Blog Tour: Three Months to Forever by Hudson Lin

Help Hudson Lin celebrate the release of her new book in the World of Love series by Dreamspinner Press. Find out more about about this contemporary romance below!

Five Behind the Scenes Facts about Three Months to Forever

Hi! I’m Hudson Lin and this is the blog tour for Three Months to Forever. There’s always so much involved with writing a story that doesn’t necessarily make it into the book itself. Here are five behind the scenes facts about my new book!

1.       The premise of Three Months to Forever is that Ben is sent on a three-month work assignment from Toronto to Hong Kong. This is based on my own experience of going on a three-month work assignment to Hong Kong! Many of the places Ben visits and foods he tries are taken directly from my own time in the city.

2.      Sai’s full Chinese name is Kwok Sai-hei (郭世屭). Translated into English, his name means generation of gigantic strength. It’s a prescriptive name, given the extraordinary expectations his father has for his life.

3.      Sai and Ben meet at an event hosted by InterNations. This is a real organization with chapters around the world that seek to connect ex-patriots who are living far from their homes. It’s a great resource and I’ve been a member of few different chapters over the years.

4.      Sai and his friends frequent a gay bar called LINQ in the Sheung Wan neighborhood. When I lived in Hong Kong, I walked past the bar almost every day and had no idea it was a gay bar! I only realized years later while I was researching for this story.

5.      Ben and Sai’s sexual relationship has some elements of BDSM, which was completely unintentional! It was only after I’d finished writing the book did I recognize the dom/sub dynamic between them. Now, can you guess who is the dom and who is the sub?

Excited to read Three Months to Forever yet? I hope you are! Three Months to Forever is available now!

Three Months to Forever Blurb

Ben is looking for an adventure when he accepts a temporary assignment in Hong Kong, but he never anticipated how his life might change when he meets a sophisticated older man named Sai. Their initial attraction is sizzling and soon grows into more as Sai takes Ben on a tour of the city’s famous landmarks and introduces him to the local cuisine. Sai stimulates Ben’s intellect and curiosity, and for jaded corporate lawyer Sai, Ben’s innocent eagerness is a breath of fresh air. It would be so easy to fall in love….

But nothing is that simple. Sai’s job forces him to do things that violate his morals, and his relationship with his family is a major obstacle to any lasting relationship with Ben. Back in Toronto, Ben’s father is ill, and can he really leave behind his home for a man he’s only known for a short time? With the clock ticking, they must decide whether to risk it all and turn three months into forever.

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About Hudson Lin

Hudson Lin was raised by conservative immigrant parents and grew up straddling two cultures with ofttimes conflicting perspectives on life. Instead of conforming to either, she has sought to find a third way that brings together the positive elements of both.

Having spent much of her life on the outside looking in, Hudson likes to write stories about outsiders who fight to carve out their place in society, and overcome everyday challenges to find love and happily ever afters.

When not engrossed in a story, Hudson knits, drinks tea, and works the 9 to 5 in the beautiful city of Toronto, Canada.

Social Media Links

Twitter: @hudsonlinwrites

Release Blitz: Nothing Serious by Jay Northcote

Jay Northcote and Signal Boost Promotions celebrate the re-release of Nothing Serious! Check it out today!

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Length: 40,000 words approx.

Cover Design: Garrett Leigh @ Black Jazz Design


What happens when “nothing serious” turns into something more complicated?

Mark O’Brien is finally being honest with himself. His relationship with Rachel is over and he’s moving out of the home they’ve shared for six years. They get along, but he can’t fix a relationship when the person he’s with is the wrong gender.

Jamie Robertson, one of the removal men, is huge and ridiculously gorgeous, and Mark is smitten at first sight. When a cardboard box splits, revealing items of a personal nature that Mark never wanted anybody to see, he’s mortified. But it sparks the start of a beautiful friendship with benefits.

As Jamie initiates Mark into the joys of gay sex, the two men get increasingly close and “nothing serious” turns into something rather important to both of them. But communication isn’t their strong point. Will either man ever find the courage to be honest about his feelings?

Please note that although this edition has been re-edited for publication, there is no new or additional content.

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

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

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

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Blog Tour: A Fool and His Manny (The Mannies #4) by Amy Lane

Amy Lane is here today with another one of her unforgettable blog posts in support of the 4th in her Mannies series, A Fool and His Manny. Read an excerpt below and find out more about this contemporary romance by checking out our 5 ❤️ review of it here.

Blog Tour Post 5

The Nanny I Wasn’t

By Amy Lane

Okay—I’ll admit it.

I was a sucktastic babysitter.

I wasn’t all that excited about playing run and jump games. I’d rather read kids stories and watch cartoons with them. And I never seemed to get the parents who said, “Hey, let them play in the air conditioning!” No—I got the parents who said, “They really like to be outside. Let them play for hours in the 100 degree heat. Run with them! It’ll be fun!”

I was dreamy. I forgot itineraries. I was not an authoritarian.

The little goobers walked all over me.

*sigh *

And don’t even get me started on the pastor’s kids.

Besides running me up and down the two flights of stairs in their tiny home and lying to me about what I was supposed to cook for dinner, they got me busted twice for watching Miami Vice after the kids went to bed. They weren’t supposed to know the television even worked.

And I’ll be honest. Until I was a teacher and then had kids of my own, I didn’t much like children.

So when I wrote mannies, I wrote the babysitters that I wasn’t.

Tino was organized—he knew Sammy’s schedule like the back of his hand, and he knew enough about kids to say, “Hey, that kid needs a break!”

Taylor was a keen observer. He had four kids to keep tabs on, and with the exception of losing Conroy once because his onsie matched his sheets and Taylor doesn’t have 3D vision, he had a pretty good idea of when Dusty was acting up, when Belinda was being bossy, when Melly lost her shoe, and when Conroy had a handle on all of life’s existential wonders.

Sammy played with his little brother and sister and his cousins. He wrote them songs, he taught them piano, he went to street festivals and on trips with them, and played games with them out at the pool.

And Quinlan—Quinlan was a nurturer.

By the time Dustin is old enough to pursue Quinlan, Quinlan knew his family much better than he knew himself. He knew that Belinda was bossy and he helped her get into nursing school. He knew that Melly was a little flaky, a little artistic, and was always fighting or making up or talking to her friends. He knew Conroy was a sweet-baby-honey-face and he only got upset if he was really in pain. Taylor was spoiled but kind, Saint Peter was not saintly, and Sammy’s brother and sister were also his to care for.

Quinlan knew enough about Dustin to be just a little bit nervous when Dusty announced his intentions—and he had good reason for that.

Quinlan knew that anybody that Dustin loved was going to have to be just as fierce, just as intense, and just as committed to Dustin as Dustin would be to him.

So my mannies were much better at childcaring than I was—until I had my own children, that is. But that’s okay. I grew into the role with time, experience, and empathy. My guys though, had to capture your hearts in the first chapter.

I know Quinlan captured my heart from the book before—I’m pretty hopeful he’ll grab you by the throat and make you love him before he frog-marches Dusty in front of his father for smoking in the boy’s room.

Even if it took Dustin seven more years.


Seven Years’ Distance

QUINLAN GREGORY’S body hurt. All of it. Every molecule.
He hauled the last suitcase out of the Lyft and paid the guy, then started carting his luggage—and his trumpet case—gingerly across the driveway, avoiding clots of dirt and tufts of grass on the concrete as he went.
Jacob had told him during his last phone call that the dog had gotten out and brutalized the new sod, but Quinlan hadn’t believed what a massacre it was until now. Anybody else would have disowned the ginger-haired mutt—aptly nicknamed Hellhound by Belinda, one of their daughters—but not Jacob and Nica Robbins-Grayson.
Quinlan’s bosses had a knack for picking up people and animals and giving them a home and then thanking them for all their help.
He should know—he’d been their manny for nearly seven years.
Their youngest, St. Peter (or, well, Peter, but Jacob and Nica insisted on calling him St. Peter in the hopes that God would be appeased and might not create a holy miracle and bless them with a seventh child) was seven this year, and Quinlan was wondering when they were going to let him go.
This job had been sort of a dream for a musician who traveled during the summer and took classes and worked night gigs in jazz bars the other nine months out of the year—but Quinlan’s last college tour had ended four days ago in a miasma of pain and dysentery, and he was twenty-seven years old.
It was high time he grew up, became an adult, stopped living in Jacob and Nica’s garage apartment, and found something responsible to do.
But first he wanted his snug little rooms, with the paneling Jacob had put in before he moved in, and the hardwood floors, and the rug Quin had bought in Vancouver, and the bed he’d put on layaway until Nica had bought it for him as a surprise when he’d come home from his summer tour the first time.
His fish tank.
The fuzzy blanket the kids had gotten him for his third Christmas with the Robbins-Graysons.
The pictures of him and the kids and the whole family at birthdays, graduations, and three weddings, including Sammy’s.
Oh, Sammy.
God. His home. It was his home, and he felt like crap on a cracker, and he needed his home.
He hauled the luggage up the stairs, both bags with his trumpet case under his arm, and was going to use the key but the knob twisted under his hand. Uh-oh—somebody must have left it open when they were feeding the fish. Maybe Dustin.
Dustin had been in his apartment. For a moment that shocked him out of his misery, even though the kids had been in and out of his apartment since the beginning, but then his stomach cramped again.
Well, no worries. The couch and television seemed unmolested, although there was a dirty dish and a coffee cup in the sink.
Quinlan set his luggage down, relieved beyond words. He worked out and ran—normally he was pretty strong, but after the stomach bug kept him hugging the toilet for four days, well, he was about done.
So ordinarily he would have noticed that the air conditioner was on, and someone was watching something in the bedroom, and every light and ceiling fan in the apartment was running.
But he was busy stripping his sweat-soaked shirt over his head, so it didn’t really hit him that somebody else was in the house until he opened the bedroom door and saw….
Oh God.
“Quin?” Dustin’s voice would hit him later—gravelly and breathy from passion.
What hit him first was the sight of the tall, muscular young man lying naked in his bed, cock in his hand, as Quinlan opened the door.
“Holy God, I’m sorry!” Quinlan shouted, slamming the door behind him. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry, Dusty. I’m sorry.”
“Jesus, Quin, what the fuck are you doing here?”
“Got sick.” Quinlan leaned against the door, weak and shaky. “Came home early. I’m sorry—I didn’t—wait.” Oh hell, he was really losing his touch. “Dustin Matthew Robbins-Grayson, were you jerking off in my bed?”
“Shut up!” Dustin shouted hotly, and Quinlan fought a flashback to those charming teenage years when the man currently naked in his room had been a Class 5 adolescent prick. “Shut up! I thought you were gone for five more days! How was I supposed to know?”
Quin’s head was swimming. “You weren’t,” he said, feeling dizzy and off balance and… oh hell, aroused. Dustin was twenty-one—not a child anymore—and the vision of him on the bed, legs spread, erect, abandoned to his own touch, was going to haunt Quin for possibly the rest of his life. “You weren’t supposed to know I was home. But what are you doing here?”
“Forget it,” Dustin muttered. “Look, just move away from the door. I’m dressed now. Pretend this didn’t happen. And—oh Jesus, if you tell my parents, I’m jumping off a bridge.”
Tell his parents? As. If.
“Dusty!” Quin cajoled, trying to inject humor into what, well, should have been a humorous situation. “Dusty, please. Man, I feel like shit, and it’s hotter than ass outside. Just… just let me shower and lie down on the bed and get some rest, and you can couch and tell me what you were doing here later, okay?”
“Quin….” Dustin’s voice held a familiar note—but one almost forgotten. Quin, you don’t get it. You’ll never understand.
And Quin found himself panicking. They’d been okay when he’d left, right? Well, they’d been changing—but they’d been okay. Dustin’s texts, his persistent, grown-up, take-me-as-I-am texts had been more than okay. They’d even had Quin dreaming… hoping… because Dustin had grown up. Right?
Oh dear God yes, he’s grown up. His chest has grown and his nipples have grown and his cock has grown….
Quinlan whimpered, because his head hurt and his heart was starting to hurt. Dustin was an adult now, and he made plenty of money working for his father at Jacob’s garage chain. He had resources. He really could flit out of Quinlan’s life like a butterfly.
“Dustin,” he begged, on about his last nerve, “please, man. Don’t rocket out of here like this. Just… just let me cool off and drink some water and we can talk. We were there, right? We were… we were doing okay, right? Don’t… don’t tell me we have to start from scratch again.”
“Would you?” Dustin asked suspiciously. “Start from scratch?”
“Well, yeah!” Quinlan said, exasperated. “Dustin, I’ve been part of your life for seven years. Do you think I want you to just take off and cut me out? Because I walked in on you… uh….” Masturbating in my bed? He made a sound then—a weak, sad one—and Dustin spoke, sounding like he’d made a decision.
“We’ll talk about what I was doing later.”
The doorknob turned, and Quinlan moved away so Dustin could open it.
For a moment they were face-to-face, Dustin with his straight brown hair parted on the side and swept over his forehead. He had hazel eyes—an odd combination of brown and gray—and a bold nose with a short jaw and strong chin. He’d been cute as a kid, but Quinlan had noticed in the past couple of years that he’d grown into a stunningly handsome man.
“You look like death, Q,” Dustin said, letting go of the defensiveness of being caught pants down, so to speak. And then… then he rocked Quinlan’s world. He reached out and grazed Quinlan’s cheek with the back of his knuckles. “I’m sorry I yelled. Go shower. I’ll get you an ice water, okay?”
Quinlan nodded weakly. “That’s sweet. Thanks—”
Dustin stopped him with—oh God—a finger across his lips. Unbidden, another moment flashed behind Quin’s eyes, of Dusty’s touch on his lips. “Not sweet,” Dustin whispered. “You know me better than anybody else in the world. You know what I’m not?”
Dustin had been rambunctious, hostile, precocious, and irritating. But according to the people who loved him best, he’d never been “sweet.”
Maybe. Quinlan had seen—in the last seven years, he’d seen the other parts of him, parts that even his parents might not have seen.
“I don’t buy the bad press,” Quin said, smiling slightly and pretending Dustin’s work-roughened finger on his chapped, tender lips wasn’t trying to light fires on a sweat-sodden peat bog. “Here—” He moved sideways and stayed leaning against the door. “I… I really have to clean up.” He’d thrown up on the plane. Twice. His muscles were already trembling from hauling his luggage up to the door.
Dustin stepped out of the room, wearing a T-shirt and cargo shorts, and looked him over critically. “All right,” he said, turning to take Quinlan’s elbow. “Let me run a bath. Let’s get you in some cool water, I’ll get you some Gatorade and some salt tablets, and let me call Mom.” He pulled Quinlan to the bathroom beyond the bedroom and sat him on the toilet before he ran the water.
Quin leaned back against the back of the commode and tried to ignore the cramping in his gut, now that the excitement was over.
“Yeah,” Dustin was saying as he ran the bath. “I, uh, actually had permission to be here—Mom and Dad thought you were going to be gone for another few days, and my apartment was getting recarpeted. I, uh—I mean, not that I didn’t like sleeping in your bed and all—”
He peeked up at Quinlan over his shoulder, looking coy and boyish—two words Quin had never associated with him. Ever. It took a moment to put together what he was actually saying.
Quinlan frowned. “You were… uh… thinking of… uh….” Oh God. No. Not now.
He slid off the seat and landed on his knees and lifted up the lid. As the cramps shook him and he heaved, he was aware of Dustin’s cool hand on his brow, of his strong arms and chest keeping Quinlan grounded.
“Jesus, Q, you’re in bad shape,” Dustin muttered. “Of all the shitty times…. Here.”
Quinlan wasn’t sure how it happened. He stopped heaving fluid, and as he was panting and recovering, Dustin, the kid he’d helped raise from puberty on, hefted him up, stripped him down, and set him in a lukewarm bath.
Not cold enough to make him shiver. Not hot enough to make him sweat.
He lay back against the tub and caught his breath, closing his eyes. “Thanks,” he mumbled.
“Don’t thank me yet,” Dustin muttered. “I’ll be right back with water and salt and some carbs—and my mom.”
“Oh Jesus. Your mom’s gonna see me naked?” Quinlan whined. He respected the holy hell out of Dustin’s mom. He sort of wanted to die just thinking about it.
“I’ll call Dad, then,” Dustin snapped. “Whatever. You look like shit, and I’m worried. And if you say I’m sweet, it’s my turn to puke.”
“But you are,” Quinlan murmured to Dustin’s retreating back. “I remember. You think I don’t remember how sweet you are?”
“Fuck off, Quin.”
But Quinlan’s eyes were closed, and he was drifting in the tepid water. Back, back, back, seven years ago, at the park wedding of Taylor Cochran and Brandon Grayson. Back to a warm, bright September day seven years ago, when the red dust of the foothills seemed to stain the very air, and Quinlan’s friend—Dustin’s cousin, Sammy Lowell—was looking happy, if not healthy, and very much in love.
And Quinlan was fighting off a terrible case of woe-is-me.

Dustin Robbins-Grayson was a surly adolescent when Quinlan Gregory started the nanny gig. After a rocky start, he grew into Quinlan’s friend and confidant—and a damned sexy man.

At twenty-one, Dusty sees how Quinlan sacrificed his own life and desires to care for Dusty’s family. He’s ready to claim Quinlan—he’s never met a kinder, more capable, more lovable man. Or a lonelier one. Quinlan has spent his life as the stranger on the edge of the photograph, but Dusty wants Quinlan to be the center of his world. First he has to convince Quinlan he’s an adult, their love is real, and Quinlan can be more than a friend and caregiver. Can he show Quin that he deserves to be both a man and a lover, and that in Dusty’s eyes, he’s never been “just the manny?”

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Author bio

Award winning wool-gather, Amy Lane lives in a crumbling crapmansion with the children who are still growing, a fur-baby mafia, and a bemused spouse. She has too damned much yarn, a penchant for action adventure movies, and a need to know that somewhere in all the pain is a story of Wuv, Twu Wuv, which she continues to believe in to this day! She writes fantasy, urban fantasy, and gay romance--and if you accidentally make eye contact, she'll bore you to tears with why those three genres go together. She'll also tell you that sacrifices, large and small, are worth the urge to write.

Tag Team Review: Risk Taker (Mixed Messages #3) by Lily Morton

Henry’s the odd man out. All his friends are settling down, and his reputation as the Hook-Up King of London seems more like a curse than a blessing these days. Especially when it keeps photojournalist Ivo, his best friend and the brilliant man he’s loved since they were fifteen, at arm’s length. But that’s where Ivo wants him, right? Putting aside his feelings, Henry decides to give up casual sex and look for the real deal. After all, he has no chance with Ivo - or does he?

Henry is everything to Ivo. Best friend, soul mate, the one person who has never let him down. The one person he is loyal to above everything and everyone. But Henry’s in a box marked best friend and that’s where Ivo’s kept him for nearly twenty years, despite steadily falling in love with the gentle man. And besides, why would Henry want to date Ivo? Burned out and injured, he’s the walking embodiment of damaged.

Distance has helped Henry and Ivo keep a lid on their attraction, but when they find themselves in the same city for a change—Ivo hurt and needing assistance, and Henry more than willing to provide it—the two best friends grow closer than ever, forcing a realization, and a decision. Risk their friendship for their hearts? Or can they have both?

From the bestselling author of Rule Breaker and Deal Maker comes a tender love story about two best friends who are perfect for each other, and always have been - if only they knew it.

*This is the third book in the Mixed Messages series, but it can be read as a standalone

combined average

Lost in a Book - 4.25 Hearts



I’ve been waiting my whole life forever since Rule Breaker for Henry to FINALLY get his chance to come alive. Let me just tell you that Henry did NOT disappoint. Henry and Ivo together are FIYAHHHHH!

Henry’s a family lawyer, great friend, hook-up champion, and in love with his best friend Ivo. He’s stable, loyal, comfortable with the routine of his life, and has decided to find love… or at least something close to it since he can’t have who he truly wants. Did I mention he's a ginger? Lots of good things going for Henry.

Ivo is an artist and photojournalist. He travels more than he's at home in London with his roommate, Henry.

"Over the years he has danced in and out of my life, chasing his dreams of being a photojournalist and running from his demons in faraway lands."

After an injury, Ivo has to stay put for a bit and that’s when the "friendship" changes. I adore Henry and Ivo together. Their back and forth had me laughing out loud. The antics they get up to with their friends had me cackling. This book has a much heavier feel than I was expecting. Ivo and Henry have a lot of baggage from the past that prevents them from moving forward and leaving readers with a major case of feels. There’s lotssssssss of pining y’all. It takes a million years (well, it seemed like it in booklandia) for them to move forward.

Henry and Ivo have a natural intimacy that goes beyond being best friends. Once the seal is broken on the physical aspect of their relationship, it’s game on. They have sex on lock down. Communication about their relationship?? Not so much. Who needs to talk when there's sex? The restaurant scene… *bites fist* Hot AF. Ivo is a master at keeping them on one track filled with orgasms. I love Ivo with his quick wit and humor. I’ll forgive him for his interesting takes on some of my favorite stories. Let's talk about Chutter sandwiches. *gag* Is that an actual thing? I'm too afraid to Google it. 🤢

Much of the MCs foundation happens off page from their childhood. We are privy to glimpses through flashbacks but not a lot. However, I didn’t need more. I felt their connection, friendship, and love.

Risk Taker *could* be read as a stand alone but both couples from previous books are still very much a part of the story. Lily Morton’s writing is always refreshing and I appreciate the dual POVs with how different Ivo and Henry are. There is one little critique that I had but it’s a preference thing. The way the conflict was resolved through the end felt a little off. I was waiting for something epic and walked away feeling happy with the HEA but slightly disappointed with how everything came to fruition.

A trigger warning should be added for flashbacks that depict verbal and physical abuse. I really enjoyed Risk Taker and definitely recommend it.

Is it too soon to demand request Silas’ story? Asking for a friend…

“‘You don’t have to be anything other than yourself with me,’ I say steadily. ‘That’s always been our truth, and it always will be.’”

Optimist ♰King's Wench♰ - 2.5 Hearts

Before I get into what didn't work for me let me just say how much I adored the first two books in this series. I actually pestered other people to read them because I loved them and wanted to share the love by force if necessary. I also pestered this author for a this book, so it actually pains me that I didn't love it as much as many other people, my co-reviewer included. Lastly, I will ABSOLUTELY read another book by Lily Morton even another one in this series. Especially if said book features Silas.

Risk Taker features Henry and his longtime best friend and ex-stepbrother, Ivo. Henry's been in love with Ivo since he first set eyes on him when they were boys but he's convinced himself that Ivo harbors only platonic feelings for him. Ivo and Henry have grown up together (something we get flashback glimpses of throughout the narrative) which typically is a trope that works for me. They know each other better than anyone else in the world, yet they cannot see the other's feelings? The feelings that were aliens to land and observe them would be like, ‘they’re into each other, no?’ or whatever the alien equivalent is. Maybe it’s a case of being too close to the situation to see it clearly but something about it didn't jive for me.

We get both of their perspectives and Ivo mirrors Henry's feelings. On top of that he's quite possessive and jealous particularly when Henry begins a series of horrific dates set up by his best friend Gabe who arranges a plethora of awful blokes for Henry to go out with in an effort to force Ivo’s hand. Henry is unaware of Gabe's ulterior motives and is subjected to a couple of truly humiliating experiences; however, he's making a good faith effort to put Ivo behind him so he soldiers on despite Ivo's increasingly bad mood and glowering.

Ivo is a photojournalist who's narrowly missed being killed by a car bomb and subsequent shoot-out when he returns to his and Henry's shared home. Expect a heavier feel to this installment due to Ivo's mental health issues; I would classify this as new adult and hurt/comfort. Truthfully, I wasn't expecting the heaviness and I missed the comedic elements found in the first two. The mental health aspects were handled well, not magically cured. But I didn't care for how Ivo, and Henry to a lesser extent, seemed to use Ivo's job as reason enough to continue the push/pull between them nor did I care for how this storyline abruptly played out. It was sweet and the sappy marshmallow in me responded, but it felt too convenient, too easy.

Henry and Ivo are opposites in many ways excepting their stubbornness. Both have atrocious communication skills which ordinarily doesn't bother me but it really became too much for me when coupled with the fact that both of them have, at one point or another, declared their feelings for the other yet they both continue to cling to this notion that they're piloting their love boats solo. It seemed contrived when literally all evidence points to the contrary.

Once they add sex into the mix and continued to hold firm to this non-communication track until a highly awkward and seemingly unnecessarily catty confrontation in a crowded club with Henry's ex-boyfriend forces both of their hands was the straw that broke my back. I hate dramatics in my life and in my reads so take that with a grain of salt. I need for people to use their words. I understand that’s scary sometimes but two supposed best friends since childhood who are closer than any two people can be should be able to have an adult conversation.

Dramatics aside they have chemistry galore and I thoroughly enjoyed their newly discovered kink for semi-public sex. I also enjoyed Henry's clotheshorseness and how much of his time is spent on sartorial matters.

Few authors are more capable of showing a connection between protagonists than Lily Morton and she did so again here. I never doubted their feelings for each other and there were parts of this story that I found emotional, but overall I wish both of them had been more willing to take a risk on each other a helluva a lot sooner.

Risk Taker could be read as a standalone though I wouldn't recommend it since both prior couples from the series make appearances and you don’t want to miss their stories! This I promise you. I loved catching up with them and seeing how happy they still are.

As always, my opinions are my own and YMMV.

ARCs were provided by the publisher in exchange for honest reviews.

Release Blitz + Giveaway: Drive Shaft by Geoffrey Knight

Celebrate the release of Drive Shaft with author Geoffrey Knight and Vibrant Promotions! Learn more about the re-release and enter in the giveaway for a chance to win an eBook copy AND a $5 Amazon gift card!

RELEASE DATE: 06.11.18


Jensen Rivers wasn’t looking for trouble. As the new kid on the block at Clyde’s Body Shop, all Jensen wanted was a job, a place where he could put his head down and ass up.

But Dean ‘Hutch’ Hutchinson plans on getting more than just Jensen’s hands dirty. Reckless and arrogant, drenched in sweat and dripping with a masculinity that cannot be tamed, Hutch is determined to claim victory over his new work colleague – both physically and sexually.

Will Jensen risk everything to find the love trapped behind Hutch’s fearless façade? Will Hutch bury the secret tragedy of his past before he throws away his last chance at a future? Will the dangers that confront them both be enough to tear them apart… or bring them together forever?

** This novel combines two sequential novellas previously published separately, titled Drive Shaft and Drive Shaft: Between a Rock and a Hard Place.


Jensen’s chest was smooth and brown, his back broad and wet with perspiration by the time he’d removed the Maverick’s radiator and replaced it with the new one. His blond hair had turned to mud-honey with sweat while he took down the leaning tower of tires and built a new, sturdier tower out back. Every now and then Hutch would roll out from under the car he was working on and pretend to look for a different tool, just to steal a glance at Jensen as he lugged the tires with his bare hands, sometimes three or four at a time, his biceps shining, veins straining.

When Jensen didn’t return after the last trip out back, Hutch got suspicious.

Outside, Jensen’s wide glistening shoulders drank up the hot sun. His right shoulder caught a bright flash of sunlight as he flung the last tire on top of the solid stack he’d made. He wiped the sweat from his brow with his forearm and left a murky streak, then something else in the yard caught his eye.

Over by the side of the auto shop, sitting on a second driveway behind an old pick-up truck, was a car.

Correction, it was a car concealed beneath a snug-fitting tailor-made car cover.

Jensen’s curiosity got the better of him and he wandered over. He squatted by one of the front tires, only able to see the bottom half of its gleaming black surface and sparkling alloys. Jensen smiled approvingly without even knowing it and murmured to himself, “Michelin Pilot Sport 2. Nice.”

The Michelin instantly gave him a pretty damn good idea what was under the cover and he couldn’t wait to see the rest.

He unfastened the clips on the front driver’s side and began to unveil the beauty beneath, getting the briefest glimpse of royal blue before—

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?”

Jensen let go of the cover. It parachuted back down over the hood of the car as he spun about to see Hutch glaring at him, coveralls still hitched low, leaving plenty of room for his scuffed hands to grip his hips, fingers hooked on his deep-etched obliques. And that tuft of pubic hair was still visible, just, where his coveralls hung loose and open.

Jensen felt light-headed, maybe it was the heat, but right now he wanted to reach inside those coveralls and lift out whatever was hiding underneath just about as much as he wanted to lift that car cover.

“I was…I couldn’t help myself…I was just kinda curious about what’s…under there.” He didn’t realise he was still looking at Hutch’s crotch.

Hutch followed his gaze down and couldn’t help but smirk. “Are you talking about my car or my cock?”

“The car!” Jensen snapped his gaze straight back up to Hutch, then suddenly realized he couldn’t look the grinning, gorgeous mechanic in the eye and spun about to once again gaze distractedly at the covered car next to him. He blurted nervously, “If I ain’t wrong it’s a fourth generation Dodge Viper coupe. 6-speed transmission. Triple first-gear synchronizers and doubles for the higher gears. Zero to a hundred miles in 7.8 seconds. Clocked at speeds faster than the Corvette Z06 and the Porsche 911 Turbo with a record of 202 miles per hour.”

Hutch raised one eyebrow, somewhat impressed by the kid’s knowledge, then corrected him. “7.6. She does zero to a hundred in 7.6 seconds. I’ve timed it myself.”

“Can I see it?”


Hutch crouched down, took the corner of the car cover in his hands and began fastening the clips. The coveralls sat even lower from behind, sliding down to reveal the top of his round hard ass cheeks and the slit of his crack. Jensen watched a trickle of sweat run down Hutch’s spine and glisten in his ass crack.

“Please can I see?” he pressed.

Hutch stood and stepped close to face the blond Texan.

Jensen could feel the heat coming off Hutch’s warm skin, smell the sweat from his chest and armpits. It was sweet. Intoxicating. Jensen felt light-headed again and shuffled his feet a little wider to steady himself. He took a deep breath.

Suddenly Hutch jabbed his finger into the dead center of Jensen’s chest and held it there, buried in the valley that ran down between the Texan’s pectoral muscles. “You want me to show you what I got? Then bring it. Tonight, you and me shut up shop, then it’s you and your little Vespa versus me and the Viper.”

“It ain’t a Vespa.”

“Whatever.” Hutch slid his finger slowly down Jensen’s pecs, zigzagging from one to the other.


Geoffrey Knight is the author of more than 30 gay fiction novels, novellas and short stories, ranging in genre from gay adventure, gay romance, gay suspense and gay comedies. He is the recipient of two Rainbow Awards including Best Mystery Winner and Best Overall Gay Fiction Runner-up. His work has been featured in several anthologies including Best Gay Erotica 2013, and he appeared as Guest of Honor at the inaugural Rainbow Con in Florida, 2014.

Geoffrey has worked in advertising, politics and journalism, but nothing is as fun as telling stories. He lives with his partner, their baby daughter, two dogs and two cats in a rambling old house in North Queensland, Australia, where the paint is fraying and life is good.

Amazon Author Page


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Review: Second Chance by Jay Northcote

Everyone deserves a second chance.

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

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

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

If I could stick more hearts to this story I would, in fact, I would stick ALL the hearts.

I finished Second Chance two weeks ago and I’m still thinking about the characters. It was like meeting new friends at pivotal points in their lives and I’m still fully invested even though I know an earned HEA was had.

Second Chance read so authentically I forgot I was even reading and I holed myself up for the day so I wouldn’t have to stop absorbing everything that was happening. Both Nate and Jack have returned home as adults and returning home is bittersweet. For Jack it’s definitely more bitter than sweet, but given his recent life choices and his relationship with his parents, it’s understandable. Nate has a solid family in his mom and a teenage daughter who isn’t easy, but who obviously loves him. Nate’s been settled in the village for a bit before Jack returns and when they first meet, Jack doesn’t even realize who Nate is.

Jack knew Nate as Nat back in school well before Nate transitioned and they were the best of friends. Both were loners until they found each other and the author gave a complete picture of their friendship and home lives via flashbacks throughout the book. When flashbacks work like they did in Second Chance, you get a story within a story and every bit of background evolves as it becomes relevant to current events so the reader gets added depth making the story just that much better.

As Jack and Nate got to know one another again as adults, the flashbacks also helped serve to give each of their younger voices the closure they never got when they were kids. Which made sense. Teenagers by nature are pretty self serving beasties in general and neither of them had the maturity to completely understand themselves much less anyone else. Jack was really pretty “normal” as far as teenagers go and he and Nat really had a special closeness. Nate was just beginning to understand why he wasn’t Nat and reading about him having to grow up as a teenage girl in love with her gay best friend is a recipe for heartbreak. As much as I did love the flashbacks, there was a melancholy air to them that got heavier as Nate’s story evolved.

Jack never understood why Nate cut off contact after school, but Nate has learned to be true in every aspect of his life. The honesty has served him well and in all truthfulness the story owes its strength to Nate’s honesty. Nate and Jack form a tentative friendship once again with a heavy dose of chemistry and Nate admits to Jack that he was in love with him back in the day and being best friends while Jack moved through a list of boyfriends was just too hard for Nate to watch.

Jack was honest with Nate too about his issues and the communication between the two of them was refreshing and necessary for this story. As the two got closer and decided to take their relationship to a physical level, Jack’s inner dialog was realistic and really very sweet. Jack was growing pretty smitten with Nate and more than anything else, he wanted to do right by Nate. A big part of that for the two of them was their compatibility sexually. There was no doubt there was intense attraction between them but Jack was in the dark about the specifics of Nate’s anatomy and what he was supposed to do. His naivete was charming and being that his concern was making his partner happy was sweetly impressive. Jack was lucky though, he was with Nate and Nate was open and let Jack know how intimacy works for him and Jack was wonderful about learning how to make Nate happy. The scenes between Nate and Jack were affectionately erotic and beautifully sensual.

The author really knows how to teach readers organically. Humans, being the nosy ass animals they are, are fascinated with what they don’t know. And let’s face it, what goes on behind closed doors or beneath the clothing of anyone is no one’s damn business. It doesn’t make anyone less nosy though and learning about transgender sexuality through relevant context is a pretty effective way to help understand human sexuality overall. No one should be defined solely by how, when or why they have consensual sex, but sexual orientation should always be respected and understanding and knowledge are invaluable to making that be a thing.

Remember when I said Jack wanted to do right by Nate? Well he did kind of blow it there towards the end. Jack’s parents weren’t cruel by any means, but they aren’t the most understanding and open either. Jack is in a pretty vulnerable place already and he’s not up to dealing with the feared fallout about their reaction to Jack’s relationship with Nate. Jack also felt guilty for not telling them about Nate, he knew he was being disrespectful to Nate, but he just didn’t have the confidence in himself yet. It really had nothing to do with Nate, but that’s easy to say when you aren’t the one being kept secret. An accidental run in made for an awkward and painful moment, but while the angst was true and earned, thankfully it didn’t last long. Jack learned a lot from Nate, most especially how to be brave. Jack pulled it together and did the right thing through lots of apologies and truth about what was in his heart for Nate.

The ending was a treat and I love where their lives are heading. It really is a beginning for them and I miss them already. This book has a permanent spot on my reread shelf.

**a copy of this story was provided for an honest review**

Blog Tour: Incubus Honeymoon by August Li

August Li is making their clubhouse debut to promote Incubus Honeymoon! Find out more about this urban fantasy tale and more about the author below!

At some point every author will be asked, or will ask themselves, “Why do you write?”

For me, the answer tends to be different for each book.

Incubus Honeymoon stemmed, at least partially, from a sense of powerlessness. I’m not looking to spark political debate or start arguments of any kind. But I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in having watched certain events unfold with a sense of unreality and dread.

Maybe there wasn’t much I could do about the direction the country and the world were going, but dammit, my characters could do something about their world spiraling out of control. The first thing they had to do was notice and accept that something was wrong. This can be as a big of a hurdle as the physical fighting. People like to believe they’re living in a world that makes sense, where their hard work and integrity will pay off with a comfortable life, where eventually good and right will prevail. It’s comfortable and comforting to be able to trust in those things, and it’s just the opposite when denial can no longer be maintained. That moment of acceptance is so crucial to a character’s development, because once they can no longer deny what’s going on, they have a choice: ignore it or do something.

Obviously characters who don’t do anything don’t make the best protagonists, but as I explored these characters, I found that what catapults each into action is as telling as the varied ways they choose to oppose evil and the loss of their freedom. Some are idealists (or maybe anarchists) while others require a personal loss or a personal stake to join the fray. Their tipping points are as different as their approaches to the fight. Some are only conditionally invested. Some are kind of just assholes who don’t like to lose.

Part of the fun of writing this book was imaging how one might confront injustice if given the opportunity to wield power—in some cases, magical power. But the even more fun part was the discovery that they wouldn’t react how I expected, how I would. I’m not quite a pantster; I usually have a loose outline with plenty of room for characters to act—and change my plans—according to their natures. What I learned from this particular group of characters was that often, those who have the most power often have less to lose. So they’re not always the first to charge into battle, and even if they are, it’s not quite the heroic act it is when a regular person does it. Even so, it’s sometimes the regular people, the people with the least ability to fight, the most vulnerability, and the most to lose who display the most courage.

Please don’t let this lead you astray. If you’re expecting white knights, you’ll be disappointed. Nearly every character in this book is some form of criminal, or at least someone standing at the very farthest edge of accepted society. But what’s legal, what’s socially acceptable, and what’s right can be very different—and very differently judged, depending on the character.

I also discovered there’s more than one way to fight. Now anyone who knows me or my work knows I like sword fights, gun fights, and blowing things up. I like to whack a deserving party in the head with a wrench. There’s no shortage of any of that. Promise. Some of it will be, I truly hope, quite satisfying. But you can also fight with information, revealing an enemy’s secrets to make their allies lose trust in them. One of the characters is a hacker, and it was a delight to imagine how they would use their skills. Just sowing doubt can be so effective. But so can support. Some characters fight with… love is probably an exaggerated term, but care? Inspiring others, letting them know you have their backs, that you care what happens to them, can go a long way too.

But so too can just being pissed off.

I hope you’ll have as much fun discovering the nuances of Inky, Blossom, Dante, Jet, Emrys, Raphael, and the rest as I did. Oh, and Charlene. Never forget Charlene.

I can’t wait to see who readers like and relate to best!

As the so-called magical creatures go, I’m low on the hierarchy, and my powers aren’t much good to human mages. I’m a lover, not a fighter, through and through. I’m also selfish, lazy, and easily bored. But I’m damned good at what I do.

Too bad that won’t get my arse out of this sling.

Do one—granted, uncharacteristic—good deed, and now I’m held hostage to an arrogant faerie prince, trying to track down the one who summoned him while dodging gangbangers, gun runners, and Nazis. Add the powerful mage guilds scrambling to gather firepower for some doomsday event they’re sure is around the corner, and my cushy life of leisure might be nothing but a memory. On top of that, something’s compelling me to change on my most fundamental level. I’m not sure what I’ve got myself mixed up in, but nothing will ever be the same.

Bloody hell.
Featuring a new twist on urban fantasy combined with fast-paced action and intrigue, the Arcana Imperii series books are standalone adventures, each completely accessible to new readers.

Buy links:

DSP Publications

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Review: Soul Bond by J.S. Harker

Stealing his heart.

As a thief and a warlock, Noah survives by using his wit and charm to prey on the privileged. His dangerous criminal boss wants an enchanted dagger belonging to a family of wealthy mages, including their pampered—but handsome—son, Ben. Failing to complete the job will be hazardous to Noah’s survival.

Noah bumps into Ben at a lavish party, and as soon as they meet, the connection’s undeniable, and it goes much further than ordinary attraction. Their bond reaches into their souls, entwining and changing their magic.

Which Noah thinks he can use to get to the dagger. After all, he isn’t sure this soul bond Ben seems so obsessed with is even real.

He also doesn’t count on being caught red-handed…. Or falling in love.

Another winner in the Dreamspun Beyond series and this one really balanced out the paranormal with the fluff so darn well. I was hooked on Noah and Ben immediately and was ready to learn all about Mages, Warlocks and the mythical/unattainable soul bond.
It isn’t possible. It is a story.
Being a hopeless romantic I am head over heels for the possibility that fate has one person out there for you and that usually, it’s the least person you’d expect. Maybe it’s because my husband and I on paper don’t make sense at all and yet we’re going on two decades together or maybe it’s just me being in love with love and watching fools fall… you know? Either way, the idea of fated mates or magical beings that can bond to one another that creates a romance far beyond the normal really turns my crank.

Being told with dual POV’s we get Noah first as he goes from a waiter at a high class Mage party into a bathroom to use magic to change his appearance. The description of the act was perfect down to the smell that happens when magic is used and we begin to know what Noah who is not a mage is doing at this party. It appears he has a job to do and that job is to steal a dagger. We aren’t told right away if being a thief if Noah’s normal MO but we are introduced to one hell of sexy man that turns Noah on at first looks and stirs his magic more than anyone ever has.

Oh but I adored Ben! Sure he is the son of a powerful Magus, but Ben is truly his own man. He is a fellow hopeless romantic and believes in the soul bond and has been searching for the man who would be his everything. When he spots Noah at the party and they touch, the spark is undeniable and even the knowledge that Noah is about to steal from his family doesn’t stop Ben in pursuit of what most believe will never be found.
“A soul bond is a rare occurrence. Some seek it their whole lives. Some believe they achieve it, only to discover someone else.”
“But it’s just a story.”
“Didn’t use to be. Once upon a time, everyone could find their mate if they tried.”
I am not going to ramble per my usual about this, but trust me I could. I loved every bit of this book to the masquerade element of Noah changing his appearance at the party to the Cinderella aspect of leaving his coat behind and Ben coming after him. I loved the opposites attract trope with not only Ben being a mage and Noah being a warlock, but the men being from opposite sides of the magic society and still choosing their bond and love above everything. This was super romantic full of suspense regarding the dagger Noah was to steal and what it will cost him if he doesn’t complete the job. It was amazing with these two as they learn what their magic can do when they are together and how to control it. It was beautiful to witness the intense and intimate moments between them and how I hope in my heart they begin to change the way their worlds react to each other and one day blend together to be stronger.

I simply loved this story of Ben and Noah and wish them nothing more than a bond that even the stills can’t break and many more breathtaking moments of love.

Release Blitz + Giveaway: A Mage's Power (The Inquisition Trilogy #1) by Casey Wolfe

Author Casey Wolfe and IndiGo Marketing celebrate the release of A Mage's Power (The Inquisition Trilogy #1) ! Check out today's blitz and enter in the $10 NineStar Press giveaway!

Title: A Mage's Power
Series: The Inquisition Trilogy, Book One
Author: Casey Wolfe
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: July 16, 2018
Heat Level: 2 - Fade to Black Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 70800
Genre: Paranormal, mages, witches, shifters, dark, magic

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Built on the bones of an ancient city, modern-day Everstrand is where master mage, Rowan, has set up his enchantment shop. When not hanging out with his werewolf best friend, Caleb, or studying, he dabbles in herbology and the controversial practice of blood magic. A prodigy who has already earned two masters, Rowan’s bound and determined to reach the distinction of grandmaster, a mage who obtains a masters in all five Schools of Magic.

Shaw works for the Inquisition, the organization charged with policing the magical races collectively known as magicae. Recently, it has come under scrutiny as magicae begin to disappear and reports of violence increase. With secrets of his own on the line, Shaw is willing to risk everything to find out just what is going on behind all the locked doors.

When Rowan and Shaw are entangled in each other’s worlds, it becomes evident that their hearts are as much at risk as their lives. They must find the truth and stop a conspiracy before it’s too late.


A Mage’s Power
Casey Wolfe © 2018
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One
The city of Everstrand came into view when Rowan’s dirt bike broke through the last of the forest. The engine whirred as he caught a little air over a bump, wind whipping at his blond hair. He laughed, leaving dust in his wake. Spring was fast approaching and Rowan was enjoying the sunshine and warming temperatures perhaps a bit too much.

The dirt roads leading from the Sacred Timber, where he lived, gave way to the paved roadways of civilization. Rowan much preferred the solitude of nature to the bustle of Osterian’s capital city, so it was just as well he tended to keep his trips there to a minimum.

Not that the city was completely horrible. It was ancient, and a lot of the original structures had been well-preserved as the city expanded over the centuries. The Everstrand Mages Guild was part of the oldest section. It sat on a broken piece of land that was enchanted to float in the air above the Grey Tides—visible even now. Chains kept it bound to the cliffside so that it didn’t drift away.

Rowan needed to stop by the Guild at some point, but he wanted to go to his shop first. One wouldn’t think he’d be able to make a living by being open a few days out of the week; however, an enchanter’s services were always a valuable commodity. Considering Rowan was the sole master enchanter in the entire city offering his services to the public, he wasn’t worried about losing business.

Having timed his arrival after the morning rush, Rowan had no problems getting to the shop. He cut through a few narrow side alleys to the Orchard Street Mall. He loved that it was all outdoors, restricted to foot traffic only, instead of a typical mall complex. It gave the area a certain charm, with the unique facades and plentiful landscaping.

Rowan parked his bike in the section reserved for vendors, permit tag sealed in place with magic to prevent theft. Satchel strap over his shoulder, he made his way down the cobblestone paths, past shops of every size and type.

Nestled between a bookstore and a pastry shop—that he frequented probably more than he should have—was Charmed to Meet You. Even now, the name made him cringe a little. It had been his late grandmother’s suggestion, and with no counter-name in hand, Rowan had relented. It seemed he was stuck with it too—at least his customers thought it was cute.

Once inside, he flipped on the lights and tossed his satchel onto the counter. He shrugged out of his brown leather jacket, hanging it on the rack. The weather may have been breaking, but riding his bike still required protection from the chill. It was nice enough to open the windows, which he did with a flick of his hand. A breeze swept inside, the fresh air swapping out the stale from over the weekend.

It was a small shop, designed more as a work space than a storefront, with all the shelving behind the counter holding his supplies. There were no displays or little charm trinkets lying around. Everything he did was custom. Let them go to a kitschy tourist trap if they wanted some run-of-the-mill good luck charm. He had better things to do.

Already finished with current orders, Rowan decided today was a good day to work on his own projects. He sat on his stool and pulled a thick book from his satchel before stowing the bag under the counter by his parchment, ink, and quills. It might have been old-fashioned of him, but he enjoyed the feel of a quill in his hand and handmade paper under his fingers—his grandmother’s influence, no doubt, as she had been the one to give him his first grimoire filled with parchment. After that, a notebook and pen simply wouldn’t do for anything involving his magical studies.

“Now, where was I?”

One of the few things he’d taken from his grandmother’s cottage was her magic books, but he hadn’t been able to read them until recently. Even looking at them had invoked powerful memories of her, and it was far too heartbreaking to consider. They had sat around, gathering dust, for the last half-dozen years, and Rowan thought it was about time to get over it. Thus, he’d begun pouring over her old grimoires and spell theory books in earnest.

Naturally, no sooner had he gotten settled, his cell phone chimed. It turned out to be his best friend, Caleb, and Rowan wasn’t surprised at the inquiry: “Lunch today?”

Rowan smiled while typing out a reply text: “Of course.” As though Caleb didn’t come out to Rowan’s cottage enough, the werewolf was always on him to hang out when he was in town. “Now hush. I’m studying.”

The returned zipped-lip emoji made Rowan laugh. “Damn wolf,” he said affectionately, shaking his head as he set the phone aside.

Not that the silence lasted long. From the back of the shop, Rowan heard a soft meow. He turned to find the brown tabby cat that roamed the neighborhood, slipping through the window and landing gracefully on a stack of books. “Hey, Badger.”

The cat meowed again, making his way along the shelves before jumping onto the front counter. Badger purred, rubbing his head against Rowan’s arm, demanding attention. Rowan scratched behind the cat’s ears. He certainly was an animal magnet.

Badger had shown up in the shop one day when Rowan had opened one of the back windows to vent the smoke from a failed experiment—not one of his prouder moments. Rowan had no desire for a cat, but he couldn’t just throw the guy back out into the wet snow either. Thankfully for Rowan, the cat didn’t exactly want to be kept.

Badger came and went on his own whims, although it seemed he’d picked up Rowan’s schedule and was sure to drop by to see him. Rowan figured part of it had to do with the fact he was keeping meat treats around. Not that he minded. Badger was a quiet, comforting presence who mostly took advantage of the warm, dry place by curling up on the counter and napping.

Caleb had saddled the cat with his name. Rowan wasn’t planning to name him—after all, he had proven to be his own animal—but Caleb had pointed out they couldn’t keep calling him “the cat.” Badger should have been thankful Rowan vetoed Whiskers.

The bell above the door announced the arrival of a customer, one of Rowan’s regulars. Most of Marian’s requests were idiotic, but he wasn’t about to turn down her money. If she wanted to keep wasting it at his shop, that was fine by him.

“Rowan, hon, there you are,” the older woman gushed, coming up to the counter. “Did you get my message?”

“I actually just got in.” Rowan may have sounded apologetic, but he wasn’t in the least. Marian had the habit of freaking out over nothing and believing she needed magical interference to deal with every little challenge. Think of the money, he reminded himself.

“Oh, I am in desperate need of your help. It’s my neighbor. The old fool has been trying to curse me.”

Rowan had to hold back an exasperated sigh. This was going to take a while. He closed his book regretfully.

“Curses are serious business,” Rowan said. “Are you sure?” Despite his words, he was already moving toward the shelves. They were set perpendicular to the counter, so he was still able to see Marian as he searched for various things he would require.

“I’m certain,” Marian insisted, as Rowan knew she would. “It’s my garden! Everything is just…dying. It was fine one day, and the next…” She threw her hands in the air, which was apparently supposed to mean something.

Rowan hummed in false agreement. “Yes, that does sound serious. Have you thought of reporting it?” Humoring her didn’t mean he couldn’t take a few jabs at her expense.

“Heavens, no. Those fools don’t do a thing. You should know that, dear.”

Rowan rolled his eyes. This is what I got a masters for?

It wasn’t the first time he’d thought it, and not even with Marian’s ridiculous requests. There he was, the youngest mage ever with a masters degree—now two—and he was humoring people who needed to keep plants alive despite their lack of green thumb, prevent a neighbor’s dog from shitting in their yard, or protect from griffin attack—because somebody told them they were rampant in the south of Osterian where they planned to vacation. Money was money, though, so Rowan stomached the inane requests and prayed for those that were a good use of his time.

“Do you think you can help me?” Marian asked, before cooing at Badger. He was thoroughly unamused, relocating himself to one of the shelves near Rowan. “He is such a beautiful cat. It’s so precious how he follows you.”

“Yes, he is,” Rowan agreed, Badger rubbing his head against his shoulder. “And, yes, I can most certainly help you out. If you have more shopping to get done, I can have it ready in about an hour.”

Marian clapped her hands together. “Oh, that’s wonderful. I do appreciate it.”

“No trouble at all.” He kept the fake smile in place until the door shut behind her. “One charm to stop you from murdering your own plants, coming up,” he griped. Looking at Badger, he raised a brow. “Why is everything a curse or whatever with her? I swear I don’t understand mundanes.” He spoke of those without magic.

Badger meowed as if he understood. Rowan smiled at him, gathering up the supplies he needed to make the charm in question.

He turned to another shelf, pausing when he saw the potion sitting there. “I forgot about this.” Rowan had been dabbling with potion-making lately. Despite not being an actual School of Magic, herbology—like divination and runes—was an offered course at many guilds. While anyone could learn such skills, magic could often enhance the effects.

“This…wasn’t exactly the color I hoped for,” Rowan admitted, turning the small glass bottle over in his hand. The sickly green liquid sloshed around, unchanged. “So much for that.”

He may have been something of a prodigy—passing his apprenticeship at eighteen, and earning his first masters at twenty-one—but he was far from great at all areas of magic. Likely, his grandmother would have kept him on track, except she’d died shortly after he opened Charmed to Meet You. She missed his second masters at twenty-four, and without her around to scold him, he’d spent the last four years messing around here and there with all sorts of other magic—including intensive study in blood magic—without truly settling on a new course of study.

Perhaps two masters would have been more than enough for any mage to have, but not him. He was bound and determined to reach the distinction of grandmaster, a mage who had obtained a masters in all five Schools of Magic. First, he needed to get through his next exam.


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Meet the Author

Author of gay romantic fiction, from contemporary to paranormal and everything in between.

For Casey, existence equals writing. History nerd, film enthusiast, music lover, avid gamer, and just an all-around geek. Add in an unapologetic addiction to loose-leaf tea and you get the general picture. Married, with furry four-legged children, Casey lives happily in the middle of nowhere Ohio.

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