Audiobook Review: Heart Untouched (Hearts Entwined #3) by Andrew Grey

An accident crushed Duncan's Olympic dreams and landed him in a chair, but he knows it's time to get his life back on track - and he has a plan in mind. Working with his friend Todd, an Olympic skeleton racer, on a promotional campaign will not only help Duncan regain some direction, but it'll give Todd the financial boost he desperately needs. The sport Todd loves is draining his resources - so much so that he's thinking of giving up racing just to make ends meet.

As the two men work together, their friendship blossoms into much more, and suddenly the future is looking brighter than it has in a long time. But just when love, happiness, and success seem within their grasp, the USOC steps in with plans to stop their campaign. That'll mean an end not just to Duncan's business, but to Todd's dreams...and Duncan isn't about to let that happen to the man who means everything to him.

Listening Length: 5 hours and 38 minutes
Narrator: Greg Tremblay



Reviewer: Shee Reader

This audiobook is classic Andrew Grey! It is a beautifully written gently rolling tale of two men who need each other and work out the path to happiness and love. Andrew writes characters with real problems and disability that are written so accurately and sensitively that any reader can connect to and enjoy the story. As a disabled reader, I felt represented without being made to feel helpless or hopeless. Duncan’s struggles were so relatable and realistic.

There was plenty of engagement in the story to keep me reading, and the characters were so well formed and charming that I was rooting for them from the start. Not officially a series, this book has characters in that overlap with Heart Unseen and Heart Unheard, both stories having a main character with a disability and they are all equally enjoyable.

Greg Tremblay is one of my absolute favourite narrators and he performs this book with the same style, grace and ability as we have come to expect form him. He is a master of his craft, giving emotion and character depth to the written word that enhances the listener’s enjoyment of what is a lovely book.

Highly recommended.

I received a free copy of the audiobook in exchange for an honest review.




Release Blitz + Giveaway: The Good Green Earth (Colors Of Love #3) by V.L. Locey


V.L. Locey's The Good Green Earth (Colors Of Love #3) is officially out! Join the author and Signal Boost Promotions in celebrating! Learn more about the latest romance and enter in the back list eBook giveaway!





Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link


Cover Design: Designs By Sloan


Length: 75,000 words approx.


Colors Of Love Series


Book #1 - Lost In Indigo - Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book #2 - Touch Of A Yellow Sun - Amazon US | Amazon UK


Blurb

After the Syracuse Stallions clinch the championship, Nathan Zinkan, the renowned wild man of the AHL is arrested for a DUI. Again. When a no-nonsense judge adds a heavy dose of community service to an already stiff sentence, Nathan has to forget a summer of partying and slide on a pair of gardening gloves. His entire future now rides on how well he can behave while helping elderly urban gardeners tend to their tomatoes.


Watching local garden center owner Bran Cavanaugh working without his shirt is a benefit he wasn’t expecting. Pity Bran is also the one in charge of the community garden as well as keeping tabs on Nathan’s hours served. The two men are instantly at odds due to Nathan’s rebellious nature and Bran’s icy demeanor. Yet there’s no denying the attraction that begins to build between the hot-headed athlete and the cool as a cucumber master gardener.


Will their attraction grow into something deeper, or will it wither and die on the vine?



USA Today Bestselling Author V.L. Locey – Penning LGBT hockey romance that skates into sinful pleasures.


V.L. Locey loves worn jeans, yoga, belly laughs, walking, reading and writing lusty tales, Greek mythology, Torchwood and Dr. Who, the New York Rangers, comic books, and coffee. (Not necessarily in that order.) She shares her life with her husband, her daughter, one dog, two cats, a pair of geese, far too many chickens, and two steers.


When not writing spicy romances, she enjoys spending her day with her menagerie in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania with a cup of fresh java in one hand and a steamy romance novel in the other.





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Blog Tour + Giveaway: Dine With Me by Layla Reyne


Join author Layla Reyne & A Novel Take PR in celebrating the recent release of foodie romance Dine With Me. Find out more through the author Q&A and the exclusive excerpt and don't forget to enter the giveaway for a limited edition signed paperback + swag! Good luck!


Miller and Clancy's delicious courtship will make foodie romance fans swoon. Readers will be rooting for that HEA from the first page.
– Adriana Herrera, author of the Dreamers series


Breathtakingly emotional and deeply resonant, this foodie trip romance will have you reaching for the
tissues and cheering at the well-earned happily ever after for one of my favorite couples. This one
lingered with me and made me hungry!
Annabeth Albert, author of the Frozen Hearts series



Layla Reyne’s DINE WITH ME is a contemporary m/m romance following a dying chef on a last tour of his favorite meals, and the travel companion who must convince him he’s more than his taste buds and that the cost of love is worth living for.


Title: Dine With Me


Release Date (e-book and audio): September 16, 2019


Blurb: 


Life never tasted so good.
Miller Sykes’s meteoric rise to award-winning chef is the stuff of culinary dreams, but it’s all crashing down around him. He’s been given a diagnosis that could cost him something even more precious than his life: his sense of taste. Rather than risk the very thing that defines him, Miller embarks on a last tour of his favorite meals while he still can.


But there’s a catch: he needs a financial backer to make it happen, and he doesn't want anyone to know he's sick.


Dr. Clancy Rhodes has two weeks to come to terms with putting aside oncology to work at his father’s thriving plastic surgery practice. When the opportunity to travel with a Michelin-starred chef presents itself, the foodie in him can’t believe it. It doesn’t hurt that Miller’s rugged good looks are exactly Clancy’s cuppa joe.


As Clancy and Miller travel from coast to coast and indulge in everything from dive bars to the most decadent of culinary experiences, they’re suddenly sharing a lot more than delicious meals. Sparks fly as they bond over their love of flavors and the pressures of great expectations. But when Miller’s health takes a turn for the worse, Clancy must convince him he’s more—so much more—than just his taste buds. And that together, they can win a battle that once seemed hopeless.


One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!


Links:


About Layla Reyne: 


RITA Finalist Layla Reyne is the author of the Agents Irish and Whiskey, Fog City, and Changing Lanes series. A Carolina Tar Heel who now calls the San Francisco Bay Area home, Layla enjoys weaving her bi-coastal experiences into her stories, along with adrenaline-fueled suspense and heart-pounding romance. She is a member of Romance Writers of America and its Kiss of Death and Rainbow Romance Writers chapters. Layla is a 2019 RWA® RITA® Finalist in Contemporary Romance (Mid-Length) and 2016 RWA® Golden Heart® Finalist in Romantic Suspense.


Connect with Layla: 







Exclusive Q&A with Layla Reyne, Blog Tour: 


  • Can you share with us something about the book that isn’t in the blurb?


LR: It’s not just Miller and Clancy in this story. There’s a supporting cast of characters—family, of the blood and found sort—that I absolutely adored writing. And they support, first and foremost. No one here is trying to foil or divert our main characters, and I love that about this story. They are there to support Miller and Clancy, as best and as full-of-heart as they can.


  • Are there any secrets from the book (that aren’t in the blurb), you can share with your readers?


LR: Every place Miller and Clancy visited is a place I’ve dined or based on a place I dined. (Sadly, a few of my favorites had closed!) Each place in this book is as special to me, for my own reasons, as it is for Miller and Clancy. For instance, one of the stops is The French Laundry, which is where my husband and I got married, so it holds a special place in my heart too.


  • Does one of the main characters hold a special place in your heart? If so, why?


LR: Ohmigod, they both do. This story has been rattling around in my head since 2015. It was on the initial list of project ideas I gave my agent. There’s a lot of me in both Clancy and Miller (more so Clancy, my husband more so Miller), but it’s really a love letter to all the amazing dining experiences I’ve been so lucky to have in my life.


  • What is the significance of the title?


LR: It starts as the opening line of the advertisement Miller posts for the tour. It also ends the book in a way that still makes me happy sigh.


  • What is the future for the characters? Will there be a sequel?


LR: This is a standalone, so there won’t be a sequel. Though keep your eyes peeled for a special project involving one of the secondary characters.


  • If you had to describe character Miller Sykes in three words, what would those three words be?


LR: Loyal, Self-Sacrificing, Stubborn


  • If you had to describe character Miller Sykes in three words, what would those three words be?


LR: Earnest, Honest, Risk-taker


  • If your book was to be made into a movie, who are the celebrities that would star in it?


LR: Oh, this is easy (since the book has been in my head for YEARS). I’ve always had Clive Standen as my fancast for Miller and Grant Gustin as my fancast for Clancy.


  • Was the writing process different and what challenges did you face writing contemporary romance versus romantic suspense? 


LR: I couldn’t just throw a car chase or explosion in when I needed to pick up the pace! But seriously, I really did have to dig deep to center this one more on emotions, more on the journey of these two men, individually and potentially together in the future. That’s what’s driving the story, versus my usual twisty plot.

DINE WITH ME – Carina Press
Release Date: September 16, 2019 


Excerpt (500-600 words)
“Gorgeous, isn’t he?” Sloan whispered beside him. “If I didn’t have Tyler waiting at home…”
“Is he even old enough to drive?” Miller tore his gaze from the bespectacled stranger and tossed back the rest of his drink.
“Thirty.”
Only Sloan’s hand over his mouth at the last possible second saved her white silk blouse from a shower of gin, vermouth, and Campari. Once he swallowed, Miller gasped out a “Bullshit” behind her hand.
“I didn’t believe it either.” She lowered her hand and wiped it off on a napkin. “So I had one of the firm’s PIs check. Thirty, swear it.”
Glancing over his shoulder again, Miller tried to find thirty years in the younger man and managed twenty-two, twenty-three at best. As the man’s eyes roved toward their corner, Miller turned back to Sloan. “Better go do your job, dear.” His voice dripped with saccharine sarcasm.
As did her reply. “Hold down the dark corner, honey.” She polished off another wing, tossed the bone on the plate, smacked his cheek with a sticky kiss, and moved to climb off her stool.
Before her second heel hit the floor, a slender hand appeared across their table and Miller looked up to find the stranger standing there.
“Ms. Thatcher, it’s a pleasure to meet you,” he said.
Sloan shook his hand. “Clancy Rhodes, I presume?”
“That’s me. I’m sorry I’m late. I had a last-minute meeting with some benefit organizers and got held up.” He cut off his ramble and shifted his big green eyes and outstretched hand to Miller. “Chef, it’s an honor.”
“You know Miller?” Sloan asked.
Miller checked his grip, afraid he’d crush Clancy’s long, slim fingers in his bear claw, but the other man’s handshake was confident and firm. His eyes lingered on Miller’s tattooed forearm, bared beneath his rolled-up dress sleeves, before he withdrew his hand and cleared his throat. His gazed darted back up and he adjusted his glasses.
“Miller Sykes,” he said. “Self-taught wonder-kid of the cooking world. James Beard Rising Star Chef. Staged at the top restaurants in New York, then relocated to the Bay Area. You earned two Michelin stars for the restaurant where you were chef de cuisine before leaving to open your own place three years ago.” He interrupted his Wiki-page recitation—with all the correct pronunciations, Miller noted—to take a deep breath and return his attention to Sloan. “When my parents showed me the ad, then said I was meeting the chef in Napa, I did the calculations. Chefs, stars, and the timing. I’d wheedled it down to a handful. Miller was on the list.”
Possibly also a stalker. Or an apron-chaser. Neither good.
And yet Sloan seemed more intrigued than ever. “Your mom said you’re a huge foodie.”
“Isn’t anyone who wants to go on a trip like this?” An eager, guileless smile stretched across his pale, lightly freckled face.
Miller discounted his stalker theory—this kid was pure fanboy—but there was something in his innocence, in his youth, that called to more than Miller’s ego.



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Release Blitz + Giveaway: Hot Potato (A Seacroft Novel #3) by Allison Temple


Hot Potato (A Seacroft Novel #3) by Allison Temple is out now! Celebrate with the author and Signal Boost today and enter in the back list eBook giveaway!




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

Length: 80,000 words approx.

Cover Design: Cate Ashwood Designs


Seacroft Series

Book #1 - Top Shelf - Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link

Book #2 - Cold Pressed - Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link

Blurb

As Seacroft’s resident weirdo, Avery proudly flies a lot of freak flags. It’s a constant battle to be taken seriously when everything, from his red hair to his sexuality, makes him stand out in this small town.


Small towns are also a terrible place to keep secrets, and Lincoln has a bunch of them. But his demons aren’t going to hold him back from his dream job at the Seacroft Fire Department. His life is finally coming together, until the red-haired twink with the big smile and fast mouth calls in an emergency.


Pining for the hot firefighter is Avery’s newest flag, even if he agrees to be “just friends.” For Linc, every minute with Avery is a temptation. He needs to let go of his fear and admit the truth. Linc doesn’t want to be Avery’s friend; he wants to be his everything. But just as Linc is ready to risk it all, Avery gets an unexpected offer to spread his colorful wings and fly away.


Hot Potato is an 80k slow burn friends-to-lovers contemporary MM romance. It features a fast-talking accountant who’s cooler than he thinks, the closeted firefighter who loves him more than he should, and a great big happy-sigh HEA.



Allison Temple has been a writer since the second grade, when she wrote a short story about a girl and her horse. Her grandmother typed it out for her and said she’s never seen so many quotation marks from a seven-year-old before. Allison took that as a challenge and has gone on to try to break her previous record in all her subsequent works.


Allison lives in Toronto with her very patient husband and the world’s neediest cat. She splits her free time between writing, community theater stage management, and traveling anywhere that has good wine. Tragically, this leaves no time to clean her house.


Newsletter (get two free shorts right now): https://allisontemplebooks.com/newsletter

Facebook Reader group: https://facebook.com/groups/allisonsalist

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B07B7P5591

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/allison-temple

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17490635.Allison_Temple

Twitter: https://twitter.com/allitemplebooks

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/allisontemplebooks/



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Release Blitz + Giveaway: Clueless Cabot by André D. Michaels


Welcome debut author André D. Michaels and IndiGo Marketing as they promote new friends to lovers release, Clueless Cabot! Learn more about the new novella and enter in $10 NineStar Press credit giveaway!



Title: Clueless Cabot
Author: André D. Michaels
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: September 16, 2019
Heat Level: 3 - Some Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 25900
Genre: Contemporary, LGBT, friends to lovers, first time, hurt-comfort, gay, bi, family drama

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Synopsis

Young gay professional Cabot MacCrae has been in love with his sexy best friend, Lloyd, since high school. They’re in perfect sync on almost everything. The only problem is that Lloyd is straight.

Cabot resigned himself long ago to pining hopelessly. Then Lloyd, a roofer, takes a bad fall and injures his collarbone. When he needs some TLC, there’s no question that Cabot will be the one to nurse his friend back to health. But Lloyd’s scantily clad presence in Cabot’s house brings out Cabot’s old longings.

But when Lloyd’s well-meaning mother and aunt fix Cabot up with a blind date, Lloyd reacts like a jealous boyfriend. Lloyd’s reaction makes Cabot wonder if those longings are as unrequited as he’s always assumed. What if Lloyd has been pining for him all these years? Has Cabot just been clueless all along?

Excerpt

Clueless Cabot
André D. Michaels © 2019
All Rights Reserved

DISH

Half an hour before Club Sandwich closed, Cabot McCrae knew he wasn’t going home with anybody. Once again, he’d sat in the corner, nursing his two drinks, eyeing the crowd for someone, anyone, who might be worth pursuing. And once again, as the ice cubes melted in the glass, he sat and did nothing while the few who drew his interest paired up with others and went off into the night. One or two drinks were sent his way, but the guys who sent them seemed creepy and stalkerish, and Cabot declined as politely as he could.

How the hell do guys find each other?

People talked about what a meat market this bar was, but if so, then Cabot was definitely not USDA Choice beef. Maybe not even leftover bologna.

“Thanks, Hank.” He dropped a five on the bar. Hank gave him a casual salute.

The cute Italian busboy didn’t even meet Cabot’s eye. The burly bouncer barely grunted as Cabot left the club. The darkness and cold, relative silence outside brought relief from the flashing lights, steamy heat, and pounding bass inside.

Cabot got in his car and checked his phone. Ring me, said the text from Lloyd.

At 1:45 in the morning, Cabot wasn’t about to call his best friend. He texted back: In the a.m. Beat, dude.

Immediately, Lloyd texted back. Understood. Hope you made out.

Cabot smiled grimly and started the car to head home. No, I didn’t make out. I never make out. Nobody wants to make out. But he wasn’t going to text that to Lloyd, either.

Lloyd always got lucky at the drop of a hat. He’d slept with more women than Cabot could count. He even juggled several girlfriends at a time, managing somehow to keep them all happy and coming back for more.

Not Cabot. He hadn’t gone on a date in—how many months? And he and good ol’ Rosie Palm were better acquainted than ever before.

The lights of the warehouse district behind him, he pulled into the garage below his apartment complex and parked the car. He sat there for several minutes, running his hands over his face. People tell me I’m cute, he kept repeating in his head. But he sure didn’t feel cute after one of these nights. No one talked to him. No one approached him.

No one wanted him.

His phone buzzed. Another text from Lloyd: Sweet dreams dude.

Back in his apartment, Cabot showered and padded naked into the kitchen. The blue calla lilies he’d bought himself were withered in the vase on the table.

He could have another drink. And unlike drinking at the bar, getting drunk at home wouldn’t make him go home with somebody he’d be embarrassed to wake up next to. Well, unless you counted waking up with yourself.

He virtually never wore clothes around the apartment. Nobody could see in. Nobody came to visit except Lloyd, and Cabot usually remembered to pull on some shorts or sweats when Lloyd visited. And when he didn’t remember, Lloyd didn’t care. Why would he? Lloyd was straight.

And besides, since he didn’t get much sex with anybody else, being a nudist at home gave him easy access to the one man who always enjoyed his lovemaking: himself.

His phone by the door buzzed again. Jesus, Lloyd, give it a rest already.

The text read: Yo dude, call me, man. Really.

Okay, that was scary. Cabot hit the call button.

“Hey,” said Lloyd’s sleepy voice.

“Hey. You okay, bro?”

“Sure. Kinda. No.”

“Okay, that’s three answers. What’s going on?”

“Just flirting with the nurse, man. He says I have to talk to you later.”

“Whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa. You’re flirting with a male nurse? What the hell is going on, Lloyd?”

“What? He’s cute.”

“Uh…you’re straight. What kind of drugs do they have you on?”

Lloyd sighed. “Just c’mon to the ER, man. Central MC. They’ll release me if I have a ride.”

“ER? What the fuck happened?”

“Tell you later. You gonna be my ride?”

“You got it, man. Be there in like five seconds. Four point nine.”

“Thanks, Cab.”

Cabot grabbed his keys and wallet and headed for the door, and then remembered he should probably put on pants. He pulled on a pair of basketball shorts and shoes and grabbed a clean shirt out of the drawer. No waiting for the elevator; he took the stairs.

Purchase

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

Meet the Author

Having held jobs as varied as wedding caterer, IT guru, nanny, construction worker, librarian, historical reenactor, screenplay consultant, and birthday party clown, André now writes poetry, plays, and romances and erotic fiction about men loving men. A lifelong bibliophile, André lives in a renovated 1800s parsonage in Ohio, with a variable number of cats and an invariable number of husband.

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Release Blitz + Giveaway: No Good Men (The Caro Mysteries #1) by Thea McAlistair


Join author Thea McAlistair and IndiGo Marketing as they celebrate the release of No Good Men (The Caro Mysteries #1)! Learn more about the historical romance and enter in the $10 NineStar Press credit giveaway!



Title: No Good Men
Series: The Caro Mysteries, Book One
Author: Thea McAlistair
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: September 16, 2019
Heat Level: 2 - Fade to Black Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 65100
Genre: Historical, LGBT, 1930s, Age gap, Historical, Gay, Dark, Mystery, Anxiety

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Synopsis

In 1934, almost everyone struggles to pay the rent, and Alex Dawson is no exception. To support his writing habit, he moonlights with his mentor Donnie as a bodyguard for the mayor. It’s dull work, until the night a handsome, golden-eyed stranger catches his eye–and both his boss and his mentor are killed when his back is turned.

Jobless and emotionally adrift, Alex vows to find the murderer before the corrupt police can pin the blame on him. But he soon discovers he’s in over his head. The golden-eyed stranger turns out to be a mob boss’s cousin, and a suspicious stack of money in Donnie’s dresser leads Alex to discover that his mentor and the mayor were involved in something more crooked than fundraising dinners and campaign speeches. As the death count rises amid corruption, mob politics, and anarchist plots, Alex realizes that the murders aren’t political or even business. This is the work of a spree killer, and Alex and his new boyfriend are the only ones who can stop them.

Excerpt

No Good Men
Thea McAlistair © 2019
All Rights Reserved

Mob money could buy a lot, but apparently it couldn’t buy taste. Every single architectural detail of the Ostia struck me as garish: from the chandeliers dripping crystals to the thick wooden accent panels to the gold-painted cherubs carved into the tops of the columns. But my opinion didn’t matter; I was just hired muscle.

The club had opened the previous December—about two seconds after booze turned legal again—and attracted all sorts of upper-class clientele, including my boss, Mayor Roy Carlisle. They called him the White Knight of Westwick, and he ran on the rather ironic platform of driving various ne’er-do-wells out of the city. But again, not my business. My job was to hover just behind him in case something terrible happened. Nothing ever happened though, no crazed attackers or falling pianos. The worst crisis I’d run into in the ten or so months I’d been working for him was a freak rainstorm at a garden party, and I had to hold my jacket over his wife Emma’s head to protect her hair.

Still, it was a dollar a night to stand around, and that was more than other people were getting. The Depression had wiped everyone out, including me. If I hadn’t taken up bodyguarding, I would’ve been thrown out of my room in the boardinghouse faster than I could say eviction. Writing pulp stories wasn’t a lucrative day job, and even less so at the beginning of a career.

Which was why, despite my thoughts on the decor, I was pleased to be at the Ostia. Everyone said they had the best acts in town, and I couldn’t disagree. That night they opened with a pretty, button-nosed redhead. She was French, or at least she had a good enough grip of the language to sing in it. I didn’t know what she was singing about, but it sounded sultry enough as she made eyes at our table.

Carlisle lapped it up, ignorant or indifferent to Emma turning bright pink beside him. She didn’t say anything though. Maybe she’d taken a lesson from other political wives and learned to swallow her pride or risk becoming divorced and destitute. Not that she didn’t deserve to be proud. She was still pretty at thirty-five—ten years Carlisle’s junior—blonde and delicate with huge blue eyes.

She must have gotten her looks from her mother, because her father had the smashed face of a bulldog and towered over even my own six feet. Seated to his daughter’s left that night, Marc Logan also stewed in silence, his hand alternately crumpling the napkins and patting Emma reassuringly on the knee. His own blue eyes, the haunting color of old ice, bored a hole into the side of Carlisle’s head.

Their dinner guest for the evening, Mrs. Green, likewise noticed his glare and apparently decided the best course of action was distraction. “Emma dear, did you see what Miss Kepler was wearing the other night at the Peterson soiree?” she tittered as she coiled the chain for her hanging glasses around a finger.

“Hmm?” Emma turned her head just enough to keep her husband in her peripheral vision. “I’m sorry; what were you saying about the Kepler girl?”

“Her dress!” exclaimed Mrs. Green. “It was scandalous! So low-cut. Anyone would have thought she was selling herself. Her father should never have let her out of the house like that. Don’t you agree, Mr. Logan?”

Logan blinked slowly, no doubt trying to come to terms with the dullness of a conversation centered on someone else’s clothing. “While I have to agree that she was… improperly dressed for the occasion, it is quite difficult for a man to say no to his daughter once she’s gotten her mind wrapped around something.” He glanced at Emma, who smiled weakly.

Mrs. Green continued along the thread of scandalous attire, but I let my attention slip back to Carlisle. Oblivious to the rest of his table, he continued to stare at the French singer. While such behavior wasn’t unusual for him, that night it was so obvious that even I was becoming uncomfortable. I glanced at my watch and suppressed a groan. It was only half-past ten. Donnie wouldn’t be around for another hour and a half.

“Are you feeling all right, Mr. Dawson?”

My attention snapped to Emma. “Yes, ma’am,” I answered, hoping she hadn’t noticed my boredom.

Her mouth quirked like she was in on some joke I didn’t know the punchline to, but she said nothing else. Instead she turned to her father, placed a hand on his shoulder, and whispered something in his ear. He grunted in response. Carlisle didn’t notice the exchange, or maybe didn’t care. Mrs. Green kept nattering away.

The song stopped, and the French girl took a bow. We all clapped, Carlisle too enthusiastically, and Emma barely at all. The girl swept off the stage to a table off the wing for a break, and she was replaced by a dark-haired woman with too much makeup. The new woman sang with a rough alto voice, occasionally throwing appraising looks at Carlisle, though he didn’t return them. Once the French girl left, his attention had returned to the food. The rest of the table did the same.

With my charges occupied, I took the chance to look over the room again. Nothing out of the ordinary. Diners, waiters, a glossy bar at the back. The maître-de waving through a man who had just entered… I realized I knew the man weaving his way between tables. Donnie was terribly noticeable with a thick, out-of-fashion beard and pocket-watch chain draped across his waistcoat. I looked at my own watch again. It was only eleven.

Purchase

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

Meet the Author

Thea McAlistair is the pseudonym of an otherwise terribly boring office worker from New Jersey. She studied archaeology, anthropology, history, architecture, and public policy, but none of those panned out, so she decided to go back to an early love – writing. She can often be found muttering to herself about her latest draft at completely inappropriate times.

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