Guest Review: Naughty & Nice (Love Notes #2) by D.J. Jamison

Why can't I forget your kiss...

Dear Quinn,

Why must I have these feelings for you? You're my ex-stepbrother, and nothing will change that truth, no matter how many letters I write.

I never expected to see you again--or to rescue you from the side of the road in a blizzard. I didn't think you would ever like me, much less kiss me in a steaming hot tub on a snowy night. It seems we make better lovers than brothers, which is all kinds of naughty and nice while we're snowed in together.

But can this new intimacy last when the skies clear and my family finally arrives for the holidays, or are we just two guys in a mountain cabin with a great view of everything we want but can't have?

Hopelessly yours,
Jonas

Reviewer: Shee Reader

Quinn has been crushing on his former step-brother since a clumsy kiss under the Christmas tree confirmed he wasn’t straight. He hasn’t seen Jonas in years and didn’t really intend to see him now, but EVERYTHING has gone wrong and the offer from his former step-father to stay at the cabin as he awaits a job interview was one he couldn’t refuse. Then there was a blizzard, then Jonas rescued him from freezing to death, then the rest of the family couldn’t make it, then the two of them were snowed in - alone - the week before Christmas. What could possibly go wrong?

Or for the hopeless romantics, what could possibly go right???

Quinn was a lovely character who had made some dumb decisions and not trusted his mom with the sordid truth. He was easy to warm to, and really needed the universe to cut him some slack.

Jonas should have been an equally charming main character, but somehow, I found it harder to care for him in this book. We first met him in Secret Admirer (Love Notes 1) and I had no real adverse reaction to him, but in this book, I was only really rooting for him to get with Quinn, as that was what Quinn wanted and needed. Maybe I should have a reread of the story?

I didn’t dislike Jonas, I just felt neutral towards him, whereas usually I get fully invested in a couple from the outset of the story. And this was a festive snowy mountain book, usually my Grinch Kryptonite!

The HEA was lovely though, and I think my favourite character was the stepfather. I liked that he really stepped up for Quinn even though he was no longer married to Quinn’s mom.

Fun, festive and recommended.

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



Release Blitz + Giveaway: The Reluctant Royal by Catherine Curzon & Eleanor Harkstead

Authors Catherine Curzon and Eleanor Harkstead host today's release blitz for contemporary royal romance, The Reluctant Royal from Pride Publishing! Read more about the romance and enter in the eBook giveaway from the authors!

The Reluctant Royal Catherine Curzon & Eleanor Harkstead

Word Count: 93,492 Book Length: SUPER NOVEL Pages: 352 Genres: CONTEMPORARY, GAY, GLBTQI, ROYALS, THRILLERS AND SUSPENSE

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Book Description

As an unseen enemy draws near, a royal bodyguard must choose between duty and love.

Risking his life to save a princess is all in a day’s work for Sergeant Joe Wenlock, a Close Protection Officer detailed to protect the royal family. After months of recovery following his brush with death, Joe’s ready to return to duties. But Alejandro Fuente-Sastre, as infuriating as he is fabulous, is the last royal Joe wants to be assigned to.

Alejandro isn’t quite the sort of queen that the British royal family is used to, but when Joe learns that Her Majesty’s step-grandson is also drag bombshell Paloma Picante, it makes his job a whole lot tougher. But is there more to Alejo than sulking and sequins?

When Alejandro’s life is threatened by an unseen tormentor who progresses from internet trolling to arson and violence, Joe must keep his charge safe from harm.

Living in close quarters with the man he shouldn’t be falling for, Joe begins to discover his true self. But as Alejandro’s enemy prowls ever nearer, Joe must make the impossible choice between duty and love.

Reader advisory: This book contains instances of homophobia and homophobic language, cyberbullying and threats, harassment, terrorism, drug use and abuse, Islamophobia and suicide. There are mentions of domestic abuse, including physical, emotional and gaslighting.

Excerpt

Joe took another sip of tonic water. He wished it contained gin, because being the only sober person at the table was hardly his idea of fun, but as he watched the bottle of champagne being passed around, he knew he didn’t really want any alcohol anyway. He couldn’t go back to work the worse for wear. Not after months of sick leave. Best foot forward, as his dad would say.

And it wasn’t only his decision not to drink that made Joe an oddity at the table. These were all Wendy’s friends, out for her birthday. Solicitors, legal types, who’d spent most of the evening already talking shop. Joe looked on, his mind on other things. Would he cope on his first day back? Would they trust him to ever do a good job again?

“So, Joe, we’re taking bets on who you’re going to be coddling next week!” Wendy put her second bottle of Prosecco on the table and settled into her seat. Her leg brushed Joe’s momentarily and she shifted, putting air between them again. “Izzy thinks one of the Fergie duo. Barnaby’s bet his bonus on Wills and Kate. I think it’s going to be the queen. The top job for a top bobby!”

“I don’t know yet.” Joe shrugged. “Maybe one of the corgis?”

“I bet you do know, and you’re teasing us!” Wendy’s friend Jemima brayed. “Have you signed the Official Secrets Act?”

Joe turned the plastic stirrer through his fizzing drink, rattling the ice cubes against the glass. He didn’t pester Wendy’s friends about confidential matters, so why did they think he was fair game? “As you know, if I had, I wouldn’t be allowed to say.”

“Whoever it is,” Wendy told them, “let’s hope they don’t put my poor old hubby in hospital again! He’s getting too old to play the action hero!”

Wendy’s friends laughed, and Joe tried to look happy, but he really didn’t want to be reminded of the accident. The headlamps coming straight for him in the evening darkness—and after he’d pushed the Duchess of Albany out of the way, there had been no time for Joe to leap aside. Just that crushing pain as the car slammed into him. Joe had slumped over the bonnet and found himself eye to eye with the idiot who’d just tried to deliberately run down the duchess.

“He’s not that old!” Verity giggled. She patted Joe’s leg and he tried not to flinch. “And still in fine form, too, Wendy, you lucky thing!”

“Lucky old me!” Wendy’s smile looked like a grimace. How would she know what form her husband was in when it had been over six months since they’d so much as kissed, let alone more? She refilled her glass and whispered to Joe, “For God’s sake, have a real drink.”

“Come on, you know I can’t,” Joe replied. “I can’t risk it. First day back and all that.”

“It’s my birthday.” Her pink lips grew thin and she drew in a deep, sharp breath, as sharp as her fresh blonde bob. Then she put her lips to his ear and hissed, “Stop showing me up, Joe, have a drink.”

“I’m drinking a stunt gin and tonic. That’s enough.” Joe held up the glass. It had the brand name of a well-known gin printed down its side. “They do tests, you know. I want to be nice and clean when they poke through my bodily fluids, thank you very much.”

“Barnaby!” Wendy subtly turned away from her husband, the centre of attention all over again. He was dismissed, just as he had been so many times over the five years of their miserable married life. “So, we’re all dying to know how your Tokyo merger’s going. It’s all everyone’s talking about. Tell us all the latest from the front line of big money!”

Joe sat his glass down on the table. The last thing he cared about was Barnaby and his bloody merger, which he’d heard snippets of for weeks as Wendy had made business calls at home. Barnaby this, Barnaby that, ‘Barnaby’s going places.’

So am I.

Joe nudged his seat back and stood to leave. Verity glanced at him, as if she was surprised he was going, but her attention turned to Wendy and Barnaby. Joe wasn’t sure where he’d go, but he needed fresh air. He wanted to be away from loud drinkers, away from Wendy’s carping. His head was pounding and as he stepped outside the pub, a car drove by close to the kerb. He instinctively jumped back, pressing himself against the wall behind him.

Calm down, Sergeant Wenlock, he told himself.

The night was cold, as cold as the pub had been hot, and Joe took a deep breath of autumn air. London tonight seemed even more surreal than ever, the streets a curious mix of the same well-dressed professionals who filled Wendy’s group and those who had embraced Halloween, escaping the real world in the form of cats and devils, vampires and aliens, some already stumbling, others only just starting out. And there in the middle of them was Joe, who would rather be anywhere else but there.

Maybe Joe should’ve thrown aside his tweed jacket and sensible open-necked shirt for a costume. He’d have made quite a good Frankenstein’s monster, maybe, though that said, when he’d first been taken to hospital and had plaster casts and bandages in places he hadn’t thought possible, he’d have been a brilliant cursed mummy.

Joe decided to go for a wander. Once he was working again, he’d have little time to call his own. He’d take his freedom when and where he could. Music blared from pubs and bars, people laughed, taxis pulled up and disgorged their passengers. And up ahead, someone was shouting.

Bloody people, can’t hold their drinks.

“Don’t you ever, ever bloody do that again! Do you hear?”

It was a man’s voice up ahead. Joe could see two figures, one in a black suit with a skeleton painted on it in white. He was wagging his finger—jabbing it—at the red-headed woman walking beside him in heels so high Joe wondered how she didn’t fall flat on her face.

“It’s so important to me, so fucking important, and all you have to do is just nod, and instead, you’re pissing about, making a fucking joke of yourself!”

“I’m sorry!” Her voice sounded almost desperate and she recoiled from her companion’s stabbing finger, jerking away as though it were the blade of a knife. She hurried after the skeleton when he stalked onwards, scooping up the silken hem of her shimmering red evening gown to follow. “Don’t be angry, I’m sorry!”

“I’m sorry!” he mimicked. Joe could almost see him in profile. The man’s face was disguised by makeup that turned his face into a skull.

Seemed a bit rich for him to be accusing someone of making a joke of themselves.

“The man’s an investor in my film, and I wanted him to know that I’m serious about my art, and then you’re there hanging over my shoulder, interrupting and gobbing on about God knows what!” The man clenched his hands. Even they were tricked out in skeleton makeup. “Why do you wind me up like this? You do it on purpose, for fuck’s sake, then it’s all I’m sorry! Well, you bloody well will be!”

“He was laughing too,” the woman said, a fresh note of desperation in her sing-song voice. No, not desperation. Fear. “He was having a good time, you’re not thinking straight! Just—please, don’t be like this!”

“My thinking’s perfectly clear!” The man gave a long sniff then, and Joe knew exactly what was going on.

The drugs are talking.

The man stopped where he was and raised his hand at the woman. The way she flinched back told Joe that this wasn’t the first time it had happened. As she drew away, he saw her makeup clearly, a glamourous sugar skull in a rainbow of colours that nearly took his breath away.

“Please don’t,” was all she said.

Joe increased his pace. The man’s raised hand trembled but in a split second he slapped the woman across her painted face.

Joe ran.

He was on the couple in only a few steps, and interposed himself between them. He didn’t look back at the woman, but could hear her frightened breathing just behind him. “That’s enough. Time for you to go.”

“And who the fuck are you, James Bond?” the man sneered.

“I’m not going to stand around and watch a bully like you slap a woman.” Joe clenched his fists, resisting the temptation to give Skeletor a taste of his own medicine.

“A woman? That’s a fucking joke. She’s a drag queen—a bloke!”

Joe turned to look at the woman.

A bloke?

Was she?

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About the Authors

Eleanor Harkstead

Eleanor Harkstead likes to dash about in nineteenth-century costume, in bonnet or cravat as the mood takes her. She can occasionally be found wandering old graveyards. Eleanor is very fond of chocolate, wine, tweed waistcoats and nice pens. Her large collection of vintage hats would rival Hedda Hopper's.

Originally from the south-east of England, Eleanor now lives somewhere in the Midlands with a large ginger cat who resembles a Viking.

You can follow Eleanor on Facebook and Twitter

Catherine Curzon

 

Catherine Curzon  is a royal historian who writes on all matters of 18th century. Her work has been featured on many platforms and Catherine has also spoken at various venues including the Royal Pavilion, Brighton, and Dr Johnson’s House.

Catherine holds a Master’s degree in Film and when not dodging the furies of the guillotine, writes fiction set deep in the underbelly of Georgian London.

She lives in Yorkshire atop a ludicrously steep hill.

You can follow Catherine on Facebook and Twitter and take a look at her Website.

 


Giveaway

Enter to win a FREE Catherine Curzon & Eleanor Harkstead romance book!

Catherine Curzon & Eleanor Harkstead Giveaway

ENTER HERE FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN A FREE CATHERINE CURZON & ELEANOR HARKSTEAD ROMANCE BOOK! Notice: This competition ends on 2nd February 2021 at 5pm GMT. Competition hosted by Totally Entwined Group.

Release Blitz: Spellbound Dreams (D’Vaire #21) by Jessamyn Kingley

Author Jessamyn Kingley and Gay Book Promotions host today's release blitz for fantasy fated mates romance, Spellbound Dreams (D’Vaire #21)! Check it out!

RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Spellbound Dreams (D’Vaire, Book 21)

Author: Jessamyn Kingley

Publisher: Self-published

Cover Artist: LJ Anderson of Mayhem Cover Creations

Release Date: January 28, 2021

Genre: MM Fantasy

Trope: Fated mates

Heat Rating:  3 flames 

Length:  82 139 words

 

Buy Links - Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK 

 

Lured into a magical sleep, they must untangle the surrounding chaos to embrace a future together.


Blurb

Grand Warlock Familiar Renny D’Vaire has a life he adores and is hoping for a mate who will not bring strife into his world. Renny, along with the rest of the D’Vaires, believes that his other half will be a dragon shifter, thanks to his magical beast form. Happy couples surround Renny, and he wants nothing more than to experience that joy for himself. However, Fate is full of surprises.

Protector Roriethiel of the Fae wakes up in an unfamiliar desert, uncertain how he arrived. His ample magic sapped, the rock he finds himself on is nothing like home. For weeks he stumbles along, searching for answers, and is unerringly led to the Council of Sorcery and Shifters. Rorie’s single purpose is to return to his castle, but instead he discovers his other half.

Renny is unsure how to handle the impetuous Rorie or the fairy’s desire to return to his realm. Torn between two worlds, Renny and Rorie find little common ground until they are lured into a magical dream. Chaos surrounds them as they unravel the mystery of what happened to Rorie, and although their attraction is intense and their feelings for each other grow swiftly, to succeed in love they must learn to trust that Fate has not led them astray.



Excerpt

Renny’s mind was whirling as he led Rorie into his bedroom. Thanks to Dra’Kaedan, another bed had already been dropped into the space while Rorie was introduced to the D’Vaires. The Fae had enthusiastically been impressed by the different races in their household, and although his manner had been stiff at the Fallen Knights’ Headquarters, it was becoming clear that it wasn’t Rorie’s usual behavior. Instead, he appeared to be a happy fairy who Renny would venture to guess was often excited.

“What are these marvels?” Rorie asked in a reverent voice.

Renny grinned as Rorie’s fingers traced the navy wand Dra’Kaedan had given him years ago when he first started his collection. A glowing golden orb was at the top and, if touched, revealed a blue dragon inside. “It’s my magic wand collection.”

“You require a stick to cast?”

“Nope, but often in books and movies, they depict sorcerers using them. I’ve always thought they were cool, and once I told everyone I wanted to start a collection, my family made it their mission to add unique ones constantly.”

“They are most lovely. So are your quarters,” Rorie said. Ripping his attention from the wands affixed to the walls, he gasped at the sight of Renny’s bed. Racing over, he ran his hand across the quilt Larissa D’Vairedraconis had painstakingly created for him. It was a medley of blues and the other colors of their household. “This is exquisite craftsmanship. You must have paid dearly for this artisan.”

“Larissa is insanely talented. You met her and her mate a few minutes ago.”

“What great luck you have to have such masters in your family.”

“I’m sure she’ll put something together that’s just as nice for your bed,” Renny offered. Rorie’s mattress was covered with a plain white comforter and looked drab in the space Renny had decorated with Larissa’s help. The sofa they’d piled with pillows that reflected the quilt had been pushed to the side, but nothing was cramped. “I’m going to get changed, okay?”

“Yes, fine.” Rorie’s tone suggested his mind was far away, as he’d returned to admiring the wands around the suite.

Renny grabbed clothes from his dresser and closed himself in the bathroom after removing his crown and cloak. Happy to be removing his uncomfortable attire, he wondered how to wrap his mind around Rorie. His mate seemed to think all he had to do was figure out how to get home, and it would delight Renny to return with him.

Renny didn’t want to be a jerk, but leaving D’Vaire? The thought was unbearable. How could he ask Dra’Kaedan to give up their family? It was impossible for Renny to say good-bye, and he did not want to try. Renny tied his sneakers swiftly and closed his eyes to quiet his mind. It was too early to bog down their acquaintance with so many problems. The last thing he’d ever wanted was a contentious relationship.While he loved everything about Dra’Kaedan, it was not his dream to have a matebond fueled by the fiery arguments that his warlock enjoyed having with Brogan. Renny liked peace, and his goal was to have it. To do that, he had to remain agreeable and focus on one issue at a time. As he strode back into the bedroom, he promised himself he’d be no man’s doormat either. Rorie would not be in charge; they needed to find compromises to persevere.



About the Author 

 

Jessamyn Kingley lives in Nevada where she begs the men in her head to tell her their amazing stories which she dutifully writes it all down in what has become a small mountain of notebooks. She falls in love with each couple and swears whatever book she wrote last is her absolute favorite.

Jessamyn is married and working toward remembering to start the dishwasher without being distracted by the scent of the magical detergent. For personal enjoyment, she aids in cat rescue while slashing and gashing her way through mobs in various MMORPGs. Caffeine is her very best friend and is only cast aside briefly for the sin better known as BBQ potato chips. 

Join her Facebook group, Jessamyn's Ruffian's

 

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Book Blast: Power Plays & Straight A’s (CU Hockey #1) by Eden Finley & Saxon James


Authors Eden Finley and Saxon James, along with Gay Book Promotions, host the reduced price book blast for New Adult romance, Power Plays & Straight A’s (CU Hockey #1) by Eden Finley & Saxon James! Read more about the hockey romance that will be only 99c from January 28-30 only!

99c BOOK BLAST

Book Title: Power Plays & Straight A’s (CU Hockey #1)

Authors: Eden Finley & Saxon James

Cover Artist: Story Styling Cover Designs

Genre: Contemporary M/M Sports Romance

Trope/s: Brother’s best friend/Best friend’s brother, Jock/Nerd, Virgin MC, Hockey

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 75 000 words

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***SPECIAL OFFER ***

Only 99c from January 28 - 30

Also available on Kindle Unlimited

Universal Link | Amazon US | Amazon UK

 

 

Blurb

FOSTER:

“Look out for Zach and don’t hit on him.”

My brother’s request sounds easy enough. Keep an eye out for his best friend on campus and keep my hands to myself.

Easy.

Even if Zach is a quintessential nerd, who I’ve always thought was cute, I don’t have the time to think with my … stick.

There’s only one stick I should be focused on this year, and that’s my hockey stick. My goal once I graduate is to get an NHL contract.

The last thing I need is a distraction. On or off the ice.

Only, keeping to the rules is harder than I thought it would be.


ZACH:

People confuse me.

And no one more than Foster Grant.

I’ve barely spoken two words to him in the whole time I’ve known him, but the second I step foot on campus, he’s impossible to shake.

I can never anticipate his next move. And whenever we’re together, my next move is a total mystery as well.

I want to give in to him, but that might mean coming clean about something I’ve never been bothered about before.

I’m still carrying my V-card.

And I think it’s time to turn it in.
    

   
Excerpt

I throw my helmet against the wall, and it crashes to the ground with a loud thunk.

The anger, adrenaline, and urge to fight still boil under my skin. I didn’t get a long enough shot at Morris.

I should be pissed I’m out of the game, but I’m not. I don’t regret doing what I did one bit. I only regret letting him get a punch in.

What are his knuckles made of? Diamonds?

I run my finger along my eyebrow, and it comes away sticky with blood. Not a lot, but it stings like a bitch.

I need to get my skates off. I need to jump around and pace the room and try to get all this extra energy out.

All I was picturing while I was out there was the Zach I spent the entire day with last week—the one who smiles and jokes and isn’t so tense—being bullied by that dickhead, and I lost it.

As I sit on the bench to undo my laces, the door opens, and I prepare for one of the coaches to yell obscenities at me for the next five minutes while the rest of the period plays out.

I don’t even acknowledge whoever it is. I keep my head down and continue to unlace my skates.

“F-foster?”

My head darts up at the unsure voice.

There stands Zach, looking sexy as fuck in my jersey. His hair is messy like he’s been running his hand through it, and his nerdy glasses frame his green eyes in a way that drives me crazy.

“How … how did you get in here?”

“Seth. He said we’re your brothers and wanted to check on you.”

Thinking of Zach as my brother makes me feel skeevy and gross, but I ignore it because I don’t really care how he got into the locker room. It means a lot that he’s here. “Is that what you’re doing? Checking on me?”

He takes two tentative steps closer, and then, as if all at once, he decides to go for it.

Zach approaches and drops to his knees in front of me.

My breath catches at the sight.

Long, thin fingers run along the top of my brow and down my cheek. “You’re hurt.”

I huff. “I’ll live.” I might not live if he doesn’t keep touching me; it feels so good.

I want to lean into his hand, but I hold strong. I don’t want to scare him off.

“W-why did you do that?” he asks.

I could lie. I could tell him it’s the sport and fights happen. But everyone out there knows that wasn’t a typical fight. I targeted Morris from the start, and even though we were hardly on the ice at the same time, the second I got my chance to go for him, I did.

“Morris is a dick.”

Zach tries to pull his hand from my face, but I don’t let him. My hand covers his, holding it to my cheek.

He averts his gaze. “Seth told me you know … about him. And me.”

“You and him. Wait, there was a you and him? Like, together?”

“No. He … I don’t know if he’s a special kind of asshole or what, but he …”

“You don’t need to tell me. Seth told me enough.”

His hand finally drops, and I let it. “So out there … on the ice …”

“It was for you.”

“I didn’t ask you to do that.” His voice is so soft. So him.

“You never would,” I murmur. “Morris has to learn karma’s a bitch. He had no right to treat you like that.”

“Will you get in trouble?”

“No doubt.”

“You shouldn’t have—”

“Zach?”

His eyes meet mine.

“It was worth it.”



About the Authors

Saxon James

Saxon James is an author from Aus who's obsessed with writing queer characters. She has a range of books from YA to adult and they all have one thing in common: swoony, sweet love.
When not writing, Saxon exists on a diet of coffee and chocolate while putting her KU subscription to the test.





Eden Finley

Eden Finley is an Amazon bestselling author who writes steamy contemporary romances that are full of snark and light-hearted fluff.

She doesn't take anything too seriously and lives to create an escape from real life for her readers. The ideas always begin with a wackadoodle premise, and she does her best to turn them into romances with heart.

She's also an Australian girl and apologises for her Australianisms that sometimes don't make sense to anyone else.



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Release Blitz + Giveaway: The Boss (Under Red Sky #1) by J. Calamy

Author J. Calamy and IndiGo Marketing celebrate the release of The Boss (Under Red Sky #1)! Read more about the first in the action series and enter in the $10 NineStar Press credit giveaway!


Title: The Boss

Series: Under Red Sky, Book One

Author: J. Calamy

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 01/25/2021

Heat Level: 3 - Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 87500

Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQIA+, action/adventure, age-gap, bisexual, businessmen, criminals, disabilities, illness/disease, interracial, Mafia, over 40, #ownvoices, political, PTSD/post traumatic stress, slow burn/UST, secret agents, sexual discovery, spies, tattoos

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Description

Nicholas Erickson is happy to be the smallest cog at the US Embassy in Singapore, a big step up from prison. Nick lives with a terrible secret: he killed a family of three in a traffic accident, for which he was imprisoned and became a pariah back home. The only threat to his second chance is the truth—and Nelson Graves.

Shipping Magnate Lord Nelson Graves is secretly the head of crime syndicate Red Sky, making him the biggest arms dealer and drug boss in Southeast Asia. Graves is tired, lonely, addicted to opium, and trying to get his imploding crime syndicate back to business. There is a traitor in his organization and an old enemy is back on his tail.

A romance builds between hot-headed, reckless Nick and unhappy, ruthless Graves. But nothing is that easy. Shoot-outs, bombings, and vindictive exes prove Nick’s past and Graves’s present may be a lethal combination.

Excerpt

The Boss
J. Calamy © 2021
All Rights Reserved

Singapore

Nicholas Erickson kept his gaze on the butterflies over Peterson’s desk. The chief of staff had a whole case of them, each stabbed through the thorax and pinned to a board. Nick knew exactly how they felt.

He focused on breathing, trying to slow his stuttering heart, only taking in the gist of what Peterson was saying. Nick forced his hands to loosen, fighting the need to wipe them on his trousers. His eyes felt hot; he blinked to make the blurring stop. The last thing he needed was to have a flashback now. He tried his exercises. I’m here. I’m safe. I’m here. I’m safe. I’m—

“And now I know you got this job because Reverend Bob is friends with that prison chaplain of yours. You got in here on a technicality, a damn loophole. None of us dug too deep for a chaplain’s assistant with no clearance. Goddamn it!” He slapped his hand on the desk. “If I had known, I would never have approved it.”

Peterson’s round face was pink with anger. The pink even showed through the white hair on his scalp. His blue eyes, lighter than Nick’s own, were glittering behind his glasses.

His hands were splayed flat on his desk, covering the folder with Nick’s name on it. It was like Peterson was covering the news articles inside, hiding them from view—as if they were too obscene to look at.

He was silhouetted by wide windows, looking down the green hill to Napier Avenue. Singapore’s heat was just starting to crank, the roiling clouds doing nothing to cut it.

“This is the most important post in Asia this week,” he continued. “We have VIPs coming from everywhere for this ceremony. I don’t have the bandwidth to deal with you now.”

“Sir,” Nick tried. “I really hope—”

“Don’t talk to me, Erickson,” Peterson snapped, his voice cracking with anger. “I don’t want to hear a word out of your damn mouth.”

“Yes sir.”

“Transferring you now would raise too many questions. Not right after Reverend Bob leaving. I don’t want anyone to even know you were here. Right now, I’m the only one who knows about this, thank God.” He glanced down at the folder again. His eyes were full of loathing.

“You are going to lay low, do whatever Morris tells you, and then next week we’ll see how far away I can send you. Now get the hell out of here.”

Nick felt numb, his body cold and far away. He gave a stiff nod and walked out. Nick ducked in to the nearest men’s room, glad to see it was empty.

He splashed water onto his face with shaking hands. He gripped the sides of the sink, noted how haggard he looked, closer to fifty than twenty-eight. His red hair was plastered to his forehead with sweat, his usually pale face flushed red from humiliation.

Well what did you think would happen? Did you think you could just leave it all behind you?

He went back to his office and sat at Reverend Bob’s empty desk. The room was small, practically in the basement. There was one narrow window, vertical against a corner. He could just see the flowerbeds beyond, tropical flowers showing their faces to the broiling sun. Working on autopilot, he took his badge off its lanyard and tucked it into the computer’s card reader so he could turn it on. No new emails—of course not. His calendar was equally empty. That had been on purpose at first. But now it seemed like an indictment. Not like Reverend Bob could give you a real job. He could trust you to sort prayer cards from the Tallahassee Christian Mothers’ Union but not any actual duties.

He pushed that thought away. He knew it wasn’t true. Reverend Bob had given him time. Time to heal, time to reinvent himself. And while the new Nick was less prone to panicked outbursts, he also did very little. He kept a low profile out of habit, avoiding meeting people’s eyes until he realized absolutely no one knew who he was. He could relax a little and nod to people who smiled at him in the halls. He and Lena had lunch in the garden sometimes. It felt like slowly waking from a nightmare.

Until today. Until Peterson found out. And like everyone else who knew the truth, Peterson wanted Nick away from him and everything he cared about. Nick had barely made his mark on the room. There wasn’t much. A plant Lena gave him. A sweatshirt for when the A/C went haywire and they all froze. A picture of Reverend Bob and Nick at Leon’s Bar. The mug Morris had lent him. No pictures of family of course.

Suddenly, Nick couldn’t stand sitting there anymore. He grabbed his badge and left the building, barely nodding to the Marine at the gate. Forcing himself to slow down, he walked along the embassy’s drive, following the line of the fence and turning left toward the botanical gardens. That was a good place to think. A quiet place, shady in the blazing heat, and free. Nick walked with nothing but the white noise in his head and the roar of cars coming down the main road. He didn’t want to think yet.

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Meet the Author

J Calamy is a disabled vet and foreign service wonk who spends a good part of the year bouncing down dirt roads in the back of Range Rovers with men with guns. Coffee, romance novels, and embassy scuttlebutt are her last remaining vices.

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Review: Out in Winter (Out in College #8) by Lane Hayes

The grad student, the jock, and some winter fun…

Drew

My new job at the bistro is fun. The owners are good guys, and the staff is made up primarily of boisterous water polo players. I know nothing about the sport except there’s a Speedo involved, and Liam likes to wear his everywhere. Yes…Liam—the chatty, handsome, utterly charming waiter I can’t seem to stop thinking about. Ugh. Note to self—do not fall for another younger man.

Liam

Getting Drew to notice me hasn’t been easy. He’s a little intense, and he knows how to keep his distance. Something tells me he’s not immune—he’s just stubborn. Maybe a weekend of bonding on the ski slopes will win him over. And if I can get him to come out in winter, I might be able to convince him that we have a chance at something special.


Short, sweet, and sexy.

I was looking for a good opposites-attract romance, and ‘Out in Winter’ delivered! Liam and Drew couldn’t be more different.

Drew is serious, reserved, and very careful in everything he does. Liam is loud, outgoing, and goes with the flow.

Despite those differences, the two are very attracted to each other, which makes working together at the bistro a bit tricky at times. Not that either of them admits it or lets on to the other.

That is until an offer of a lift ends in a deep conversation and a hot makeout session. After that, there’s no turning back!

I really liked that along with the undeniable physical attraction, Drew and Liam’s relationship also had the emotional connection from the get-go. That the two were so comfortable sharing their secrets with each other, and made time and space for one another.

That easy connection carries their budding relationship from the restaurant to the ski slopes. Their dates during the quick getaway were adorable.

And not to mention very sexy! These two really brought the heat, and were so in-tune with each other’s needs.

Something that I wasn’t a fan of - that age was ever part of the discussion, at least on Drew’s end. Five years is nothing, and both men were still in their twenties.

It should have been a non-issue. And it seemed to feed Drew’s general cautious approach about relationships, which is the main stumbling block.

Luckily, that didn’t last too long! It takes them a bit of time to voice it, but both Liam and Drew are on the same page and want the same thing.

Though I think the time after their return from the ski trip could have been more fleshed out to show rather than just tell how the two had fallen for each other, it was obvious that they were head over heels in love.

The epilogue really sealed the deal, and didn’t leave any doubt that Drew and Liam are forever for each other.

If you’re looking for a low-angst and easy to read MM romance, I’d recommend Out in Winter!


A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.


Release Blitz + Giveaway: Running Lines (Hollywood Hopefuls #1) by Jeris Jean

Happy Release Day! Join author Jeris Jean and Gay Book Promotions in celebrating the release of contemporary romance, Running Lines! Read more about the new romance and enter in the $25 Amazon gift card giveaway!

RELEASE BLITZ


Book Title: Running Lines

Author and Publisher: Jeris Jean

Cover Artist: Jeris Jean

Release Date: January 26, 2021

Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance

Tropes: Celebrities, Workplace Romance

Themes: Overcoming the past, self-confidence, defying expectations

Heat Rating:  4 flames       

Length: 55,000 words/ 142 pages (ebook)

It is a standalone story and is the first book in a series.

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Buy Links - Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK 

 


Onscreen chemistry. Offscreen action.

Blurb

Finn may look like a Romeo + Juliet-era Leo, but he’s out to prove he’s got what it takes to break the teen heartthrob mold. Grayson is a serious actor, with “serious” as the operative word, so he’s not thrilled to find himself hopelessly attracted to his young new co-star.

Starring on a teen soap may have made Finn Everett Hollywood’s latest “it” boy, complete with the 10 million Instagram followers to show for it, but does he have the chops to cut it as the newest cast member on television’s biggest drama, Frost Manor? Finn’s determined to prove himself as more than just as sex symbol and win the respect of his co-star, Grayson Winter.

Grayson is gorgeous, talented, and the celeb Finn has been secretly crushing on for years. Grayson is dedicated to his job. He has big aspirations to be Hollywood’s best leading man, and he’s willing to make personal sacrifices to get there. When his new scene partner is the charismatic and intensely distracting Finn Everett, Grayson is shaken loose from his single-minded ambition.

When Finn and Grayson start running lines, their off-the-charts chemistry has them wondering if big things are in store for more than just their careers.

Running Lines is an MM Romance featuring hot TV stars, Hollywood drama, and a sweet and sexy gay love story.



Excerpt

Not a single interviewer had failed to mention Finn Everett, and it was getting really damn old. He didn’t want to talk about Finn Everett. He didn’t even want to think about Finn Everett. That just led to Grayson thinking about sexy blue eyes and lean muscles and no. No. Nothing good would come of that line of thought. It was going to be hard enough to work with him everyday on the show and maintain his standards of professionalism.

As Grayson clung to his last shred of patience for this interview, he answered the question the same way he had all night. “I trust our showrunners and casting director. But I haven’t personally met Finn Everett yet, so I don’t have an opinion of my own.” The words sounded colder, more robotic than he’d intended.

As if on cue, his agent Kayla’s familiar voice broke into the conversation, interrupting the interview. “We can fix that, Grayson! You can meet right now.” She was tugging someone by the hand and then shoving him into the interview right next to Grayson. The interviewer was clapping her hands in thrilled excitement, her smile widening to an even more frightening degree. Before he knew what was happening, he was shaking hands with Finn Everett, looking right into those dark blue eyes. There were only two words Grayson’s brain could manage at that moment: Holy. Fuck. Finn Everett was gorgeous.

Gaining his composure was difficult, but Grayson was a professional actor, so he knew how to pull himself together before anyone noticed how dumbstruck he was at the sight of Finn Everett. He hoped. The interviewer was now asking Finn how it felt to meet Grayson. Finn was staring at Grayson with the oddest expression – it was almost like…admiration? Grayson felt himself hold his breath, waiting to hear Finn’s answer.

Finn turned back to the interviewer, and he said smoothly, “It is an absolute pleasure. I can’t wait to work with him. I’m sure there’s a lot he can teach me.” Finn smiled shyly, his eyes dipping to the carpet and then back up to glance cautiously at Grayson through his lashes. Grayson met his eyes briefly, and he felt a tingle in his belly. His lips automatically quirked up at the corners without his permission. What was happening? Why was he acting like a total fool all of a sudden? It had to be that this red carpet media circus had finally wore him down completely. He was exhausted and too warm. That would make anyone’s head spin. That was totally it.

Thankfully, Kayla came to his rescue, grabbing both him and Finn by the hands and dragging them away from the interviewer, barking something about needing to get inside to take their seats. Grayson’s head was dizzy as he finally stepped into the cool air conditioning of the theatre.

“Look at this, my two favorite clients making friends,” Kayla said, smiling at Grayson and then Finn. “I had a hunch you’d hit it off,” she added as she let go of Grayson’s hand and dragged Finn further into the building.

Grayson was left in the entryway of the theatre, finally alone for the moment. He leaned against the marble wall behind him. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath to steady himself.

He was in trouble.



About the Author 

Jeris Jean is a life-long Minnesotan with an obsessive love of books. She has a master's degree in English Literature but didn't write her first novel until she was in her mid-thirties. Something just "clicked," and all fell into its rightful place.

Jeris is a lover of cats, coffee, binge-watching tv shows, her bffs, puzzles, knitting, white sunglasses, black nail polish, purple hair, and reading and writing like it's going out of style, especially mm romance.She lives with her husband, two sons and their cat, Fluffy Cat Love, in a lovely little suburb of Minneapolis. 


 

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Release Blitz + Giveaway: Poz (The Lives of Remy and Michael #1) by C. Koehler


Join author C. Koehler and IndiGo Marketing as they celebrate the release of YA, Poz (The Lives of Remy and Michael #1)! Read more today and enter in the $10 NineStar Press credit giveaway!
 
 

Title: Poz

Series: The Lives of Remy and Michael, Book One

Author: C. Koehler

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 01/25/2021

Heat Level: 2 - Fade to Black Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 65900

Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQIA+, Contemporary, young adult, sports, family-drama, gay, HIV positive, HIV, AIDS, in the closet, coming out, rowing, illness/disease

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Description

Even at an allegedly gay-friendly high school, being out isn’t easy, not if you play a sport. Remy didn’t just play a sport, he lived for a sport. He bled crew and rowed with his best friend, Mikey. He’d known him forever but was a year ahead of him in school and crew, varsity to his JV. But then something changed. They were on the way to a regatta in San Diego and suddenly they noticed each other. Remy don’t know what happened. They’d changed in front of each other in the locker rooms all the time at school. But Remy’d never looked and suddenly all he could do was stare.

Remy thought Mikey felt the same, yet somehow Mikey didn’t want a relationship. Whatever, Remy didn’t have time for drama. They had a major regatta to prepare for. They make apps to help lonely young men to find temporary companionship, and let’s just say, Remy enjoyed the summer before his senior year. Then everything caught up with him and it all came apart.

Mikey was furious, but if he didn’t want a relationship, why was he angry? It turned out there was a price for playing around, and when Remy got sick, he had to wonder, where would Mikey be?

Excerpt

Poz
C. Koehler © 2020
All Rights Reserved

When all this started, my older brother Geoff didn’t know I was gay, at least not to my knowledge. I’d called him “Goff” when we were really young because I couldn’t pronounce his name. He’d called me “Germy” because he couldn’t say Jeremy. He still calls me Germy, even though everyone else calls me Remy. I still called him Goff, so I guess that was fair.

Goff was thirteen minutes older—we were twins of the fraternal variety—and he milked that older bit like a Holstein cow. Thirteen minutes, but you would have thought it was thirteen years. Anyway, he played football. He looked out for me, or at least tried, but he was and is straight as a plank. We wrangled a lot, still do, but he saved me from a lot of homophobic hassling, sometimes at the hands of his own friends, without even knowing I was gay, which was pretty cool of him.

“Teammates,” Goff would say. “They’re not my friends, not if they’re giving you shit.”

He was a good guy when he wasn’t being an asshole.

That said, Goff never understood a fundamental part of me, at least not until I came out to him. I guess that was my fault though. How could he when I’d never told him I was gay? But how could I when I couldn’t have borne losing my brother? He was my twin, the person I was closest to in the world. Losing him would’ve meant losing a part of me. We fought like cats in a gunnysack and it drove our parents crazy, but they never understood that we went to the trouble of irritating one another because we loved one another. We certainly weren’t going to tell one another that. We were (and are) teenage males. Dad was a shrink. Dr. Babcock should’ve gotten that but didn’t.

So anyway, Goff missed a major piece of who I was and everything that went along with it. Now I wouldn’t say all teenage boys were sex-obsessed, just every one I’ve ever encountered. But he had all the sex he wanted and had no idea what it’s like not getting it. For me, it was not being gotten. So, I was horny as hell in high school and about to burst. That was the start of all my problems, I guess.

Our family lived in Davis, an ├╝ber-liberal organo-groovy college town about seventy miles from San Francisco. Davis had bought into Cesar Chavez’s grape boycott, which I read about in history class; it made itself a nuclear-free zone, which was kind of a joke when UC Davis boasted a particle accelerator of its very own. Besides, what good would the declaration of being a nuclear-free zone have done? Protect the city if the US and the USSR had nuked each other? There were three major Air Force bases around the city during the Cold War. There’d have been a bright-blue flash and then nothing. Good luck with that nuclear-free zone. The city was also a declared sanctuary for undocumented immigrants. I could go on, but why bother? A homecoming prince even brought his boyfriend to prom one year. As a gay kid, I should’ve been golden in a city and high school like this.

But someone forgot to send my parents that memo, or at least my mother. Mom was a smart woman—she majored in chemistry in college and went on to become a drug rep for a pharmaceutical company after she decided getting a PharmD wasn’t for her—but she was oblivious sometimes, especially where Goff and I were concerned. Of both our parents, she was the louder with the compulsory heterosexuality messaging, things like telling me I was morally obligated to take some unpopular (read: fat with braces) girl to the prom. She said it was my “gentlemanly duty” or some such bull, but Goff and I both knew it was because she herself had been fat with braces in high school. She wasn’t doing it deliberately—trying to make me miserable—but she succeeded admirably.

Women in Mississippi had taken their girlfriends to prom, or at least tried. Hell, even in Davis a few years ago, the aforementioned homecoming prince took his boyfriend, but my mom? She thought I had to make life better for every desperate and dateless girl out there, just to restore some cosmic balance because her life sucked during high school. Why didn’t she get that this was my life, my one-way ticket through high school, not her do-over?

When I said things like that, her response was, “I think you can take one evening out of your life to make a difference in someone else’s.” Given the essentially obligatory service hours necessary to get into college these days, I thought I already had.

My boyfriend could’ve plowed me on the table at Thanksgiving, and she would have still said that. If I’d had a boyfriend. Well, there was Mikey Castelreigh. He wanted to be my boyfriend. I thought of him more as a kid brother even though he was only a year younger. I felt like there was a big difference between a sophomore and a junior in high school, however. Mikey looked like he missed the puberty train. I had a left hand. What I needed was a close friend who was gay. Mikey fit that bill very well.

Even at good ol’ tolerant, GSA-sporting Davis High, it wasn’t easy being different. We were still teenagers. Being smacked on the ass with the gay wand when I was born didn’t change that. I wanted to think Mikey understood that. I think what Mikey didn’t get was why we couldn’t be friends with benefits. Uh…because it would have been like blowing my brother? If I had a brother who swung that way. But then, as has been pointed out to me many times, I also saw what I wanted to see and not always what was really there. Or boats. I saw rowing-related things very clearly. It was life that tripped me up at every turn.

But telling my parents? Like that would ever happen. Hear that flapping noise? That was the pigs flying out of my butt, which would happen right before I’d tell my parents I liked the cock. I never got the best vibe off them where that was concerned. Sure, they had gay and lesbian, even trans, friends, but it was different when it was their kid, you know? They were on a need-to-know basis where my life was concerned. Coming out? Survey says: No!

Goff told our parents about a lot of things that went on his life—whereas I told them very little—but then he and I had very different relationships with them.

“So how’s that working for you, Goff?”

“Shut it.”

I smiled, but it was really more of a smirk. “Still think having the olds know every single detail’s harmless?”

“You’re really kind of a dick sometimes, you know that?”

“Everybody has to be something, I guess.”

“Really? I thought you were more of an asshole.”

He had no idea what he was doing to me with this conversation. I mean, the homoerotic subtext was barely sub. Sure, Mikey and I were going to die laughing about it later, but right then I had to bite my tongue, and that was kind of painful.

I looked at him for a few moments, totally expressionless. Just long enough that he’d gone back to his homework. Just long enough to make him squirm. “What? You’re creeping me out.”

“I could’ve sworn I heard you say stop sleeping in your bed when you sneak out to see your girlfriend.”

Mom and Dad never checked on me. Ever. I never gave them a reason to. Goff? Too many. Neither of us was stupid enough to think pillows under the blankets would fool them, but me in his bed? Physically we were nothing alike, but at least I made breathing sounds. We had a Jack and Jill bedroom setup where our rooms met in a common bathroom. We locked the bathroom door leading into the hallway and put the pillows in my bed, I moved to his, and he was out of there. He always showed his gratitude.

“You… That’s harsh, man.”

“Times are hard.”

Goff threw down his pen. “Why’re you doing this?”

“Because it’s almost summer, which means fall’s not that far away, which means neither is the prom, and it’s never too early to present a united front.”

“You’re really twisted, you know that?”

I shrugged. “And you know she’ll try to get you to take someone besides your girlfriend, since you quote, unquote haven’t been dating that long.”

“They’re not that bad,” Goff said, sighing.

“Have it your way, but don’t come whining to me when Mom does exactly that.” It’s not that I was smarter than Goff. I wasn’t. But I was smarter in different areas, like sneaking. It was like he didn’t have an ounce of guile in him. Apparently, I received both our shares. Somehow, and despite getting him into endless trouble when we were children, he still trusted me. Maybe it’s because as we grew older, I got him out of scrapes, at least when I knew about them in time.

Maybe I shouldn’t have complained. Goff got the same kind of nonsense from our parents, too, and never mind that he had a girlfriend. She wasn’t even a cheerleader. She was supersweet and amazingly intelligent. He met Laurel because I brought her home to study for AP Biology I. It took him a few months of whining like an Irish setter, but they eventually took to studying each other’s biology. I knew this because Goff was too chickenshit to buy his own condoms, so I had to buy them for him.

Speaking of shit of whatever species, Goff was in it because a teammate was caught dealing molly. Goff’s friend slash teammate was busted by the cops at a team party. Oddly enough what our parents freaked out about was that Geoff had alcohol on his breath. He blew a 0.12 as a matter of fact. I think that was half again the legal limit. Yeah, hi, Mom and Dad, he was at a party where the host was busted for dealing Ecstasy. You maybe want to focus on the larger picture? Or maybe they were, because I knew for a fact my brother didn’t and wouldn’t take drugs. Anyway, Goff couldn’t fart without them breathing down his neck for a while.

But if I’d known about the party, I’d have told him to watch his step, because rumors of drug-dealing by members of the football team had been flying around school for weeks. At the very least, he might’ve limited himself to a beer or two instead of getting trashed. Then Goff could’ve told the olds, “Sorry, Mom and Dad, I know it showed bad judgment, but I planned to call Germy to come and get me.” And I’d have absolutely covered for him. For that matter, he could have gotten trashed, and I’d still have picked him up if he had warned me in time to cover for him.

Weirdly enough, they were totally permissive where I was concerned. They thought I was a late bloomer and hoped the talks they gave Goff about sex applied to me, too, because they made me sit down and listen to every single one of them, not that they contained anything I needed to know. But the last one? I couldn’t take it anymore and I cranked up the sarcasm. It bugged Dad, I knew that for sure, and I was pretty sure I managed to irritate Goff, and never mind the fact that he was sick of those talks too. Goff already knew not to get his girlfriend pregnant and to make sure he was in charge of his birth control.

Except for the condom buying. I was in charge of that.

“Could you maybe shut up, Germy? This is bad enough without your sniping.”

Dad nodded. “Please listen to your brother. I get that you may be too old for these, but you’re not making this easier on any of us. If you stop, I promise this will be the last one.”

“You’ve said that every time, Dad. Yet here we are, another ho-hum day in paradise listening to these riveting talks,” I said acidly. “I think we’ve got a lock on the prevention of premature grandparenthood. Not much else, but babies are definitely one sexually transmitted parasite we can rule out. Maybe someday we can move on to spirochetes.”

“Jeremy…” Dad said in that warning tone of his. It held a hint of a threat, but what did I care? I’d heard it all my life and it had long since ceased to have the desired effect. It was more proof that I was the changeling, the odd Babcock out.

These things were so stupid. Take today’s lecture. Please. Dad actually had the nerve to refer to the labia as a butterfly. How the hell was I supposed to keep a straight face when confronted with that? Dad was going on about female anatomy again, trying to help Goff—and presumably me—locate the G-spot. I would never need to know, and based on the noises issuing from Goff’s room of an evening, he already knew exactly where to find it. What I needed—what we both needed—was basic information on sexually transmitted infections. Anatomy had been covered in eighth-grade sex ed.

Yet this was vintage Dad, blithely charging ahead, with Goff in tow more or less willingly and me digging in my heels every step of the way. I could not say Dad never heard, if only because sound waves did stimulate his auditory nerves. It never changed his behavior, however, and trying to persuade Dad was like arguing with the wind for all the good it did, at least not once he had a notion fixed in his mind. Mom had some facility in managing him, but then, she had more experience. Goff and I were only teenagers, so what did we know? I was convinced that was how Dad’s thought processes ran. The bizarrissimo part of it all was that Goff was the good twin whereas I questioned everything, fighting anything I thought absurd with tooth and claw. I had even overheard Dad say as much when he thought he was unobserved. Yet Dad—both parents, really—kept Goff on a shorter leash.

I thought this different treatment was because of our different sports, I really did. Football? Sure. Everyone knew the deal or thought they did. What they really knew was the reputation that came from a bunch of idiotic movies. Goff sure wasn’t like that, and most of his football friends weren’t either. But crew? They had no idea about crew, not really, and never mind the stupid amounts of parental involvement my club required. No, when Mom and Dad were in college, rowers were pale, muscular gods and goddesses who walked the campuses, ate obscene amounts of food after their early-morning practices without gaining a pound, and stuck mainly with their own kind. They told me as much. That my club’s juniors program practiced in the afternoon must have thrown them off my scent, because I had a tan despite the sunblock.

Seriously, I got away with murder. Or at least I did the summer before my senior year, and the person I killed—or almost killed—was myself. After that? I lived on Cellblock Q.

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Meet the Author

Christopher Koehler always wanted to write, but it wasn’t until his grad school years that he realized writing was how he wanted to spend his life. Long something of a hothouse flower, he’s been lucky to be surrounded by people who encouraged that, especially his long-suffering husband of twenty-nine years and counting.

He loves many genres of fiction and nonfiction, but he’s especially fond of romances, because it’s in them that human emotions and relations, at least most of the ones fit to be discussed publicly, are laid bare.

While writing is his passion and his life, when he’s not doing that, he’s a househusband, at-home dad, and oarsman with a slightly disturbing interest in manners and the other ways people behave badly.

Christopher is approaching the tenth anniversary of publication and has been fortunate to be recognized for his writing, including by the American Library Association, which named Poz a 2016 Recommended Title, and an Honorable Mention for “Transformation,” in Innovation, Volume 6 of Queer Sci Fi’s Flash Fiction Anthology.

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Guest Review: Cupcakes & Christmas by R.J. Scott

The story of long nights in a wintry mountain hotel, a baking show with secrets, a snowman called Jeremy, and finding the greatest love of all.

After winning season four of ratings hit World’s Best Baking Show, Brody Thomas had become a sought-after cake maker to the stars. Happily married, he dreamed of a bright future, but his perfect life imploded when he discovered that his husband had done nothing but lie to him. A year later, Brody is mid-divorce, and his life has been turned upside down, so being part of the WBBS charity event is excellent timing. He’s sure it will give him time away from home and space to get his head straight, only he never expected to meet the man of his dreams in a snowy Alberta.

Winning season one of WBBS gave Justin Mallory a chance to outrun the demons of a childhood lost in the foster system. A social media influencer, with millions of followers and internet celebrity, leads to dollars in the bank. His marketing team signs him up for the WBBS Christmas charity show, even though everyone assumes that he won’t make it past the first round. Only, after a few days in the competition, his worry isn’t that he’ll be the first to leave, it’s that he’ll lose his heart to rival baker, Brody.

Reviewer: Shee Reader

If you follow RJ on any of her social media, you’ll know how obsessed she is with the Great British Bake Off (GBBO) which she cites as the inspiration for this festive tale. I love GBBO and I adored this book too!

It is charming, funny, sweet, exciting, and includes the cutest love story between rival bakers Brody and Justin. The characters are delightful and as charming as you’d expect from RJ. The dialogue is engaging and emotional. I so, so wanted Justin to be a bit more gentle with himself, and see that he was deserving of more than such a harshly pursued ‘brand’. And dear Brody - ah, his ex is a thorough douche, not good enough for him at all!

This book was a festive delight. The snowy hotel, the competition with bizarre sabotage and bake disasters and the cutest little romance. Oh when they built the snowman! *happy sigh* It was thoroughly lovely from start to finish.

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



Release Blitz + Giveaway: Edging Closer (Tales from the Edge #9) by L.M. Somerton

Author L.M. Somerton and Pride Publishing promote new release, Edging Closer (Tales from the Edge #9)! Find out the latest from the popular series and enter in the giveaway to win a FABULOUS GOODY BAG AND GRAB YOUR FREE L.M. SOMERTON ROMANCE BOOK!
 

Edging Closer by L.M. Somerton

General Release Date: 19th January 2021

Word Count: 45,233
Book Length: SHORT NOVEL
Pages: 183
Genres:  BONDAGE AND BDSM, CONTEMPORARY, EROTIC ROMANCE, GAY, GLBTQI

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Book Description


Apparently, the path of true love meanders through a minefield.

After several years of adventures, submissive Olly Glenn and his Dom, Joe Dexter, are about to tie the knot. Needless to say, all does not run smoothly on the path to matrimony. Only Olly can turn a visit to a cupcake shop into a police incident.

While Joe and Olly’s friends join forces to make their wedding the most memorable ever, others are not so keen on them getting their happy ever after—or living to experience their honeymoon. So, when Joe walks into a carefully laid trap, it’s hard to see a way out.

Olly is determined that nobody, not even a sociopathic killer with connections to his past, will ruin the big day. He wants Joe standing next to him, in one piece, and he’ll risk anything to make sure that happens, even if they have to be handcuffed together. In fact, that idea has possibilities…

Reader advisory: This book contains scenes of violence, stalking, abduction, and attempted murder.

Excerpt

“Olly, that dog is a menace. He needs more training, a bit like you.” Aiden’s tone betrayed his exasperation.

“Parker is just exuberant.” Olly gave his best friend in the world an aggravated glance. “He’s high on life. And I am very well trained, thank you very much. Ask Joe.”

Aiden snorted. “I’d sooner ask Heath to give me a foot rub and feed me grapes.”

“I’d like to be a fly on the wall for that conversation.” Olly laughed, simultaneously scanning the edge of the trees for his dog. “Where has he got to?”

“He’s not living up to his namesake, is he?” Aiden muttered. Parker was named after Lady Penelope’s chauffeur in Thunderbirds.

“He’s loyal and brave and…cleverer than he looks. Parker is the perfect name for him. What do you think I should have called him? Fang or Brutus, I suppose.”

“Fluff Butt, Hairball, Drool Monster… Want me to go on?”

“He does not… Okay, well he does drool a bit, but only when he gets excited.”

“The only time that animal is not excited is when he’s asleep.”

“He can’t help it, it’s in his genes.” To the best of Olly’s knowledge, and the educated guess of his friend Drew at the local animal rescue centre, Parker’s genes were from a spaniel retriever mash-up with a bit of old English sheepdog thrown in. He was pale yellow, long-haired, and had huge floppy ears and enormous paws.

“I think we had better get off the beach and follow him into the woods, don’t you?” Aiden turned away from the shoreline, extending his strides. “I have to get back to work soon. I can’t believe I let you drag me out here.”

“You spend too long in that dungeon you call an office,” Olly said. “You’re turning into a vampire. I know you like to look all pale and emo, but you need your vitamin D.”

“Trust me, I get plenty of D. And you’re a fine one to talk. My diet is far better than yours. You’d exist on sugar and caffeine if Joe let you.”

“Sugar comes from beets. Beets are a type of vegetable. Chocolate comes from cocoa beans. Beans are also vegetables. Coffee comes from…”

“Enough already.” Aiden shook his head. “You’re never going to convince Joe that any of that stuff is good for you, so I don’t know why you bother. Now, stop thinking about sugar and concentrate on finding your daft dog.”

“Nag, nag, nag. You’re worse than Joe.” Olly crossed the treeline into the semi-darkness of the forest, which covered one side of the island housing The Edge, the training centre where he and Aiden both lived and worked. He and Aiden had explored every inch of it, but preferred to walk along the shore. Parker, however, had other ideas. The woods meant rabbits and other small mammals that he could chase. It was easier to dig in the soft leaf mould than it was on the pebble beach, and he loved to shove his nose into burrows, nests and boggy patches. A frantic beating of wings and general disturbance in the trees gave Olly a clue as to where Parker was. He exchanged a glance with Aiden and they set off in the direction of the kerfuffle. There weren’t any proper marked paths through the trees, just animal tracks, and it took some effort to move through the undergrowth.

“We’re heading towards that hollow where the badger sett is, aren’t we?” Olly asked.

“He’s too big to get down those holes.” Aiden growled under his breath.

“It won’t stop him trying.” Olly sped up as best he could, scrambling up the incline that led to the lip of the hollow. “Whoa!” Momentum carried him forwards and he tumbled down the steep slope, finally rolling to a stop in a patch of damp grass and moss. Something wet swiped across his face and he opened his eyes to find Parker giving him an enthusiastic tongue bath. He burst out laughing, batting the dog away as he rolled to his knees. “Where did you get to, Parker? You had me worried there for a minute.”

Parker gave a gruff bark then nosed at Olly’s pocket for treats. “You don’t deserve treats.” Olly slipped him a biscuit bone anyway.

“Are you okay?” Aiden skidded to a halt at his side. “That was a spectacular tumble.”

Olly gave himself a pat down. “I had a soft landing. I’m fine and I found Parker.”

“So I see.” Parker gambolled around Aiden’s legs, almost knocking him over. “What were you doing, you daft mutt?”

“From the amount of dirt around his snout, I think he’s been trying to find badgers to make friends with,” Olly said as he staggered to his feet. He brushed at his clothes in a vain attempt to remove some of the muck. “I’m filthy.”

“No kidding.” Aiden picked a piece of twig out of Olly’s curls. “Are you sure you haven’t damaged anything other than your dignity?”

“My dignity is fully intact, thank you very much.” Olly attached Parker’s lead to his pale blue collar. “But we had better be getting back. I’ve got loads to do.”

“Wedding plans?” Aiden asked.

Olly nibbled his lower lip. “There’s so much organising involved.” He sighed.

“What’s wrong? You have been a bit quiet lately, come to think of it, and I am your best man, so if there’s anything I can do to help, you know you just have to ask.”

“It’s nothing—well, it is but it isn’t. I mean, I really, really want to get married, but…”

“But what? Spill it, Olly.”

“I’m not sure I want such a big event.” There, it was out in the open. Olly couldn’t meet Aiden’s eyes.

“And have you talked to Joe about this?”

“I… Haven’t found the right moment.”

“He so going to spank your behind if you don’t tell him.”

“But he’s been so good about researching all the arrangements. What if a huge wedding is what he wants more than anything in the world?”

“Joe may be all stern and Dommy, but when it comes to you he’s as sappy as they come. Whatever makes you happy is what he’ll want.”

“But I want him to be happy too. This wedding isn’t all about me, it’s about us.”

Parker led the way out of the woods to the path that headed back to The Edge, sniffing at every interesting smell they passed. Olly let him have his way, concentrating on not falling over again.

“And that’s why you should be talking about it, not keeping things to yourself. Joe would be devastated if he thought you were doing something just because you assumed he wanted it and not because it made you happy.”

“Maybe.”

“There’s no maybe about it. Talk to him.”

They circled the main building to a back door where Olly could wash the worst of the mud from Parker’s paws with a hose. “You get on—I know you have to get to work. I’ll see you later, ’kay?”

“Sure. Talk to him today, Olly. I mean it. You won’t be happy or settled until you do.”

Aiden disappeared into the building, leaving Olly alone with Parker. “Well, boy, let’s get you clean. Can’t take you inside in that state, can we?”

Once Parker was as clean as he could get without a full bath, Olly took him inside to the boot room, where he kept a stack of old towels. He gave him a quick rub down, and when he was satisfied that the dog wasn’t going to track dirt through the building, he took a shortcut to the courtyard that granted access to the stable mews cottage he shared with Joe. He fed Parker, who scoffed his food in ten seconds flat before curling up in his bed next to the fireplace and dropping off to sleep.

“So much for having a confidant,” Olly grumbled. “You’re asleep, Aiden’s at work with his secret squirrel stuff, Reuben’s out of bounds in the kitchen. I suppose I could call Kai or Christian, but it’s a bit early. Bite the bullet, Olly. Much as I hate to admit it, Aiden’s right. I should talk to Joe.”

Without bothering to change out of his mucky clothes, Olly wandered through the main building, taking a circuitous route to Joe’s office, which was situated off the main entrance hall. There were a few people around, and he waved to those he knew and greeted those he didn’t, but didn’t stop to chat. If he got distracted, he’d never talk to Joe, and that was what he needed to do.

Despite it being late summer and still warm, there was an open fire burning in the grate of the massive fireplace in the entrance hall, which always seemed to be a bit draughty. The flagstone floors were covered by bright rugs and the furnishings made the space cosy, but the number of people coming in and out of the front door meant that it was difficult to keep it warm. For that reason, Joe often kept his office door closed, but Olly could see that it was open a crack. He didn’t need to knock, but he gave the mellow oak a soft tap anyway before pushing his way inside. It had been less than two hours since he’d been snuggled in bed with Joe, but his breath still hitched when he met his lover’s icy blue eyes as Joe looked up from whatever paperwork he was dealing with.

“What on earth have you been doing?” Joe asked, his tone mild. Olly wasn’t deceived by the gentle enquiry. He nibbled on his lower lip. “No, you don’t have to tell me. You’ve been out walking Parker, haven’t you? I suppose he got into some kind of trouble and took you along with him. Or perhaps it was the other way around.”

“Sir,” Olly whined. “We don’t get into trouble, we have adventures.”

“Adventures that end with you covered in mud and with a grazed elbow.”

Olly inspected the offending arm. He hadn’t noticed the small graze that was oozing a couple of spots of blood. “Oh, I didn’t realise… I wonder how I did that. Probably when I fell down that hill.”

That statement got Joe to his feet and stalking around his desk. “You took a fall?” He pushed his office door closed and turned the key. “Take your clothes off, Oliver. I want to look you over.”

Olly sighed. He should have known that Joe wouldn’t be satisfied with him saying he wasn’t hurt—he had to have the proof of his own eyes.

“But I want to…”

“Oliver.”

“Yes, Sir.” Olly stripped to his underwear then stood, placid, while Joe inspected him.

“Hmm. A couple of bruises, some scratches and that graze. You’ll live.”

Olly fidgeted, shifting his weight from one foot to the other. Being in such close proximity to Joe when Joe was fully dressed and he was clad in skimpy underwear had an inevitable effect. He crossed his hands in front of his groin and attempted to look demure.

“You really think you can hide anything from me, Oliver?”

“No, Sir,” Olly mumbled.

“I think some quiet time is called for.” Joe gestured to the armchair in the corner of his office. “You may sit there while I carry on working. Think about why it’s important not to worry your Dom by throwing yourself around in the woods.”

Olly knew it was useless to protest, and besides, he liked being in the study while Joe worked. He curled into the chair, plumping the cushions to make a nest.

“Are you warm enough?”

“Toasty, thanks.”

Joe returned to his seat and bent over his papers, grumbling about some kind of error on an invoice. Olly let his eyes drift closed. He ignored his aching cock and allowed himself to daydream about Joe bending him over the desk for a spanking. He smiled. It wouldn’t be the first time.

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About the Author

L.M. Somerton

Lucinda lives in a small village in the English countryside, surrounded by rolling hills, cows and sheep. She started writing to fill time between jobs and is now firmly and unashamedly addicted. She loves the English weather, especially the rain, and adores a thunderstorm. She loves good food, warm company and a crackling fire. She's fascinated by the psychology of relationships, especially between men, and her stories contain some subtle (and some not so subtle) leanings towards BDSM. You can follow Lucinda on Twitter, Twitter and her Website.

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