him—there were certain things the princes didn’t need to know, which was why they had Marcus.

“Not at this time, Your Highness.” There were a dozen things Marcus could have told them, but none needed their immediate attention. If any of the rumors his people were chasing down at the university became more substantial, then he’d bring them to the princes.

Philip sat back. “All right, Lord Marcus. Keep us informed about the questioning.”

“Of course, Your Highness.”

Dismissed from the royal presence, Marcus let himself into the corridor and turned his steps to the right, following the most direct route out of the wing holding the royal apartments. The princes had formal offices in the palace proper, but Marcus was more often summoned to their private study, the place they did their work, so by now, he knew the way back to the more public areas. He needed to return to the city and his work for the day, of which their prisoner was only one part. There was a meeting later with two of his agents about the whispers they’d picked up at the university, and it might be time for Marcus to find a few moments to return to work on a new truth potion.

If he could get the potion right, it might be useful with their prisoner.

In the middle of the day, these corridors were empty but for the royal guards stationed periodically along them. Marcus doubted they were ever crowded. This part of the palace saw no one except the resident members of the royal family, their guests, and those who served them. Marcus had only ever been allowed in to meet with the princes at their request. His family was lower-ranked nobility, but neither they nor he was in the princes’ inner circle.

He let part of his mind go over the changes he wanted to make to the potion, running through ingredients and proportions while the rest of his focus noted what there was to see in the hallway. The guards were alert and also unobtrusive, which was to be expected. Palace security was Loriot’s purview, and he took his job seriously. His guards were well trained, highly efficient, and well vetted before they even got that far, their trustworthiness in keeping royal matters private ensured further by magic.

Despite the palace being Loriot’s domain, Marcus had a couple of his people placed there to keep an eye on the royal family as well. Those family members who lived in the palace were closest to the princes. While Marcus didn’t expect them to pose a threat, there had been treachery of various kinds over the past few years, and he was wary of anyone trying to get too close. He’d had his people keeping their eyes on the twins—Philip’s cousins through the youngest of his father’s sisters—since they’d arrived unexpectedly back in the autumn with the intention of staying. Marcus had seen no indication they meant any harm, but knowledge was useful, and caution never misplaced.

A laugh shattered the quiet and brought Marcus’s attention fully back to his surroundings. As he approached an intersecting corridor, the two young men he’d been thinking of came around the corner. They were nearly identical in appearance with the same shade of dark hair that glowed red in the light, the same ivory skin and peridot eyes, the same delicate features, an intriguing mix of pretty and sensual. Their differences were slight, but perfectly apparent with a moment’s study. Alexander was slightly taller, and Faelen’s hair fell in loose curls while Alexander’s was a tumble of waves.

He’d made a point of finding out which of them was which. And not because of the way Alexander had looked at him the one previous time he’d been in their presence.

The way Alexander looked at him now. Curious with a spark of something more.

Alexander had been the one laughing, a joyful, delighted sound that made Marcus want to smile. He forced himself not to, forced his face to remain bland and pleasant and unremarkable. Forced himself to ignore the little lurch, the punch of attraction when he looked into Alexander’s eyes.

He had to.

Those eyes sparkled. “Good morning, Lord Marcus.”

Faelen noticed him then. A smile still flirted with his finely wrought lips, but his eyes held none of the same interest as his twin’s. Which Marcus wouldn’t have expected for many reasons—he couldn’t understand why Alexander regarded him the way he did—but mostly because Faelen had apparently taken a serious lover, which he’d subtly announced at court through his presence at Faelen’s side at the princes’ anniversary ball not long ago.

“Good morning, Lord Marcus,” Faelen echoed. “I hope you’re well today.”

Marcus bowed. “Good morning, my lords. I am, thank you, and you?”

“Very well. Thank you,” Faelen replied.

“What brings you to the palace today, Lord Marcus?” Alexander’s tone and words were as smooth as Faelen’s. The two might not have spent most of their lives at Tournai’s court, but perhaps they’d had to become even more skilled because of their years away. A foreign court wasn’t an easy place to live, even a nominally friendly one.

“A meeting with Their Highnesses.” He wouldn’t discuss the subject with anyone without the princes’ permission, and certainly not in a hallway where anyone might hear. He knew better than most the walls often had ears.

Alexander and Faelen didn’t ask, possibly because they knew the necessity of discretion too, as they should as members of Tournai’s ruling family however far removed from the throne. They did exchange a glance, so quick anyone not watching closely would’ve missed it. Some sort of information passed between them in the fleeting look, but what they shared was a mystery to Marcus.

“I’m sure you’re busy, Lord Marcus,” Faelen said. “We won’t impose upon any more of your time.”

“It’s hardly an imposition, but I’m sure you have engagements to attend.” Marcus bowed slightly again. “I’ll bid you good day.”

They returned his farewell as Faelen looped his arm through Alexander’s. Marcus refused to allow himself to turn and watch them walk away. To do so would reveal too much, to all of them. He did, however, catch a glimpse of their slender forms in a large, silver-framed mirror hanging on the wall. He didn’t allow himself more than the glimpse before continuing on his way at a brisk pace, not stopping again as he wound through the corridors and finally out into the winter chill. He had far too much to do to let himself be distracted, especially by a young royal cousin he had no business observing outside a professional capacity. And no reason to study him so closely in even that way any longer. It shouldn’t have disappointed him.


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Meet 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.

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