Audiobook Review: Familiar Angel by Amy Lane

One hundred and forty years ago, Harry, Edward, and Francis met an angel, a demon, and a sorceress while escaping imprisonment and worse! They emerged with a new family—and shapeshifting powers beyond their wildest dreams.

Now Harry and his brothers use their sorcery to rescue those enslaved in human trafficking—but Harry’s not doing so well. Pining for Suriel the angel has driven Harry to take more and more risks until his family desperately asks Suriel for an intervention.

In order for Suriel to escape the bindings of heaven, he needs to be sure enough of his love to fight to be with Harry. Back when they first met, Harry was feral and angry, and didn’t know enough about love for Suriel to justify that risk. Can Suriel trust in Harry enough now to break his bonds of service for the boy who has loved his Familiar Angel for nearly a century and a half?

Listening Time: 6 hrs 50 min
Narrator: Gomez Pugh

Amy Lane’s paranormal books always have an epic feel to them. ‘Familiar Angel’ is no different, delivering a grand story of adventure and action, angst and pain, family, and romance.

Gomez Pugh did an excellent job with the narration. I’ve listened to his work before, so I knew I’d be in for a good listen!

‘Familiar Angel’ tells the story of Harry, a boy forced into prostitution and abuse, who did what he could to protect his brothers, Edward and Francis. Escape from their horrible situation came in the form of a sorceress, a demon, and angel.


The brothers were transformed into shapeshifters, and gained magical longevity. With a new family and home, they decided to use their new lives to help other victims of trafficking.

I would say this book is first and foremost an adventure tale. There is a lot of page-time given to the brothers’ rescue efforts, and interacting with other members of their network.

The addition of paranormal aspects to a modern-day issue, and the connection of the major conflict to Harry’s backstory, made for an interesting read.

There’s also a lot of focus on family. The brothers, and their adoptive parents Emma and Leonard, aren’t related by blood. But their bond stems from something deeper.

Through Harry’s POV, readers see what family means to him, and how it became his lifeline after being freed from the brothel. The book also leaves room for sequels for Edward and Francis, which I wouldn’t say no to!

That’s not to say the romance here isn’t strong. Through the decades, one being captured Harry’s heart and never let go. Suriel, an angel, has loved Harry for over a century.

But neither of the two admitted their feelings to each other. Instead, they captured fleeting moments together when they could.

Suriel and Harry have all the classic hallmarks of an Amy Lane romance. They’re absolutely devoted to each other, with a fatalistic edge. While readers are more so told than shown the build-up of their relationship, there’s no doubting that the two are meant for each other.


The big stumbling block in their union are Suriel’s status and responsibilities as an angel. It added a fair dose of angst to the relationship, but made the happy ever after all the more sweet.

Overall, this was an entertaining MM paranormal read, and an excellent audiobook, which leaves a lot of potential for a series!

A review copy was provided.

Blog Tour + Giveaway: Circle of Trust (Genesis Circle #2) by Aimee Nicole Walker & Nicholas Bella

Authors Aimee Nicole Walker & Nicholas Bella and Vibrant Promotions celebrate the release of vampire romance Circle of Trust (Genesis Circle #2)! Learn more about the second in the series and enter in the Circle of Trust (Genesis Circle #2) eBook giveaway! Two winners!

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RELEASE DATE: 08.07.18
Cirlce of Trust Cover
Lorcán Kennedy is a take-no-prisoner vampire whose grit is tested when slain vampires start showing up in his sector. His investigation reveals a blessed weapon was used in the slayings, which leads him to a rogue hunter with a grudge against vampires.
Christian Wolfe is a no-nonsense hunter who believes the only good vampire is a dead one, but his code of honor keeps his hatred in check. When his integrity is questioned, he will do anything to defend it, including work with his enemy.
Vampire and hunter unite to solve the case, although for very different reasons. Lorcán wants to prove he is worthy of his Regent title once and for all. Christian wants to uncover who is framing him for the vampire deaths. It sounds easy enough, but neither are prepared for the desire that arcs between them when their eyes meet for the first time. When longing glances give way to passionate kisses and scorching touches, these powerful beings will learn that their bond goes beyond mere attraction. It is fate.
Sparks and fangs fly in this second installment of the Genesis Circle, a paranormal romance series written by Nicholas Bella and Aimee Nicole Walker. This book contains explicit material and is intended for adults 18 and older.
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The knock on my door let me know Christian was waiting on the other side. I stood in front of the door and took a deep, calming breath. Jesus Christ, why was I so nervous? I’m over a century old, why was I acting like some schoolboy meeting his first crush? It was ridiculous. I silently chastised myself for being a dolt and opened the door. Ahhh, there he stood in all his handsome glory. He was looking at me with eyes that held desire and curiosity. There was also a bit of agitation in his expression. Well, let’s see if I could get rid of it and help him focus more on the desire and curiosity he was harboring.

“Come in,” I said, opening the door wider.

He stepped inside, and I closed the door, locking it.

“Okay, I’m here, what did you need to show me that you couldn’t send over the phone?” he asked, getting right to business. Okay, here was the dilemma. Do I show him what I know and risk killing the mood I was setting up, or do I just pounce on him, rock his world, and then show him what I’d discovered? Hmmmm, decisions, decisions.

I decided to make my move. I walked over to him and pushed him into the chair. He fell into it, legs flying up from the impact. I didn’t give him a chance to recover before I was climbing into his lap. I grabbed him by the back of his head and kissed those lips I’d been thinking about all night. I thought he would push me back, but he didn’t… at least not right away. He was kissing me again, giving me that same fire he burned me with in the alley, and I was melting in response.

I felt his arms embrace me as he kissed me harder, more passionately, as if he couldn’t help himself. I caressed his bearded cheek as I relished his tongue in my mouth. Even the taste of him was intoxicating. I wanted him. Just when it was getting extra hot, he must have found the wherewithal to hit the brakes. Like we needed him to do that.

He pushed me off him, and I landed with a hard thud on my ass. His muscular chest heaved as he sucked in deep breaths of air, attempting to gather his senses. He was staring at me now, his gorgeous blue eyes clouded with lust. It was what we both needed, and I wasn’t about to let his hatred of vampires ruin the moment I knew we both wanted.

“What the hell are you doing?” he asked.

“What we both want,” I said then climbed back into his lap and pressed my lips to his again. That time, he didn’t try to push me away. Instead, he began ripping off my shirt, sending buttons flying in every direction. Sure, it was a designer garment, but I was willing to sacrifice it to get Christian in my bed. I helped him take my shirt off me then I leaned back just enough to snatch his jacket and shirt from his body.

Oh yes, sweet baby Jesus, yes! His chest was covered in dark, black hair. Not too thick, but perfect for running my fingers through. That’s just what I did, too. I started from the trail leading to his treasure trove and worked my way up to his nipples, letting my fingers glide through his silky hair and over his smooth skin. I hadn’t been this aroused in I don’t know how long. I sought his lips again because they tasted so damn good. While I was lost in the pleasure of his mouth, I kept my hands firmly on those muscular pecs I’d been wanting to touch since I first saw him.

His hands were all over me, stroking my back until they reached my ass, and he gripped both cheeks, giving them a nice squeeze. I moaned as I broke the kiss and started sucking and licking his neck, making my mark. He was moaning too, and if I didn’t know any better, it would seem he was trying to seduce me to bite him. He turned his head, exposing his neck to me, and his natural scent floated up my nostrils, calling to my hunger. There was something special about the blood of the Institute hunters. The scent of it was more intoxicating than any other being I’d ever smelled. I always wanted to know what it tasted like, and my mouth began to salivate at the possibility.

I wanted to bite him, to taste his essence, the fluid that made his heart beat and his cock hard. I wanted his blood to flow into me just as his semen flowed into me. Soon, my love. I held my fangs in check and only sucked gently at the tender flesh of his neck, just below his beard. I rubbed my cheek against his, enjoying the rough hairs lightly scrubbing my face. In that moment, everything that had been bothering me seemed to disappear, and all that mattered was Christian.

I had to have more of him. I moved down, kissing and licking his chest, sucking his perky nipples. I didn’t stop there, we both raced to undo his pants and pulled them down and off. Finally, I got to see him fully naked, and what a beautiful sight he was. I let my eyes trail over him slowly, and they widened when I got to his erection. He was huge, bigger than any man I’d ever been with. Great holy moly, I should have done some squats and stretches before he came over to prepare for this beast.

Aimee Logo

I am a wife and mother to three kids, three dogs, and a cat. When I’m not dreaming up stories, I like to lose myself in a good book, cook or bake. I'm a girly tomboy
who paints her fingernails while watching sports and yelling at the referees.
I will always choose the book over the movie. I believe in happily-ever-after. Love inspires everything that I do. Music keeps me sane.
Nicolas Bella Logo

About me? Hmmm, I'm just a person with a wild imagination and a love for words who was sitting around the house one day and said, "Why hasn't anyone written a book like this before?". As with every storyteller, I wanted to share mine with the world. I like my erotica dark, gritty, sexy... and even a little raunchy. I'm not afraid to go there and I hope you aren't afraid to go there with me. When I'm not writing, I love watching movies and TV shows, clubbing, biking, and hanging out with family and friends. I love life.

I'd love to hear from you, feel free to send me a shout out!


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Audiobook Review: Secrets of You (Sunshine and Happiness #4) by Skylar M. Cates

It’s never easy to find redemption.

Carrying scars and regrets, River Darcourt avoids too much intimate contact. Among his friends, he is known as a quiet loner. Forget about love. It’s not something he will consider… until sweet, young, and tempting Morgan Hayes becomes his housemate. River closed his heart long ago, but the attraction is impossible to deny.

Morgan Hayes needs a change. He is moving out of his critical father’s home and in with his friends, including his secret/not-so-secret crush, River. Having feelings for River is a terrible idea. But what is a guy to do when the annoyingly sexy mechanic is just across the hall?

While Morgan has overcome ugliness and is ready for love, he’s just not sure River ever will be. They have both experienced pain in their lives. So Morgan dares River to take a chance, and love will either break their fractured hearts in more pieces or, just possibly, make them whole again.

Narrated by Michael Stellman
Listening Time: 7 Hours, 36 Minutes

I’m a big fan of “The Guy” series by Skylar Cates and binge listened to the whole series and fell in love. I hadn’t read any of the Sunshine and Happiness series when the audiobook for Secrets of You came through to the blog, but I did snatch it up pretty quickly. I conferred with another Unicorn who LOVES the books as to whether this was a standalone situation or a series commitment and thank goodness I asked Red because she let me know right away that if I didn’t do the whole series I would be missing out and damn she was right! Thanks Red! So, I backtracked, used a bunch of audible codes and binge listened to the first three books making my way to Secrets of You. It was a great ride and exactly what I expected from the author.

She’s amazing at writing relationship dynamics and they run the gamut of types and degrees in the Sunshine and Happiness series. I was really looking forward to Book 3, Close to You and I had mentally prepared myself to make that my favorite of the series, I mean really, it was Tomas and Marc’s story! And I did love it, very much, but, Secrets of You turned out to be my favorite of the four books in the end. It’s probably my weakness for misunderstood, heartbroken bad boys (River) and eternally optimistic rays of sunshine (Morgan).

What made these two so good together was their differences and their resilience. They both had been through some incredibly difficult times as of late, but deep down, they both still wanted to be happy. It was understandable they were a little reticent to be jumping into a relationship together, and if they had I would have called BS on it, so the roomies with benefits (while a convenient trope) was still a perfect avenue for them to explore one another both in out of the bedroom. The setup where all the other guys were gone on a cruise was convenient but necessary. There’s no way River would have opened up to Morgan the way he did if the rest of the friends had been present.

My favorite parts of the story were the quiet times between the two while they were home alone. Even if they were supposed to be keeping it casual, it was obvious they were meant to be together by way of the care they took with one another. It was quite sweet to see them fall into a relationship without even consciously realizing it. Accidentally in love is one of my favorite things.

Of course, nothing is that easy and it would be a cop out to not give these boys some angst to work through given everything they’d been through, but it wasn’t overdone and the issues they had made sense for them both separately and together. River’s story surprised me more than once and finally being in his head to get his impression of the relationship he had Brendan broke my heart and really made the story something so much more than what I expected. It also gave me more hope for his relationship with Morgan long term. It was a roller coaster I wasn’t anticipating and I love when a book gives me that!

Another thing that grabbed me when the audiobook came up for review was the narrator. I love Michael Stellman’s voice. His tone and organic narration get me lost in the stories he reads. I highly recommend listening to anything he is a part of. While each of the Sunshine and Happiness audiobooks has a different narrator, I thought that worked out really well for the series. There are a lot of characters and having different narrators gave each audiobook a distinction that probably wouldn’t have been there otherwise. Michael Stellman was the perfect pick for Secrets of You though. He could read an instruction manual to me and I’d be happy.

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

Giveaway + Blog Tour: Shelter from the Storm by Kate Sherwood

Kate Sherwood and Riptide Publishing are here today to promote the recent release of Shelter from the Storm! Find out more about this fantasy romance and be sure to leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway for a $10 Riptide credit below. Good luck!

About Shelter from the Storm
A healer and a warrior fight to survive the winter . . . and each other.
Grif is tired of life as a mercenary—tired of life, period. So he heads off into the mountains, not much caring whether he lives or dies. But when his indifference leaves him unconscious in a snowbank, a stranger finds him and insists on dragging him back from death.
Kiernan doesn’t really have time to nurse a stranger back to health; he’s on an important mission. He doesn’t know why the message he’s carrying is significant, but he’s determined to deliver it, even if it means risking his life in the winter mountains. Still, he can’t just walk away from a fellow traveler in need.
Grif didn’t want to be saved, and he sure as hell doesn’t want to be stuck with an annoying, naïve do-gooder. But since when do the mountains give men what they want?  The snow is too deep to travel. Food is scarce. Grif and Kiernan learn to depend on each other, and eventually to care about each other. Neither of them wanted it to happen. But sometimes the mountains don’t give men what they want; sometimes, the mountains give men what they need.

About Kate Sherwood
Kate Sherwood started writing about the same time she got back on a horse after almost twenty years away from riding. She’d like to think she was too young for it to be a midlife crisis, but apparently she was ready for some changes!
Kate grew up near Toronto, Ontario (Canada) and went to school in Montreal, then Vancouver. But for the last decade or so she’s been a country girl. Sure, she misses some of the conveniences of the city, but living close to nature makes up for those lacks. She’s living in Ontario’s “cottage country”--other people save up their time and come to spend their vacations in her neighborhood, but she gets to live there all year round!
Since her first book was published in 2010, she’s kept herself busy with novels, novellas, and short stories in almost all the sub-genres of m/m romance. Contemporary, suspense, scifi or fantasy--the settings are just the backdrop for her characters to answer the important questions. How much can they share, and what do they need to keep? Can they bring themselves to trust someone, after being disappointed so many times? Are they brave enough to take a chance on love?
Kate’s books balance drama with humor, angst with optimism. They feature strong, damaged men who fight themselves harder than they fight anyone else. And, wherever possible, there are animals: horses, dogs, cats ferrets, squirrels… sometimes it’s easier to bond with a non-human, and most of Kate’s men need all the help they can get.
After five years of writing, Kate is still learning, still stretching herself, and still enjoying what she does. She’s looking forward to sharing a lot more stories in the future.
Connect with Kate:
To celebrate the release of Shelter from the Storm, Kate is giving away a $10 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on August 26, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following along, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

Blog Tour + Giveaway: A Tangled Legacy (Legacy #1) by Mickie B. Ashling

Mickie B. Ashling and IndiGo Marketing visit the blog today with A Tangled Legacy (Legacy #1) blog tour! Ashling chats a bit about her new series (and inspiration)! Plus, there is exclusive content and a $25 Amazon gift card giveaway included! Good luck!

Title: A Tangled Legacy
Series: Legacy, Book One
Author: Mickie B. Ashling
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: August 6, 2018
Heat Level: 3 - Some Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 70900
Genre: Fantasy, fantasy, intersex, magic, royalty, gay, age gap, witches and warlocks, bisexual

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Prince Colin of Sendorra would have been the spare instead of the heir if fate hadn’t intervened. Like his father and forefathers, Colin is expected to marry and father a child or his principality reverts to Spain at the time of his death. Filling the royal nursery with healthy babies seems easy enough until Princess Charlotte—his childhood friend and intended bride—breaks off their engagement.

Nobel Prize winner—and powerful gray witch—Alain de Gris isn’t looking for love. Science and research have taken center stage for years until he walks into a club and lays eyes on Colin, thirteen years his junior.

Bisexual by nature, Colin seeks to avoid another engagement repeat by shying away from a same-sex relationship. There are no acceptable alternatives to provide legitimate offspring if he follows his heart.

But Colin can’t stay away from Alain and the witch finds him irresistible. Ignoring the absolutes isn’t easy when a legacy is in jeopardy. And while magic may offer a solution, it could also create more problems.

Author Visit + Exclusive

Hi all! Mickie B. Ashling here. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to stop by and share an exclusive excerpt of my newest release, A Tangled Legacy. The idea for this novel started after I finished the prequel, Once Upon A Mattress, which was included in the Once Upon A Rainbow Anthology, Volume I. It was my first foray into the Sci-Fi/Fantasy genre, and I had so much fun I decided to write a longer piece. Although A Tangled Legacy is technically a sequel, I consider it to be a spinoff, and it can definitely be read as a standalone. The good news for those who are interested in reading the short story is that my wonderful publisher has decided to include it as bonus content if you purchase the paperback of A Tangled Legacy. 
Colin gets ready for his first date.
After the call ended, I panicked. All my life I’ve been shielded from danger, real and imagined, and I’d just agreed to meet up with a guy I barely knew. By myself. David and Sam wouldn’t be at the club two nights in a row, and I sure as hell couldn’t show up with bodyguards. Alain would take one look at them and realize I was not only too young, I was a fucking liability. His age and barely disguised contempt for my closeted status gave me reasons to believe I’d made a terrible mistake. Or not.
Alain’s reticence was actually a good sign. If he were a true predator, he’d have agreed to meet me no matter the obstacles. My logic might be colored by pride and desire, but I wasn’t going to back out after twisting his arm. The endgame remained a mystery. Wanting to avoid a male pregnancy at all cost had cast a shadow over my sexual experiences. Attracted to other men, I’d messed around with guys at boarding school, but I always ended up going back to Charlotte, determined she would carry my heir. We’d agreed to date others, in part because we were too young to be tied down, but also because we were naturally curious. Ultimately, the experiment had broken us apart. She knew I was torn between my duty and my natural inclination.
Our breakup had gutted me, and I had vowed to do better the next time I got engaged. So why was I jumping headfirst into a possible disaster? Once the summer was over, I’d have to return to my old routine and sit down with my parents to work out a plan to find a bride. The rules of our principality hadn’t changed since I was born. Like my forefathers, I was expected to sire a legitimate heir before I passed or Sendorra would revert to Spain.
Throwing caution aside, I decided to trust my gut instinct—hook up with Alain regardless. What harm could one night do in the grand scheme of things? Deciding what to wear presented another challenge. Should I try to look older or parlay my youth? I settled on a tight black button-down and white jeans. The black would highlight my blond hair, and the white would draw Alain’s attention to the right place. I was well-endowed and wouldn’t hesitate to use all the weapons in my arsenal—a thirteen-year age gap was difficult to ignore. I couldn’t possibly compete, experience-wise, but unspoiled looks could work to my advantage. If I’d managed to hold his interest the first time, I could do it again. My recently shampooed hair gleamed, falling in shiny waves around my face. The image staring back at me was as good as it could get. I picked up my car keys and snuck out of the villa.
As I drove into town, I wondered again if I had the nerve to go through with this. I was clutching the steering wheel in a death grip. I forced myself to relax. What was the worst that could happen? Alain would say thanks but no thanks.
Are you certain this is wise?
That pesky voice again. “Stay out of my business.”
Someone’s got to keep you in check.
“It’s not going to be you.”
I’ll stick around just in case.
“Like hell you will.”
At the club, I parked in the corner spot, which was vacant again, and paid the entrance fee. It was packed, and I scanned the crowd but couldn’t spot Alain. My initial anxiety reared its ugly head, and I wondered if he’d had a change of heart. At the bar, I asked for a club soda with a twist, deliberately keeping alcohol out of the equation. No one could possibly accuse me of being too drunk tonight.
The bartender stared at me. Unless he was a celebrity stalker, there was no way he’d recognize me. There had been a lot of media coverage on my twentieth birthday party, but that had been almost a year ago. Unlike many celebrities, I was camera shy and preferred to keep the photo ops to a minimum. Nevertheless, I wasn’t going to give the bartender the opportunity to figure out if he’d ever seen my mug.
I found a spot on a raised walkway, where I could keep an eye on the entrance. This strategic position would allow me to get a second look to make sure I’d made the right decision. Memories of our encounter had plagued me for the last twenty-four hours, and in my dreams, he got better and better looking.
My pulse quickened when he finally stood at the front door. As I soaked up the vision of Alain in a tight T-shirt and ripped jeans—unexpected given his age—anticipation thrummed in my veins, obliterating the fear and indecision. My feet moved of their own accord. Finally, we were standing eye to eye, and I felt this crazy energy swirling between us.
“You’re here,” I said lamely.
His tiger eyes crinkled with amusement. “I’m true to my word.”


A Tangled Legacy
Mickie B. Ashling © 2018
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One

I slipped through a break in the eight-foot hedge that separated my granny’s rose garden from our garage. It was the same gap I used whenever I snuck out of the palace. Familiar with the prickly branches, I knew how to get through without a tear or a scratch. My bodyguards would be frantic the minute they realized I was missing, but the chance to sample nightlife as an ordinary man instead of a prince was too tempting.

Saddled at birth by a title I didn’t deserve, I’d spent all my life trying to convince everyone, myself included, that I had a right to exist. It wasn’t my fault that my twin, older by five minutes and thus the legitimate heir apparent, had been stillborn. Survivor’s guilt weighed heavily on my psyche, although it was pure chance that he died and I didn’t.

More than likely, the problem had lain with my method of conception. That story was glorified in the annals of our nation’s history. Male pregnancy had been risky from the word go, and no one knew this better than the man who gave me life, my father’s consort, Errol, the Duke of Maitland. He was a commoner who’d received the title after he married my other father, Prince Sebastian, who was heir apparent at the time. They’d been delighted to welcome me into the world, but it had been bittersweet after they were informed that my brother hadn’t made it.

Nonetheless, I was loved and pampered from the moment I first opened my eyes. Everyone doted on me, and I had a wonderful, albeit lonely, childhood. Once in a rare while, someone heartless would point out that I was the spare who’d usurped his brother’s title, but the incidents were few and far enough apart to be ignored.

Of course, no one bothered to ask me how I felt about having two dads and no mother. Not that they were bad parents—far better than most, or so I’d been told—and my granny, the Dowager Princess Alexandra, and her ladies-in-waiting provided all the feminine influence I could possibly need, but that didn’t stop me from wondering if I’d be a different person had I been created conventionally.

As things stood, I was determined to cram as many life experiences as possible before assuming the throne. Hopefully, my father, the current ruler, would live well into his seventies so I could achieve my goals. Since my twin was watching me from somewhere beyond these earthly boundaries, I wanted him to take comfort knowing I was doing a fine job with the role I’d unintentionally usurped.

My red Beemer purred to life, and I inched my way out of the garage, hoping no one would hear the engine. Most of the staff had already gone for the day. It was late, way past dinner, and the odds of being stopped were slim. Thankfully, my exit was uneventful.

I drove slowly until I hit the open road and gassed the engine when the palace faded from view. Dancing was on my mind, and the songs blaring from my radio helped to put me in the right mood. Since I had succeeded in a clean getaway, I decided on something different tonight. There was a new club in town—one that catered to a sexually fluid crowd—and this would be the perfect opportunity to check it out.

My interest in exploring my gay side wasn’t something new. I’d been attracted to both sexes growing up but had chosen my childhood friend, Princess Charlotte of Navarre, for my future bride. My fathers had been delighted, but they warned me things might change. A first crush seldom worked out, they’d cautioned, but I was determined to make it work, and thus avoid the complications that might arise from a same-sex union. Rather than risk another man’s life, or that of my unborn child, I would go the conventional route and marry a woman. Charlotte was the perfect choice, until she wasn’t.

My best friend, the sweet girl who’d promised to be my forever love, no longer held my interest, nor I hers. Our recent breakup—remarkably amicable thanks to multiple shots of vodka—signaled the end of childhood dreams and aspirations. And now, I was single again, trying to figure out what to do with the rest of my life. Until I turned twenty-one. Then the invisible clock would start ticking, and pressure to marry and begin a family would escalate.

At the club entrance, I scanned my surroundings. Across the mass of heaving bodies, someone caught my eye. The stranger’s dark hair was combed back, probably tied in a low tail, but I couldn’t say for sure. He was surrounded by people but ignored the crowd after our eyes locked. Even from a distance, the tingling in my groin led me to believe we’d be a good fit.

My royal status precluded random pairings as the inevitable fallout would be disastrous in more ways than I could count; however, the intensity in the brunet’s gaze was pushing me to break a few of my own rules tonight.

I was wearing a tight navy-blue sweater to complement my eyes, and a pair of skinny jeans. The sweater’s fabric stuck to me like a second skin, the perfect showcase for hard-earned shoulder and arm muscles. My blond hair was chin length, and I normally tucked it behind my ears. Even though I’d been told many times that it needed to be at least two inches shorter, I resisted because it was one of the few things in my regimented life I could control.

As next in line to the throne, I’d been brought up with a strict code of conduct, and I did my best to adhere to tradition. But with my formative years behind me, there was less room for mistakes. Eyes were on me twenty-four seven, and slipping through the proverbial cracks was always a thrill. My energy was on high alert tonight.

Although I had Prince Sebastian’s fair coloring, I was built more like my other father, Errol. My wide shoulders, narrow waist, and muscular thighs combined with my height—six two on bare feet—were imposing, especially in formal attire. My facial hair was more a heavy scruff than a beard, but it was a disguise I’d adopted after my sixteenth birthday. Some know-it-all mentioned I was too young to be in such a position of power. The beard seemed to have the desired effect, adding the necessary years and a certain flair that drew men and women in equal measure.

My stranger disappeared from the dance floor, and I headed toward the rear of the club. There was a room, where one could presumably get more intimate, and I glanced around, hoping to spot him. He seemed to have vanished. Irritated that he’d eluded me, I went back to the main area and ordered a beer and a shot. Killing time until someone else caught my eye, I ordered another one-and-one after inhaling the first, and one more after that. The sudden buzz didn’t do much to improve my mood. I’d been looking forward to a few hours of mindless fun, and sex had been high on my list.

I cleared my tab with cash to stay incognito and decided to make one more attempt to find the brunet. As soon as I entered the dark room, I felt the man’s presence. He was leaning against a wall, staring at me with purpose. We met halfway, and I was hypnotized by catlike eyes, an interesting mix of browns and greens. The chemistry between us was sending shock waves directly to my groin. I didn’t want to appear inexperienced, but I hadn’t been with a guy in a long time, and I was nervous. It took a boatload of willpower to keep up my cool façade.

Finally, the stranger broke the silence. “Are you alone?”


Circling my waist with strong arms, he dragged me against his body. We were the same height, and as our mouths got closer, so did our hips, but I avoided his kiss. I wasn’t ready for that yet and hoped he’d get the message. Without faltering, my hookup deftly moved to my neck and slowly licked his way up to the outer shell of my ear, whispering dirty nothings along the way. I could feel the barriers crumbling as my need took over, and the next time he tried to kiss me, I let him.

His lips were surprisingly soft, but stubble against stubble was a sensation I’d never felt before. Gradually, I responded to his questing tongue and let his strong hands clutch my ass cheeks and drag me against his growing erection. The jolt of desire made him reckless.

“Can we get out of here?” I asked hopefully.

“You bet,” my mystery man answered. He held my hand and led me toward the exit. A few seconds before we’d made a clean getaway, I felt a heavy hand on my shoulder. David, the royal event planner, and his partner, Sam, stood in our way.

“What are you doing here?” David asked, ignoring the guy beside me.

I was surprised to see him and went on the defensive. “None of your damn business.”

David was visibly shocked by my combative attitude but stood his ground. “You’ll be sorry in the morning.”

“Take your hands off him,” the stranger snarled. “He’s with me.”

“Look,” David said, trying a more amicable approach. “You don’t know who you’re dealing with, and he’s obviously had too much to drink.”

“He gave me a clear message, and I’m acting on it.”

“Think again.”

Sam and David sandwiched me and headed toward the exit. My hookup was probably fuming, but our connection had been broken, and I couldn’t find the energy to put up a fight. David got behind the wheel of the car, and Sam sat in the back seat beside me.

After a few mild protests, I slumped against Sam and drifted off…


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Meet the Author

Mickie B. Ashling is the pseudonym of a multifaceted woman who is a product of her upbringing in multiple cultures, having lived in Japan, the Philippines, Spain, and the Middle East. Fluent in three languages, she’s a citizen of the world and an interesting mixture of East and West. A little bit of this and a lot of that have brought a unique touch to her literary voice she could never learn from textbooks.

By the time Mickie discovered her talent for writing, real life got in the way, and the business of raising four sons took priority. With the advent of e-publishing—and the inevitable emptying nest—dreams of becoming a published writer were resurrected and fulfilled in April 2009.

Mickie discovered gay romance in 2002 and continues to draw inspiration from the LGBTQA community and their ongoing struggle to find equality and happiness in this oftentimes skewed and intolerant world. Her award-winning novels have been called “gut-wrenching, daring, and thought provoking.” She admits to being an angst queen and making her characters work damn hard for their happy endings.

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Tour Schedule

8/13 - Love Bytes
8/17 - Joyfully Jay
8/20 - Queer Sci Fi


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Giveaway + Blog Tour: Rocking the Cowboy by Skylar M. Cates

Skylar M. Cates is here today to celebrate the release week of her new Dreamspun Desires title, Rocking the Cowboy. Find out more about this contemporary romance, read an excerpt and leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway for a $15 DSP gift card too! Good luck!

See our 5 Heart review HERE

Skylar, here.

 Thanks for hosting me!  I’m excited to share my upcoming writing news as well as my thoughts on Rocking the Cowboy. I’ll also be sharing a sexy excerpt.

Writing News:  I’ll be self-publishing a Christmas book. It’s about two neighbors who feud over a Christmas lights competition (look for it on Amazon in December 2018)!

 My newsletter is releasing in late August/early September with some great giveaways and exclusive content. If interested, you can sign up for it here:

Today, I wanted to chat about first crushes. Do you remember your first crush? I’m betting you do.

Mine was an older boy, my sister’s friend, and he probably knew how I felt. For years, I agonized over him and analyzed his every smile or comment to me. What did his “thank you” really mean? Did he know I would be home today?  I filled pages in my worn diary, confessing my secret hopes that one day he would be mine.

Was he ever mine? Yes, for a time, we got involved, but it didn’t last long.  Unlike the romances that I write, my crush was better as a fantasy.

 Still, I was always glad for the awakening of feelings in me. There was nothing sweeter than the wicked anticipation of a future love.  Whether your crush reciprocates, rejects you, or lives in ignorance of you, the strength of a crush remains.

In my upcoming novel Rocking the Cowboy, a first crush is revisited. Remy might be a famous pop star, but in the presence of his crush Jed, he is reduced to the awkward boy he used to be.


“I want to fuck you,” Jed said, his words simple but his tone low.

“Yes, please,” Remy said, a light filling his expression. He flipped onto his stomach, and then he gripped the headboard. His skin was golden all over, even his ass. Jed had no idea if it was genetics or if Remy suntanned in the nude, maybe both, but he was exquisite.

Jed swallowed hard. “I want it to be good.”

Jed was no virgin, but neither was he a rock star. A little of his doubt must have crept out in his voice, because Remy turned his head to meet Jed’s gaze. “It already is good. I needed this so much. I’ve felt empty for so long, and being with you… it’s good.”

“It can’t be forever. Or even for much longer.” Jed’s heart wailed in immediate protest to his gruff words. Against reason, he wanted to dream about Remy forever in his bed.

Remy smiled, a little sadly. “But it can be just for us, special and real. And when the rest of the world fucks us over, we can have this memory.”

Jed bent his head and kissed Remy’s nape. He still had his hands on the headboard, making his back muscles tense. He glided his tongue down Remy’s spine. Oh God, that ass. Jed ignored it for a moment, because as soon as he spread Remy’s asscheeks, he’d be lost. He kissed Remy’s thighs, felt the muscles quiver.

“Don’t touch yourself,” Jed said as Remy began to move his hand. “Let me.”

With a moan, Remy left his hands where they were. Jed couldn’t believe it. Remy surrendered so beautifully in a way Jed could never do.


Opposites who go together like country and rock ’n’ roll.

Long before he was a superstar, Remy Sean had a secret crush on Jed Riley. But Jed sees Remy as a spoiled pop rocker and an extension of his father’s control. Still, Jed is willing to let Remy hide from the press on his ranch—but only as a way to get his father out of his life and business for good.

Used to being admired and fawned over, Remy keenly feels the sting of Jed’s dismissal. Can he make Jed see him as more than a pain in the ass? Or is Jed too tangled up in his ranch to see past his old hurt?

Jed doesn’t believe someone desired by so many fans could want him, a simple cowboy. But Remy is determined to change Jed’s mind and steal his heart….

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Skylar M. Cates loves a good romance, especially ones that are both steamy and emotionally satisfying. She is quite happy to drink coffee, curl up with a good book, and not move all day. Her best-selling novels feature strong, passionate men. Skylar loves to craft stories where realistic men are challenged with emotional situations. Skylar’s character-driven series will often feature close-knit families, animals, and loyal friendships being tested.

Skylar dreams about spending her days writing novels, walking along the beach, and listening to good live music. She also dreams of eating dessert without weight gain and robots cleaning her house. But she knows she can’t have it all… yet. Although lately the laundry room is the farthest place she has visited, Skylar still loves to chat with people from all around the globe.

Skylar can be found on Facebook, Twitter, or on her blog.

Tell me one detail about your first crush. One lucky commenter will receive a Dreamspinner $15 gift card
Contest closes August 29th at 12am EST