Guest Review: Four Letter Word (Love Logic #2) by K.M. Neuhold

Relationships are hard enough between two people...can the four of us make it work? Or is love nothing more than a four letter word?

Polyamory...the first time Riot says the word, it feels like everything slots into place. Maybe I’m not greedy for loving both of my best friends at once…

For most of my life I didn’t think I could ever have the kind of love I’ve been dreaming of, but somehow a sexy bartender with a major sweet tooth is making it all seem possible.

Maybe Riot is right, our capacity for love is bigger than most people let themselves see. But will Leo and Hudson feel the same? Will they be willing to try to build this beautiful, complicated life with me?

If I can keep them from ripping each other’s heads off that is...

*** This is book two in the Love Logic series and can be read as a stand alone. This is a MMMM story full of love and heat.


Reviewer: Shee Reader

Bishop is a nice guy who’s been in love with his two best friends Leo and Hudson since they were high school best friends. He’s always felt it was a fault in him that he loved them both, and something happened between Leo and Hudson so they haven’t spoken in a decade. How is this ever going to work out?

Enter Riot the cute bartender who is also secretly a famous sci-fi author (squee!) who picks up Bishop and takes him home for a little fun *wink* although he is interested in more (double squee!)

Since Riot is *interested* in Bishop he feels he needs to be honest about his polyamory. Bishop’s world tilts on its axis!

Cue the two best friends, who interestingly will die living in the same city, harbour feelings for Bishop and (I am shaking with excitement) who are *interested* in Riot!!

Now for the sexy times! With feelings!!

This book is an absolute joy. The characters are charming and engaging, the development of the multiple relationships are organic and exciting and the HEA is a delight.

Highly recommended.

I was given a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review
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Audiobook Review: Promises: The Next Generation (Bounty Hunters #5) by A.E. Via

Brian and Quick are the first to offer up two new recruits.

Kellam Knight has studied martial arts under his sensei, Quick, since he was eight years old. A tossed-out reject from high-society, Kell has a problem fighting on the right side of the law. If he sees an injustice, he has to correct it. He doesn’t have to run and cower from his enemies anymore, he’s a fighter who can protect himself and others. When Quick offers Kell the opportunity to join Duke’s training program, he’s all in. Except he’s not prepared for the straight, over-confident, extremely disciplined, sexy man Brian has recruited to be his partner.

Tyrell Jenkins’ world was flipped upside down when his father never returned home from his last deployment. He’d been Ty’s teacher, mentor, his guide to living a righteous life as a good man. His father didn’t raise him to be like every other young, stereotypical male in Atlanta. Instead, he’s been taught to be respectful, to speak the language of real men. When Brian King – his father’s most trusted comrade – finally comes to him with the truth, he doesn’t come alone. He comes with trained men hidden in the shadows… and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to join a brotherhood unlike any other.

Reviewer: Annery

I’ve started and deleted about ten sentences trying to start this review. I’m feeling conflicted but here go my thoughts. It might get long, and slightly spoilerish. Sorry.

This is the fifth book in the Promises Series, and I guess it’s meant as a reset and introduction to a new generation of hunters for Duke’s Bail Bonds. That makes sense as the original guys are aging out and settling down with their honeys. I’m down for that. Between A.E. Via’s relentless (in a good way) romanticism and Aiden Snow’s top notch delivery this series has grown on me, sometimes despite myself, and I’ve been generally happy. I’m not sure about the new guys.

The new recruits to DBB are Tyrell “Ty” Jenkins and Kellam “Kell” Knight brought in by Brian and Quick respectively. They’ve both gotten to 27 or 28 still flailing in the pond of life searching for …? I’m not quite sure what, but when they meet they fit the mold of insta-lust/insta-lust/fated-mates, a given in shifter books, which doesn’t overly bother me, but this isn’t a shifter story.

Kell is a poor little rich boy who was abandoned to his own devices when he came out to his rich politician father. We never see said parent or other family again. He’d been a student in Quick’s dojo and was, to some extent, taken under Quick’s wing and has become a martial arts master. Meanwhile Ty’s father was Brian’s commander and fellow cave dweller during his captivity in Afghanistan. Since his father’s death, when he was sixteen, Ty has spent his life trying to care for his mother as his father would have, she was evidently so sheltered by his brand of love that she found it impossible to buckle up and care for her son after her husband's death. (*major side eye*) This has translated into Ty living in the ‘hood so that his mother can live in comfort. He’s also looking for his own queen befitting a king like himself. Yep. When Ty and Kell meet that’s it. In the course of a month or two we get a forever love story with wedding bells included.

My problems with this story are many but the main one is the character of Ty. It pains me and I’m conflicted because in a note at the beginning of the book the author states that he’s based on her recently deceased brother. How can I find fault with him? I’m so sorry but ....

We’re introduced to Ty as he goes about his job of delivering ‘goods’ for Cheddar. As you can imagine Cheddar is not exactly a businessman who’s on the up & up and that’s fine except that Ty is more than a bit sanctimonious. He’s been celibate for the last two years and has dedicated a fair amount of that time to finding his Queen. Ty has a running inner monologue of his father’s teachings, mostly based on Muslim beliefs (his father was a Kenyan so I don’t know where the surname Jenkins comes from) and his own cobbled together life dictums. They mostly amount to being judgemental of women who dress skimpily, have sexual agency, and men who don’t conform to Ty’s notions of manhood. I won’t say I disagree with some of his assessments, but IMO he’s far from being without sin. He works for Cheddar! This search for a woman who conforms to a Muslim or conservative Christian ethos of modesty is fine, I guess, to each their own, but Ty should be doing something else too. He went to prep school and two years of college but somehow his job is delivering stuff for Cheddar? I don’t buy it.

Kell is cut from the same cloth as Ty. He went to prep school too but since graduating HS has been subsisting on teaching a few classes in Quick’s Dojo and that’s it. Why? To my knowledge there are quite a few things one can work at, particularly being a white, prep school educated man. This notion of Kell scraping by in a bad neighborhood seems more like a plot device to make Kell fit fully in the ‘damsel-in-distress’ mold, ripe to be rescued by Ty. I know that Kell says he’s competent to care for himself and we get scenes of him whipping out his martial arts expertise to the detriment of bigger, brawnier guys but he falls like limp noodles to Ty’s every request.

I’m reluctant to criticize relationships for the roles each partner chooses to take or the ones they’re comfortable in. We love what we love. I cut my romance teeth on what are now considered “problematic rapey bodice rippers” and I still love them, but this gave me niggles.

Kell has long blond tresses but is otherwise hairless on his body. He walks around covered, almost cloaked, dressed in black because he’s a ninja and to avoid problems with neighborhood thugs who taunt him for looking like a girl, for being pretty. Sure. Actually, it read as Kell physically representing the type of woman Ty wants. Pure. Modest. Demure. No wonder that despite not previously identifying as gay or even curious Ty jumps right in. Kell is everything he wants, and willing to follow him two steps behind if necessary. He’s even a virgin. Again, though not being my jam, to each their own: follow your own moral code that doesn’t harm others, follow your God without denying others the dignity, rights, and choice to not believe, pair up in (dated) heteronormative roles of male & female behaviour, or D/s without the BDSM component. I’m peachy fine with all of it. But Ty’s Holier-Than-Thou attitude, even with the DBB guys, was off putting to say the least. Sadly I’ve found this to be the case with most True Believers in anything. Moral certainty (save the obvious things) is dangerous territory and one I prefer to visit seldomly.

For the rest, aside from being kind-of smart young men, I didn’t see the wow factor in these two for Duke and the others to be so impressed by them. I’m sure they’ll grow into their jobs but two months in? They were okay. Clever but not reinventing the wheel or anything close. Also one nice, decent person in Ty and Kell’s respective ‘hoods wouldn’t have come amiss. Poverty isn’t equal to meanness. As for the romance it rested on Kell allowing Ty to be THE MAN in ALL things: Ty will provide a home, protection, and food. Kell will remain covered in the presence of others, follow Ty’slead, and cook. They even wait for marriage to fully consummate their union so don’t expect much smex. That’s fine. We all pick our paths but I’m pretty sure this is the type of relationship now widely pilloried in the MF romancelandia world of empowered women. I don’t care. Just saying.

Anyway that’s enough rambling to say that this didn’t work for me due to the MCs and we got very little of the previous guys which would’ve been a balm for me. As usual YMMV but I think even Aiden Snow couldn’t inject excitement into this. I’ll read more from this author but this was just not a good fit for me.




Guest Review: Raining Men (Chaser #2) by Rick R. Reed

The character you loved to hate in Chaser becomes the character you will simply love in Raining Men.

It’s been raining men for most of Bobby Nelson’s adult life. Normally, he wouldn’t have it any other way, but lately something’s missing. Now, he wants the deluge to slow to a single special drop. But is it even possible for Bobby to find “the one” after endless years of hooking up?

When Bobby’s father passes away, Bobby finally examines his rocky relationship with the man and how it might have contributed to his inability to find the love he yearns for. Guided by a sexy therapist, a Sex Addicts Anonymous group, a well-endowed Chihuahua named Johnny Wadd, and Bobby’s own cache of memories, Bobby takes a spiritual, sexual, and emotional journey to discover that life’s most satisfactory love connections lie in quality, not quantity. And when he’s ready to love not only himself but someone else, sex and love fit, at last, into one perfect package.



Reviewer: Shee Reader

This is a follow-up novel to Chaser and the lead character here - Bobby was the bad guy in the previous book. This is not a normal situation for a romance series. In all honesty, Bobby wasn’t really a bad guy in the first book, but he was a completely shallow and selfish prick that almost ruined his only friend’s HEA. So yeah, a bad-ish guy, but I really loathed him, I mean really. He almost ruined it for his only friend, but my main thoughts on Bobby as the story progressed changed through pity to compassion to adoration. This is the mark of a truly superb writer. The character on the page was real enough for me to develop strong feelings about. And we did the full 180 degree shift, nice work Mr Reid!

Bobby’s story opens up with his dreaming and his dissatisfaction with his life was so tangible I could almost taste it. Bobby’s friend from the previous book offers Bobby something of an olive branch, if Bobby gets himself some help. This was about the point that I started to reevaluate my loathing of Bobby. If his friend Caden (the one who was wronged by Bobby) could offer forgiveness, then maybe I could too?

Then Bobby’s dad dies. The father who had never given Bobby any love and affection was gone. Bobby has to go to his mother and help and support her, but his feelings are mixed. During the trip home, Bobby falls back into his old self destructive patterns and seeks orgasms as an escape. His trip to the bath house leaves him feeling empty, but he is spotted by someone who remembers him from his youth. At his father’s wake, the almost stranger makes a connection with Bobby that could change everything.

The rest of the story is an amazing voyage of discovery, self awareness, self loathing and eventually love and happiness. It is almost dizzying, the skill with which Rick draws the reader along into the full experience. By the end, I was a slightly sobbing, smiling mess.

If you want to find a bit of yourself along with a super lovely HEA I recommend this book!

I was given a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.



Release Blitz + Giveaway: The Island (Abnormal/Variant #2) by M. Rose Flores


Celebrate the recent release of The Island (Abnormal/Variant, #2) with author M. Rose Flores & IndiGo Marketing. Find out more about this LGBTQ horror/thriller, read an excerpt & enter in the $10 Ninestar Press gift code giveaway!


Title: The Island
Series: Abnormal/Variant, Book Two
Author: M. Rose Flores
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: May 4, 2020
Heat Level: 1 - No Sex
Pairing: Female/Female
Length: 86300
Genre: Horror/Thriller, LGBTQIA+, YA, PNR, bisexual, dark, horror, zombies/undead, postapocalyptic, family drama, found family, San Francisco, Alcatraz

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Synopsis

Two years after the end of the world, Cate and Marco have finally found a place for their people to start over. Sustainable and safe from zombies, the island is everything they hoped it would be. It seems the worst may finally be over; they can stop surviving and begin to live again. But the arrival of two new people sets in motion a chain of events that throw the island into unrest, and Cate must fight for her love, her people, and her sense of self. Can the inhabitants of Alcatraz Island find a way to come together when everything around them is falling apart?

Almost two years before their arrival on the island, just after the event that ripped their family apart, Marco began an aimless journey. With his foster family gone—some dead, some vanished—once again, Marco was on his own and sure it was for the best; other people only slowed you down, ended up as liabilities, or worse. Alone was good. It was what he was used to. But on his journey south, he collected other wanderers and began to consider the idea of a cooperative group or, maybe, a found family. There was, after all, safety in numbers.

Finally, together on the island, everyone assumes they are safe. But assumptions in a world run by zombies can be dangerous. Deadly. There is something going on in the city, terrifying and unnatural. Something that will change everything they think they know about zombies. And it’s coming to the island.

The Island is not a stand-alone. It’s advised that book one, The End, be read first.

Excerpt

The Island
M. Rose Flores © 2020
All Rights Reserved

Cate

Those are not people. The way they move, the fact that when we wave, they don’t wave back, and the way they are all shambling toward us down the paths to either side. It all collectively spells zombie.

“Hello,” calls Calvin.

No answer. Damn it.

None of us has the energy to fight any more. We spent the whole night fighting to get to the island. We watched our people get maimed and die; Calvin’s Nana Mae sacrificed herself to save him, my sister Mel, and their new babies. Five other people died too, though I didn’t know any of them well. They were all Marco’s people. Now we’re all one another’s people. What a way to make a family.

Toby is looking pale. His younger brother Jax, though much smaller than Toby, is doing his best to keep him upright. The place where Toby’s hand used to be, before it was clawed by an Abnormal zombie and then cut off by me to prevent infection, is wrapped in a bandage from what I’m guessing is a very limited supply. I think everything is probably limited. There wasn’t much time to pack or prepare after Mel’s labor screams drew in the horde last night. It’s not her fault. Birthing twins with nothing stronger than ibuprofen must be agony. But we had to leave in a hurry. We made it all the way to Alcatraz, barely. And now, apparently, we have to fight again.

I’m too exhausted to cry. We are broken, for the second time since this all started. It’s cold and drizzling. There’s a thick fog rolling in. At least it isn’t dark anymore.

“What do we do?” asks Sylvia, holding her kids close to her body.

“Same thing we’ve been doing,” answers Marco.

When he doesn’t offer anything else, Calvin steps in. “We should get the injured and the kids somewhere safe, right?”

Marco nods.

“They’re still far enough we can probably slip by them on that road—” Calvin points to the right. “—and come back out once you’re all safe inside. Shouldn’t take long to clear the island; there don’t seem to be many here.”

“It’s a big island,” says Marco. “There will be a lot more up there than you think.”

“Can’t say I’ll be much use,” says Captain Jacob, stepping forward through the group. He’s cradling his arm. I can guess what comes next: He edges his sleeve up, wincing, to reveal a definite bite near his elbow. The veins around it are black, all the way up and down his arm, peeking over the collar of his shirt.

“Captain,” breathes Amy, our doctor, “why didn’t you say something?”

“Call me Jacob; I told you. I knew it wouldn’t do any good. Happened so fast. Had to get us here either way.”

Amy examines the wound, touches his arm where the veins disappear under his sleeve. “There’s no way this hasn’t reached a main vessel by now,” she says, feeling his face for fever and shaking her head. “I’m so sorry, Jacob.”

“I appreciate it, Amy. But there’s no need. I’ll have to show someone how to drive the ferry. Murray?”

“Of course, Jacob.”

“It has been an honor to know all of you,” Jacob says. “Marco, you take care of these people. You got us this far. Soon you’ll all be safe.”

“I’m sorry, Jacob,” says Marco, who looks on the verge of tears.

“Don’t be. I did my part. I can live with the result. Or, I guess I can’t.” He chuckles at his own dark joke, but it turns into a coughing fit that makes his whole body tremble. “Come on, now, Murray. We haven’t got all day.”

Murray follows Jacob, catching him as he stumbles getting back on the boat. Jacob looks back and lifts a hand in goodbye to all of us. He doesn’t have long. Another family member lost, claimed by the infection.

“We should go,” says Ana, ever the stoic. “They’re getting closer.”

We move up the wider path as quickly as we can, although every one of us is exhausted and several of us are in some way incapacitated, so we’re not as fast as we need to be. The path switches back and forth as it ascends.

“Stay together,” Calvin whispers as the first few zombies notice us.

We do as we did last night, shuffling the less capable into the middle of our huddle as we move. However, now, so many more of us can’t fight than can. When the zombies get to us, we are less efficient than we have ever been. It takes me two hits to take down one zombie, even though I sharpened my axe the other day, and I have to put my boot on its head to get the axe back. I haven’t had to do that in ages. Calvin gets one on the first try, but it takes him a second to pull his knife free. Somehow, we escape. But just up the path, more swarm toward us. Not many, but there are always more.

Purchase

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Meet the Author

M. Rose Flores has enjoyed writing since she learned how to string letters together. She grew up in the vast green Pacific Northwest of the United States, which with its dense forests, four seasons, and proximity to the ocean made a perfect setting for The End. When she isn’t writing on her computer or in a notebook (though scraps of paper and the palm of her hand will do in a pinch), she works as a professional dog trainer and loves every part of it, even the copious amounts of drool. She believes everyone should be represented in literature and all other media. The End is her first novel.

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Release Blitz + Giveaway: Sorcery of the Blood by Alice G. Holmes


Celebrate the release of Sorcery of the Blood with author Alice G. Holmes & IndiGo Marketing. Find out more about this dark romance, read an excerpt & enter in the Ninestar Press $10 credit giveaway too!


Title: Sorcery of the Blood
Author: Alice G. Holmes
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: May 4, 2020
Heat Level: 1 - No Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 58100
Genre: Fantasy, LGBTQIA+, Romance, paranormal, gay, interracial, vampires, vampire hunters, dystopia, dark, magic, spells, witchcraft

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Synopsis

Kingston St. Louis and Martin Von Brandt are vampire hunters of the highest caliber. That is until Kingston is made a vampire and they discover too late that the city is being taken over by vampires in a bloody coup.

Branded as outlaws, they’re forced into hiding with an unexpected ally. For their plan to stop the coup to work, Kingston will have to overcome his prejudices and train the very vampires he used to hunt, and Martin must learn magic.

All the while, they struggle with their feelings for each other. Love can be a weakness, and they can’t afford weakness when hiding from a powerful enemy.

Excerpt

Sorcery of the Blood
Alice G. Holmes © 2020
All Rights Reserved

Kingston

Footsteps echoed in the night, signaling the approach of our prey. Martin clung to the alley wall, machete in hand, blue eyes wide behind his glasses. I could see a sheen of sweat on his cheek, and I placed a finger to my lips, reminding him to be silent. He nodded, and I headed to the mouth of the alley. I had a performance to put on. I ruffled my hair, loosened my tie, and did my best to appear inebriated.

Just to add a little extra to the act, I began singing in a slurred voice. I could practically hear the monster’s delight as I walked down the alley. Sometimes I wished I knew what the fuck they were thinking. Nothing but blood and murder.

“Are you lost, little boy?” a voice asked in a sickly sweet tone.

I turned. A white woman stood there with long legs and brown hair. She wore a purple pantsuit like she’d finished a late night at an office nearby. There was something wrong with her eyes, just like the rest of them. No depth; her eyes were empty and still. I palmed the stake up my sleeve, making sure she couldn’t see it.

“’M not little,” I replied, wagging my finger at her. “I’m big where it counts.”

“Of course you are,” she said, grinning at me. God, she couldn’t be this stupid. Then again what did I know? It’s not like I knew of any Mensa vampires.

Martin was in position, but I didn’t dare look at him for fear of tipping her off. No need to take any risks on a hunt. I staggered up to her, playing up the drunk angle. I could practically hear Martin rolling his eyes. “I am. I can show you. Come back to my place, and I’ll prove it.”

“Why would I want to do that?” she asked. Her fangs were sliding down as she grinned; she was ready to pounce. “You can show me right here.”

I smiled back, standing up straight. “Okay.” I shouted, “Now!” And threw myself at her. I grabbed her around the middle and tackled her to the ground. She howled, teeth snapping at my neck. I dodged the fangs and rammed the iron stake into her heart.

She screamed, face contorted in demonic rage. Her fingers had turned into claws, and she was scratching the hell out of my back. I looked up to see Martin standing over us, and he said, “Move.” I tore myself away from the creature, and she let out an unearthly howl before Martin cut off her head.

The body went limp, and I got to my feet and said, “Nice work.”

“You too,” Martin replied. His eyes were still wide, and a tremor went through him. He looked like a kid who was in way over his head. I knew better.

“Are you okay?” I asked.

“Fine,” he said, his voice squeaking. I raised an eyebrow, and he sighed. “Sorry. I’ve got a bad feeling is all.”

I snorted. “When don’t you have a bad feeling?” I went to where I’d hidden my bag at the alley’s mouth and took out the lighter fluid. I drenched the corpse in it, making sure to use the entire can.

“I’m serious, Kingston. Something’s coming.”

“Well, when it gets here, we’ll deal with it. Just like this one.” I grabbed the book of matches and uttered a quick prayer. Didn’t make a difference; we’d already done our work. The ritual was more for my comfort. Martin hated it but he didn’t begrudge me. I struck the match and tossed it. The body burned hot, bright, and fast, and was gone in seconds.

Martin handed me the machete after he’d cleaned it off with the edge of his shirt. I tossed the blade in the bag along with the can and the matches. I retrieved the stake and slipped it in my pocket. I slung the bag on my back and headed out of the alley with Martin at my side. I threw an arm around him and said, “You worry too much.”

“You should take a break. When’s the last time you went out?” When I gestured to our surroundings, he pursed his lips with annoyance. “I mean besides hunting.”

“I went to the movies Saturday,” I said.

“You tracked a vampire to the movies and killed him after. That doesn’t count as going out,” Martin said, and I sighed. We walked to the parking garage where we’d stashed the car. I was glad to see there was no attendant around, given the sight of us. The fluorescent lights of the garage rendered my brown skin a sickly shade. If I looked sick, Martin appeared unearthly.

He was so white he glowed under the harsh lights. He had strawberry-blond hair and pale-blue eyes like a husky. I loved the way his hair gleamed in the light, and I wanted to run my hands through it. I jammed my hands into my pockets instead, one curling around the stake. Something solid to hang on to. We found the car, and I pulled out the key fob to unlock it.

“Okay, yes, I’ve been hunting a lot. But there’s more of these fuckers popping up by the minute,” I reminded him.

Martin bit his lower lip as I tossed the bag in the trunk, fiddling with one of the beads on his fidget bracelet. It struck me we made an odd pair. He’d opted for jeans, an Ozzy shirt, black thick-framed glasses, and Converse sneakers. I was in one of my old navy suits and brown loafers. Blood soaked our clothes, which was why I was eager to get going before someone spotted us. We got in the car and drove off.

He had curled up in the passenger seat, staring out of the window. Martin still twirling his beads, not saying anything right away. He looked delicate, almost fragile, which was why he was usually the bait. He could lure them in with his boyish charm, and vampires would trip over themselves to get a bite.

They didn’t know he was strong, physically and mentally. Or when he set his mind to something, he would get it done. Or that he’s the smartest person I’d ever met either in my regular life or my hunting life. Not to mention the most compassionate, which was one of the reasons we’d been arguing so much as of late. I admired his tenacious streak. Not so much when he aimed that tenacity at me.

He was thinking, and I tensed for an argument. I entertained the idea of kissing him to shut him up, something I’d dreamed about but wouldn’t do. When we drove onto the 101 loop, Martin said, “We should talk to Tyrone.”

“Fuck no!” I snapped, struggling to keep my eyes on the road.

“He can help. He’s got his own crew, and we’re low on manpower.”

“He’s a fucking vampire. We can’t trust that bloodsucker.”

“Yes, we can.” Martin’s voice strained.

I chanced a look at him and saw Martin clenching his jaw. “Look, just because he switched to donor blood while you two were fucking doesn’t mean he’s trustworthy. For all we know he’s stalking school kids now.”

Martin slammed his fist against the dashboard. “He’s not like that. Not all vampires are evil.”

“Like fuck they aren’t!” I shot back. “Do we gotta go over this again? They killed your family. They killed my brother. How are they not evil?” I regretted it the minute I said it, but I wouldn’t take it back. Martin balled his hands into fists, shoulders tensing up around his ears.

He growled, “Kingston Patrick St. Louis, that is fucking low.”

“It’s the truth.”

I didn’t expect him to understand. Martin had grown up without his family. He didn’t know anything about them except for some pictures in a scrapbook. While their deaths hurt Martin, he had never known them. My brother and I were thick as thieves, and I missed Seph every day.

Purchase

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

Meet the Author

Alice was born in California in the 80s, which explains so much, really. Before becoming a writer they were in a punk band and also worked as a nurse. In their spare time they enjoy television shows about ghosts and baking as well as a wide spectrum of music. They currently live in Arizona with their collection of Funko Pops and comic book figurines.

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Giveaway + Release Blitz: The Artist's Masquerade (Chronicles of Tournai #2) by Antonia Aquilante


The Artist's Masquerade (Chronicles of Tournai, #2) is out now! Join author Antonia Aquilante & IndiGo Marketing in celebrating the release of this fantasy romance, read an excerpt & enter in the giveaway for a $10 NineStar Press credit too!


Title: The Artist’s Masquerade
Series: Chronicles of Tournai, Book Two
Author: Antonia Aquilante
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: May 4, 2020
Heat Level: 3 - Some Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 109700
Genre: Fantasy, LGBTQIA+, Fantasy, romance, gay, bi, cat shifters, royalty, court intrigue, arranged marriage, artist, spy

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Synopsis

As the first-born son of a royal duke and cousin to the prince, Cathal has always put his duty to family and country first, even when it conflicts with his own wishes. When Cathal’s father arranges a marriage between him and Velia, cousin to the emperor of Ardunn, without consulting him, he sees no alternative but to go along with his plans for the good of Tournai. But it’s Velia’s companion, Flavia, who fascinates Cathal from the moment he first sets eyes on her. Cathal doesn’t know Flavia is really Flavian, an artist masquerading as a woman to escape Ardunn, a restrictive and repressive place where Flavian’s preference for men is forbidden.

Even when Cathal discovers Flavian’s identity, even as he struggles with his obligations and duty, he cannot fight his attraction to the sharp-tongued artist. Flavian is intrigued by him as well, but Cathal is still betrothed to Velia, and Flavian worries he is more taken with the feminine illusion Flavian presents than the man beneath it. He came to Tournai to start a new life—a safe one—as an artist, and an inconvenient attraction to his friend’s betrothed, a man who happens to be a member of the royal family, is not a part of his plans. While both men battle their longings for each other, spies from Ardunn infiltrate the capital, attempting to uncover Tournai’s weaknesses and secrets. They are also searching for Flavian, who possesses a magical Talent giving him the ability to see the truth of a person just by painting their portrait—something that would be invaluable to Ardunn’s emperor.

Excerpt

The Artist’s Masquerade
Antonia Aquilante © 2020
All Rights Reserved

“It’s time you took a wife.”

Cathal managed to keep his surprise hidden with some difficulty. That blunt statement was not what he’d expected when he received the summons to his father’s office. A discussion of family business, perhaps, or questions about happenings at the palace, even a diatribe about one of his cousin’s choices—since Father seemed to hate every one of them since the prince’s marriage to Amory—was what usually precipitated a call to Father’s presence.

He’d never imagined Father would bring up marriage. Cathal had seen no indication Father was even thinking in such a direction. Father had said plenty as he’d pushed the prince to marry, and plenty more when Philip had married a man of his choosing instead of the woman Father would have chosen, but he’d never said a word about his own sons’ need to marry.

Cathal probably shouldn’t have been so surprised. He was twenty-five years old and his father’s heir, and Father was a royal duke and dynastically minded. Producing an heir for the dukedom was Cathal’s duty, despite the existence of his younger brothers. He’d always known it, and he would never think of shirking that duty.

“Yes, Father.” He wasn’t interested in anyone in particular, but there were plenty of women who would make him a suitable wife in Father’s eyes. He was certain he could find someone who wouldn’t make the duty a chore. “I will begin looking for a wife immediately.”

“No need. It’s all arranged.” Father returned his attention to the papers on his desk, as if what he’d just said was of no particular consequence. As if he hadn’t just told Cathal his entire life was about to change and taken Cathal’s last bit of choice away at the same time.

Cathal snapped his mouth shut when he realized it was hanging open. “It is?”

“Of course.”

Of course it was. Cathal should have expected that as well. Father would never leave such an important choice—a family alliance, a mother for future dukes—up to Cathal. He should have done so, or at least he should have asked for Cathal’s opinion. Cathal was of age and had proven himself trustworthy time and again, or he thought he had. It left a sour taste in his mouth to think Father respected him so little.

“May I ask whom I will be marrying?” He immediately regretted his tone as Father arched a single brow.

When Cathal didn’t jump to apologize quickly enough, Father let out a huff that expressed his disappointment more eloquently than a hundred words would have, but he answered anyway. “She’s a cousin of the emperor of Ardunn. Velia is her name. Beautiful, by all accounts, and accomplished, but the connections are the important part.”

Cathal hardly heard anything after Ardunn. Cousin to the emperor of Ardunn? What was Father thinking? And how had he even managed it?

Father looked up again, and this time his huff held more than a little annoyance. “Why are you staring at me that way?”

Cathal didn’t know how he was looking at his father. Usually he had more control, but incredulity seemed to have obliterated it. “Ardunn, Father? I don’t understand. Why—?”

“Don’t be stupid. If your cousin isn’t going to do his duty and marry for the good of this country, then it falls to you to take up where Prince Philip failed.”

And that statement made even less sense. “But, Father, you negotiated a marriage contract with the emperor of Ardunn. Does Philip know?”

His cousin couldn’t know. Cathal had damaged their relationship and weakened the trust Philip had in him—he knew and regretted it—but Philip wasn’t vindictive enough to keep something so big from Cathal, especially considering the prince’s hatred of arranged marriages. Though how a prince came by such a view, Cathal would never know. Nevertheless, Philip would have said something, which meant Father had been negotiating with someone in Ardunn without Philip’s knowledge or consent.

Father scoffed. “He’ll know soon enough.”

“But, Father, negotiating with Ardunn…what did you—?”

“Are you questioning my ability to negotiate a marriage for my son?” Father snapped.

“No, sir.” Just the prudence of doing so with a powerful foreign emperor without the knowledge of their own ruler. “But—”

“This is the marriage your cousin should have negotiated for himself, but since he wouldn’t do his duty, we have to do it for him. For the good of Tournai and this family.”

“But, Father—”

“No more.” Father slapped a hand down on the wooden surface of the desk. “It’s done, and when she arrives next month, you will marry this woman. We’re finished discussing it.”

Cathal gritted his teeth against further protests and gave a sharp nod.

A few moments later, dismissed by his father, Cathal dragged in a lungful of crisp air. Spring was taking hold, but the mornings were still cool. At the moment, he was thankful for the gulp of bracing air.

That had been unexpected.

He shook his head and strode down the steps into the garden. The home where Cathal had grown up was probably the largest in the city. Constructed generations ago of pale-gray stone, the house had three stories surrounding the inner courtyard and the garden it contained. He’d played in the garden as a child with his brothers and cousin, chasing each other, hiding among the statuary and bushes. As he grew older, he’d come here when he needed a moment of peace. These days, he spent most of his time at the palace, and the garden was the domain of his mother and younger sisters, who often sat on the benches near the central fountain to do their needlework.

He didn’t linger, couldn’t have if he wanted to. Cathal couldn’t even go up to the palace and inform Philip of the betrothal, because he was due at the port to inspect improvements to the harbor defenses. Taking the most direct route from Father’s office to the front of the house, he strode through the garden and ducked inside again and then made for the entrance hall without slowing.

His sister’s melodic laugh and the quiet murmur of his mother’s voice floated back to him. Smiling, he stepped from the corridor into the grand room. His mother and sister stood at the polished table in the center of the large room. At his first step onto the red marble floor, both women looked up from where they were arranging early spring flowers in a large vase. Identical smiles of welcome lit their faces. His youngest sister looked remarkably like Mother, though Meriall was just fourteen. She was the only one of them to inherit Mother’s golden-brown hair and not Father’s much darker locks.

Each time he saw Meriall, he was surprised at how grown up she was becoming. It seemed just yesterday she was trailing after their brother Etan and getting into scrapes and jumping on her brothers whenever she saw them. Now she was a young lady. The oldest of his three younger sisters was married, and his second sister was nearly seventeen. Cathal might have expected, if he’d thought of the subject at all, Father to be negotiating a marriage for Ottilie, not for himself.

Meriall and Mother were still smiling at him, and they left off fussing with the flowers and greenery as he approached. When she was younger, Meriall would have flung herself at him. She’d learned more appropriate behavior since then, but a part of him missed her enthusiasm. Then again, she would probably still throw herself at Etan. They’d always been closer.

“Cathal.” Mother held out her hands to him and tilted her head for his kiss to her cheek. “I didn’t know you were here.”

He brushed a kiss over Meriall’s cheek as well. “Father wanted to meet with me.”

Because he was watching, he saw the flash of concern in Mother’s warm-brown eyes. Did she know her husband’s plans for Cathal? “Is everything all right?”

No, he didn’t think she knew. He doubted Father would have consulted her anyway. He flicked his glance at his sister, wondering if he should speak in front of her, but everyone would know soon enough. “Father wants me to marry.”

Mother blinked, once, twice, the only sign of surprise in a serene face. “I didn’t realize, but you are getting to be of an age to. There are many lovely girls you could meet and consider. Perhaps we can have a party and invite some of them.”

“Actually, Father has it all arranged already.”

“Oh. Well.” Mother fussed with the flowers before dropping her hands to smooth her skirt. “I didn’t realize you and your father had chosen someone. I wish you’d told me.” The statement wasn’t much of a rebuke, not the way she said it, but from his gentle mother, it was still censure.

“I wish he’d told me.” He bit back impatience. His ignorance of Father’s actions wasn’t Mother’s doing. “I only just found out myself, Mother. She arrives in a month. I assume we’ll all meet her then.”

“Arrives? From where? Who is she?”

He didn’t blame Mother for her bewilderment. “Father says her name is Velia. I only know she’s a cousin to the emperor of Ardunn.”

“The emperor? Does His Highness know?” Mother had been the wife of a royal duke for nearly thirty years. She could see the implications as well as he could.

“It doesn’t appear so.” He glanced from Mother, who was admirably controlling her surprise and concern, to Meriall and her avid, undisguised curiosity. Well, he shouldn’t be talking about Philip’s lack of knowledge of Father’s actions anyway. “You’ll have to ask Father for more information. I don’t know anything else.”

Mother frowned. “Will you tell your cousin?”

“I can’t now. I’m due at the port, and I may be tied up there for most of the day.” And he didn’t want to put this information in a note. Still, someone needed to tell Philip, and Cathal wasn’t sure when Father would. “I’ll tell him when I return to the palace later.”

She nodded. “I’ll speak with your father. We’ll see you soon?”

“Of course.” He took his leave of his mother and sister and strode out through the large front doors into the morning sunlight again. A servant appeared immediately with his horse. He mounted up and guided the horse out through the imposing gate, open in anticipation of his departure. He needed to hurry if he was going to be on time for his appointment, and he refused to be late. He would sort out the rest afterward, including informing the prince.

Philip was not going to be pleased.

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Meet the Author

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

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

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

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Release Blitz + Giveaway: Beautiful Beast (Those Other Books #4) by Roe Horvat


Roe Horvat and Gay Book Promotions host the Beautiful Beast (Those Other Books #4) release blitz today! Find out more on the contemporary romance and enter in the giveaway where five winners can will any eBook from the author's back list!


RELEASE BLITZ
Book Title: Beautiful Beast
Author: Roe Horvat
Publisher: Roe Horvat
Cover Artist: Garrett Leigh (Black Jazz Design)
Release Date: May 1, 2020
Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance
Trope/s: Instant lust, rich & famous
Themes: Dancer & tycoon, light kink (bondage, dirty talk), sexual self-discovery
Heat Rating: 5 flames
Length: 42 000 words
It is a standalone story.

Buy Links - Available on Kindle Unlimited


Beautiful Beast is a light tale of lust and love, about a beautiful dancer who keeps a wild beast locked inside him, and the man who sets it free.
Blurb

Kevin used to hold himself back, trying to keep his less conventional desires to himself. With Joakim, he feels free. It’s almost as if Joakim can read Kevin’s subconscious, touching the right places at exactly the right time, and whispering the most shameless things…filthy, and oh so satisfying.

Falling for Kevin is easy. Joakim can feel it happening and he’s powerless to do anything about it. With every touch, his desire grows. Men have chased him for his money and status before, but Kevin doesn’t seem to care about any of that. Maybe this time, Joakim should let himself fall, and hope the landing will be soft.



Excerpt

Joakim recognized him immediately. Kevin’s heart-shaped, plump lips stretched in a careful smile; he was stunning. There weren’t good enough words to describe the man’s angelic face. Light blue eyes, big, round and sparkling, with long lashes. His nose was small and perfectly straight, cheekbones high and sharply cut, jawline soft and boyish, even though the thin lines on his forehead said he must be closer to thirty than twenty. Kevin had an exquisite face and an exquisite smile.

He moved like the dancer he was, drifting gracefully among the people in the crowded restaurant until he stood close to the tall table Joakim waited by. He blinked nervously, and those full lips parted. Joakim wanted to suck on them, see if they turned a darker shade of red… And he was just sitting there, gaping like a fool. Realizing his mistake, he jumped up from his seat to welcome his date properly. The chair scraped on the floor, making an awful sound over the sultry music in the restaurant. Joakim winced.

“Sorry,” he said. “Hi. Hello. Lovely to finally meet you properly.”

“Hi,” Kevin said and smiled a shy smile, which would have buckled Joakim’s knees if he hadn’t been leaning on the table with one hand.

“Hi,” he repeated dumbly. Then he had to laugh. “Sorry, I’m just…” He gestured helplessly at Kevin and shook his head. He’d spent the past few days telling himself it was nothing. Just a lark. But now the beautiful creature that had been following him in his dreams was here in the flesh, and Joakim floundered like he never had before. Could he at least stay coherent, for fuck’s sakes?

“What?” Kevin said, perplexed. He looked down, perusing his own body, probably looking for stains or an open fly.

“No! God, no. You look great. I’m just a bit stunned, that’s all. I’ll put myself back together in a minute, I promise.”

Kevin only looked more bewildered.

“Sit down,” Joakim said decisively. “Sit, and we’ll have a drink. I definitely need it.”

Kevin chuckled, still puzzled, and sat opposite Joakim at the tall round table. The chairs were as high as bar stools but more comfortable with plush armrests. Joakim couldn’t help but follow the lines of Kevin’s body with his gaze as the man settled into his chair, all long, slim limbs and graceful movements. He was dressed casually, in light beige chinos, tight over his sculpted thighs and calves, a blue button-up with a fine pink flowery print, and a silver-gray jacket. His clothes and movements had that subtle feminine flair Joakim always admired. It spoke of courage and honesty, of being comfortable with your true self. Combined with the shine of his blond, windswept hair and his milky skin, Kevin shone in the dim restaurant like a fucking supernova.

Joakim was still staring. Say something normal. Anything! Joakim only thought of telling Kevin he was the most gorgeous being he’d ever seen in his whole damned life, but he stopped himself. Other than that, nothing came. First date, dammit. You’ve done this hundreds of times. Get a grip.

Kevin was nervous now, fiddling with his sleeve, and he looked at Joakim from the corner of his eye. Joakim realized that in order to restart his brain, he needed to look away. Tearing his gaze away from Kevin was painful, but Joakim managed to steer his attention to the bar. Look, there are glasses and shakers. Bottles. Personnel. A bartender. Say something normal.

“They have cocktails, but there’s also sake. They’re known for their great sake selection. Or Japanese beer? Lager?” And now he was rambling. Jesus! After an epic dry spell, I finally meet a man I actually want to impress, and that’s when my intellect decides to take a day off? Really?

“Sake sounds great. I haven’t had sake in ages.”

“You’re in for a treat. They’re quite busy, so we might have to wait a tiny bit longer, but the food is worth it.”

“I trust you,” Kevin said with a soft smile, and Joakim’s brain scrambled again.

“Wow, I can’t even look at you,” he blurted.

Kevin’s eyes widened. He blinked, obviously at a loss as to what to say and jumping to the wrong conclusions already.

“No! Shit, sorry. Not like that. I… your face is very distracting.”

Still confused, Kevin parted his amazing mouth to speak, but Joakim intercepted him. “You are beautiful, Kevin. Gorgeous. And it’s messing with my head a little. I’ll be fine in a minute. I better stop babbling before you run away.”

“I… erm. Thank you?”

Joakim had to laugh at the sincere bewilderment of the man.

“Let’s order some sake,” Joakim said, trying to climb out of the hole he’d managed to dig himself during the first two minutes of the date.

“Yeah. I think I need a drink too,” Kevin said in a perfectly natural voice, and Joakim thanked all the gods and all the elements and Kevin for saving him from lethal embarrassment. Joakim could talk about food and sake without saying something stupid. He was almost sure he could.



About the Author
Queer fiction author Roe Horvat was born in the post-communist wasteland of former Czechoslovakia. Equipped with a dark sense of sarcasm, Roe traveled Europe and finally settled in Sweden. He came out as transgender in 2017 and has been fabulous since. He loves Jane Austen, Douglas Adams, bad action movies, stand-up comedy, pale ale, and daiquiri. When not hiding in the studio doing graphics, he can be found trolling caf├ęs in Gothenburg, writing, and people-watching.

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Blog Tour + Giveaway: Far Away by Bryan T. Clark


Author Bryan T. Clark and Other Worlds Ink host today's blog tour stop for Far Away! Discover more about the contemporary second chance romance and enter in the $25 Amazon gift card giveaway!

Far Away

Bryan T. Clark has a new contemporary MM romance out: "Far Away." And there's a giveaway!

First love can save you … and ruin you …

Eighteen-year-old Noah Rothenberg spent the perfect summer with his first love, the charming and seductive Spiro. He fell head over heels in love from what started as a clumsy crush.

But that was twelve years ago. His relationships since have been spectacular failures because of how things ended with Spiro. If he has any hope of moving forward, he needs to find Spiro and get some closure … even if he has to fly halfway around the world to do it. Too bad he instead finds himself falling—again—for the man who ruined him for all other men.

Love isn’t an emotion Spiro Papadopoulos entirely trusts anymore. He’s far too pragmatic for that. His focus these days has to be on his art and caring for his ailing mother. Being with Noah again is easy and feels so right … but is it love? Spiro isn’t sure. Besides, with his entire life being tied to Greece and Noah’s to New York, love might just be a luxury neither of them can afford.

Can Spiro and Noah overcome the oceans and years between them—or will their second chance at love end as badly as their first?


Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | QueeRomance Ink




Giveaway

Bryan is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card with this tour - enter via Rafflecopter for a chance to win:

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Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d47119/?




Excerpt

Far Away meme

“Good morning, Mr. Rothenberg.” Eros put a hand on his knee to steady himself as he stood. Aloof in the shadows, Spiro held his gaze on him. Noah couldn’t look away as Spiro’s eyes washed over him from head to toe. Were they brown or green? Afraid he’d stared too long, he broke eye contact, his eyes sweeping past the visitor’s long dark sideburns that cupped his ears.

“Sorry to disturb you.” Noah’s voice cracked. He cleared his throat and tried to put on a cool and collected face, not wanting to seem like the dork that he was. “I was hoping you could help this morning with the rowboat.” His thumb pointed to the boathouse, but his eyes remained on Spiro. Face-to-face, Eros’s nephew was... beautiful. A statue of beauty.

Noah tried to look away but couldn’t. Yes, Spiro was a hair taller than he. His square jawline, straight nose, and jade eyes rimmed in gold were mesmerizing. Noah’s heart sped as he broke eye contact. Excitement swirled in his gut at the proximity of this Adonis.

“Sure.” Eros tossed his hammer into his box of tools. Noah’s eyes followed Eros as Eros turned and spoke to his nephew.

Noah’s eyes drifted to Spiro’s bow-shaped lips before moving up to his eyes. Their eyes met, causing Noah’s heart to skip a beat. Noah had no idea what he saw in those cat eyes that were staring intensely back at him and caused his heart to flutter. It wasn’t disdain, dominance, or dismissal, the usual looks his peers gave him upon meeting him for the first time. It was... he’s really looking at me.

Everything about Spiro enthralled him. No longer wishing away the next two months before he could escape to Harvard, he was cautiously excited about the summer.

“Hi, I’m Noah.” He felt the heat of a blush on his cheeks as he extended his hand. Spiro looked directly at him; his deep stare instantly pinned Noah. His dark locks of hair, jet black, ran the length of his neck and curled at the nape of his neck. Noah tried to release a breath quietly. Adrenaline pumped through his veins like the multiple streams that fed into Lake Winnipesaukee. He’d never acted this boldly when it came to meeting someone. The way Spiro looked at him gave him the boost of confidence that he could actually stand here and talk to him. This was a first, and it surprised him.

Spiro shook Noah’s hand. “Um, my English is not so good. My name is Spiro.” A deep voice cast from his full lips. Spiro saying his own name sounded more exotic than when Noah’s grandmother said it.

Geeze Louise, his teeth are perfect, too. They’re so freaking white. Noah stumbled over his own words as he searched for something to say. Spiro’s gaze kept Noah from looking for more than a second before lowering his head.




Author Bio

Bryan T. Clark

Bryan T. Clark is a multi-published award-winning author of gay romance, and contemporary books.

In his early in life, Bryan learned that he was different from everyone else in his world. As a young African American boy, he was the second to the youngest of seven children. Long before hormones kicked in and the realization of same sex attraction, it was his light skin and blond hair that made him different from those around him. Teased within his own race for being lighter than everyone else, the kids on the playground called him “Cornbread”.

As a writer, Bryan has taken back the power once given up to those schoolyard bullies. He is committed to bringing his readers stories of real life, with multicultural characters, riveting plots, and where the underdog always wins. He is the founder of Cornbread Publishing: the name empowers him and is a constant reminder that life can have a Happily-Ever-After.

Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Bryan and his husband of thirty-six years has made their home and life in the Central Valley of California.

Author Website: https://www.btclark.com
Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/btclarkauthor
Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/BryanTClarkx2
Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/romanceauthor/
Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7875459.Bryan_T_Clark
Author QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/bryan-t-clark/
Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Bryan-Clark/e/B00INKEVWM


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