Release Blitz: Undone (Vino and Veritas) by Leslie McAdam

Undone (Vino and Veritas) is out from the popular series! See what author Leslie McAdam and Gay Book Promotions share about the novel today!


Book Title: Undone (Vino and Veritas series) 

Author: Leslie McAdam

Publisher: Heart Eyes Press LGBTQ

Cover Artist: Christine Coffey

Release Date: August 12, 2021

Genre: Contemporary M/M romance

Tropes:  Roommates, friends-to-lovers

Theme: Bi-awakening

Heat Rating:  4 flames    

Length: 90 000 words

It is a standalone story. There are 18 books in the series, all by different authors. 

They are part of Sarina Bowen’s True North World. This is the LGBTQ line called Vino and Veritas.


Buy Links - Available in Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK 

He makes me come undone


My new roommate has the worst taste in men.

I mean, Murph’s special. He’s funny and flamboyant and full of life.

While I’m straight, even I can tell these guys aren’t good enough for him.

I had to yell at one date, toss another one out the door, and throw a beer in another’s face.

Kind of embarrassing, really. I don’t know what’s gotten into me.

I ask my sister what’s wrong with me and she says I’m jealous.

Jealous? Please. Me?

Come on.

Only thing is, I hate the thought of Murph kissing any guy. Ever.

Except, maybe ... me?

Undone is a contemporary m/m romance about a dreamy insurance agent that might not be as straight as he thinks, an adorable bartender who adds sparkle wherever he goes, and maybe one or two jokes about swords.


 Murph’s perspective

A few hours later, all my things are in the room. We centered the rug on the floor, and it lies under a bed that we’re almost done assembling.

Currently, Jason’s sprawled on my floor mechanic-style as he screws the sideboards to the headboard. I’m holding the two pieces together for him like I’m at a perfume counter handing out samples.

While all I want to do is straddle him. I mean, he’s just lying there on his back, waiting to be ridden.

Down, boy, I scold myself, and adjust my jeans.

In addition to a library’s worth of books, Jason helped haul up the mattress and the dresser. Navigating the stairs with the box spring turned out to be tricky, but we managed not to punch a hole in it or the walls, so I count that as a win.

Plus, I got to see his biceps flex. Bonus.

“I’m normally not this much of a wuss,” I say, as I hold the pieces together while he uses the drill. “I, you know, lift weights and stuff.”

That’s a lie.

“You do?”

“No,” I admit instantly. “But I like to run. And if you take me out, I’ll dance with you.”

I expect him to tell me he doesn’t take men out, but instead he asks, “How were you going to move all this in without me?” With a big hand, he gestures to everything piled in my new room.

My first thought is that I never want to do anything without him ever again. But that might be coming on a tad strong, especially since he’s my landlord.

Like that’s the only reason not to flirt with him. I might as well flirt with a mirror—then at least I’d know I was talking to a gay boy.

I shrug. “I suppose I’m like Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire. ‘I’ve always depended on the kindness of strangers.’”

His voice drops an octave and gets even gruffer. I had no idea that was possible. “My pleasure. I’m happy to help.” He sits up and dusts his hands off. “All done. Now you’ve got a place to sleep.”

“Or do other things.”

Shit. I said that out loud. In a singsong voice.

Change the subject, Murph.

Jason only smiles and gazes at me like I’m some fascinating specimen. Like he doesn’t know what to do with me.

It’s an almost indulgent look, and it makes me really happy.

“Am I keeping you from something? Work?” A girlfriend? Yeah, I’m fishing and deflecting. Two of my many talents that involve my tongue.

But I don’t want the confirmation about women. Not yet. Let me have at least one day of fantasy.

“No.” He starts tugging the box spring onto the bed frame. I guess I should help instead of standing here watching his back muscles tango under his shirt. Together we maneuver the box spring into place and set the mattress on top. “Took the afternoon off to help my new roommate move in.”

“I’m gonna tell your sister you played hooky. She said you work too much.”

He closes his eyes and smiles like he’s going to throttle her the next time he sees her. “She’s always on me about that. I’m fine. But no, I’m not working for the rest of the day.”

“And you’ve spent your day off helping me move. Thank you.”

“My pleasure.”

I like the way he says that. So many people say, “No problem,” but that implies that whatever you thanked them for could be a problem.

Being Jason’s pleasure, though?

That’s tempting.

About the Author

USA Today bestselling author Leslie McAdam is a California girl who loves romance and well-defined abs. She lives in a drafty old farmhouse on a small orange tree farm in Southern California with her husband and two small children. Leslie's first published book, The Sun and the Moon, won a 2015 Watty, which is the world's largest online writing competition. She's gone on to receive additional literary awards and has been featured in multiple publications, including Her books have been Top 100 Bestsellers on both Amazon and Apple Books. Leslie is employed by day but spends her nights writing about the men of your fantasies.

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Hosted by Gay Book Promotions

Tag Team Review: Subtle Blood (The Will Darling Adventures #3) by K.J. Charles

Will Darling is all right. His business is doing well, and so is his illicit relationship with Kim Secretan--disgraced aristocrat, ex-spy, amateur book-dealer. It’s starting to feel like he’s got his life under control.

And then a brutal murder in a gentleman’s club plunges them back into the shadow world of crime, deception, and the power of privilege. Worse, it brings them up against Kim’s noble, hostile family, and his upper-class life where Will can never belong.

With old and new enemies against them, and secrets on every side, Will and Kim have to fight for each other harder than ever—or be torn apart for good.


Adam - 4 Hearts

And so it ends! On a really good note too.

Will and Kim have settled into a happy routine. A bit dull perhaps, but that’s just fine after everything the two have been through.

Of course, that doesn’t last too long at all. Their past adventures and Kim’s abominable family pull both men right back into the midst of another crime.

KJ Charles really knows how to write murder and mystery. From the start, the twists and turns kept me hooked.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading everything unfold, and then finally understanding how all the pieces fit together. Plus, Maisie and Phoebe return with all of the fanfare and attention they deserve!

What made the plot even more entertaining - it was closely linked to learning more about Kim.

Kim has either been an enigma or an asshat since book 1. He’s worked hard to shed that asshat-ness, but his past has still been murky.

Well, Kim is a mystery no more! Turns out he’s the product of his family. It really did put things into perspective, and explained how Kit came to be the man he is. Especially so for Will.

I loved how Will absorbed it all and became the rock that Kim needed. They’ve had their ups and downs, but in book 3 the two men just get each other and do what needs to be done to keep each other whole.


Don’t get me wrong, they are far from sunshine and roses - Will and Kim are still snarky, combative, and seem to find joy in poking at each other. But it’s all done with love, and makes their quiet vulnerable moments all the more sweet.

Book 3’s ending is absolutely perfect for Kim and Will. And perhaps leaves room for a short follow-up? *hint hint, please*

This series (and Kim, Will, Maisie, and Phoebe) really grew on me. It’s got romance and mystery in spades. Recommended!

R *A Reader Obsessed* - 4.5 Hearts

Whoo! Talk about a page turner!!

Last we saw Will and Kim, they had taken those few tentative steps toward a fragile commitment towards each other, and now they’re slowly getting into their groove. All that seemingly domestic bliss however, is rudely interrupted when Kim’s awful arsehole of a brother is accused of murder.

Things quickly unravel into a complicated messy need to see Kim’s brother exonerated, and Will and Kim do what they do best in trying to find a way out of the shit show they find themselves embroiled in. What they uncover is perhaps a not so shocking realization. Their common enemy, Zodiac, is trying to regain their feet after they were disbanded in The Sugared Game, and Will and Kim have landed smack dab in the middle of it, mucking about and causing their trademark meddlesome trouble.

For me, this series continues to get better and better as it successfully brings a great supporting cast, a complicated mystery full of twists and turns, all the while brandishing gentlemanly propriety amidst some not so gentlemanly situations. What this also brings is some seriously romantic and well earned swoon! Both Will and Kim have taken a deep dive into what their hearts truly desire and once that realization is made, they'll do anything to see it come to fruition. And how!

Admittedly, I wondered how Charles would close this trilogy, both in the overall series arc and with the love progression. Don’t fear dear readers, for she didn’t fail us. Historicals aren’t a top trope that I readily delve into, but Charles makes a strong argument for them as I blatantly call for more of her paranormal stories!! To say the least, I’m not easily impressed, but I’m waving the white flag in concession as this pulls out all the stops!

A copy provided for an honest review.

Blog Tour + Giveaway: Ink: Queer Sci Fi 8th Annual Flash Fiction Anthology by Various Authors

Queer Sci Fi hosts today's blog tour stop for their 8th annual flash fiction anthology, Ink! Check out the excerpt from one the various stories of the collection and enter in the Amazon gift card giveaway!

ANNOUNCEMENT/GIVEAWAY: Ink - Queer Sci Fi's 7th Flash Fiction Anthology

Queer Sci Fi's annual flash fiction anthology is finally here - and this year the theme is Ink. There's a giveaway too!


Five definitions to inspire writers around the world and an unlimited number of possible stories to tell:

1) A colored fluid used for writing

2) The action of signing a deal

3) A black liquid ejected by squid

4) Publicity in the written media

5) A slang word for tattoos

Ink features 300-word speculative flash fiction stories from across the rainbow spectrum, from the minds of the writers of Queer Sci Fi.

Publisher | Amazon Kindle | Amazon Paperback | Amazon Hardcover | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Scribd | Thalia | Vivlio | Goodreads


QSF is giving away an Amazon gift card with this tour:

Direct Link:


Ink meme

“Vervain had watched, one by one, as her childhood friends blossomed with red, the words of their soulmates inked into their skins. The stories of their lives together, from the day they met to the day they would die, unfolding each day. Her sister Iris, an aspiring bard, had woken one morning after meeting a girl in the village, the words poet meets potion-makershining bright and scarlet. Vervain’s friend Raven had dashed across the marketplace the day two separate lines had sprung forth on their skin—two loves, three souls entwined in the ink of their hearts.” —Lauren Triola, The Unmarked

“I love our sentient AI high school, EduTron 6000 (kids call her “Edie”). She plays soothing classical music in study hall and always listens when you have a bad day. But she’s a stickler for rules, and hates graffiti, which put a major damper on my epic prom-posal plan.” —Brenna Harvey, EduTron 6000 + Principal Vertner 4Ever

“I get out of the shower and it's there. Dripping down the mirror—splip—and forming a rivulet of color across the tile floor. Thinner than paint, more vibrant than water. Sometimes it's iridescent, but today it's just...bright. A stream of colorful consciousness leading me across the bathroom, down the hall, out of...wait. I go to my bedroom and hastily put on whatever I can reach. Yesterday's bra, the jeans from the floor, finger comb my short hair, a random t-shirt—purple. The same color the ink is today. Does that mean something?” —Geneva Vand, The Colors of Fate

“Marianne paced the length of the small hall that connected the living room, and the door to the outside, to the bedroom, and the door to the inside. Temporary steps, tracing a path towards a temporary solution to a permanent problem. Beyond the crack of the door, she saw her wife sleeping soundly in the cool of the late night. Temporary wife, temporary bedroom.” —Brooke K. Bell, Temporary/Permanent

“The round stone room that they lock the poet in contains nothing but a writing desk. The desk, of course, is fully stocked. Piles of creamy paper, elegantly carved sable-fur brushes, a pyramid of neatly-stacked inksticks, and an inkstone, its well full of perfectly still water. Sunlight streams down from a single window, high overhead and barred. Too high to reach even when she stands on the desk, its thin legs wobbling beneath her.” —Jamie Lackey, Inksticks and Paper Swans

“Rna’la arrived at Intergalactic Date-A-Thon and signed in using zir own gelatinous fluid (no scratchy ballpoint for zem, thanks!) The human woman collecting signatures blushed pinkly. Rna’la’s hearts throbbed in zir throat. Probably not attending. Ze passed several individuals in the hallway. Some bowed, some ignored zem. Not everyone recognized the current ruler of Th’ul.” —M.X Kelly, To Have and to Hold and to Hold and to Hold


  • Amarilys Acosta – Heart Ink
  • Emilia Agrafojo – Mixology
  • Addison Albright – Cave Drawing
  • Tam Ames – The Autograph
  • RE Andeen – The Skinchanger’s Art
  • Laura Antoniou – A Most Rewarding Quest
  • Blaine D. Arden – Mending
  • H. Argent – Impending Affair
  • Aten – Power
  • Ryley Banks – Right Place, Right Time
  • Jorane G. Barton – Alternate Endings
  • Joe Baumann – Babbler
  • Brooke K. Bell – Temporary/Permanent
  • David Berger – Indelible
  • Eytan Bernstein – I Never Knew
  • Gordon Bonnet – Nexus
  • Die Booth – Faith and the Thorncutters
  • Charlie Boynton – He Bleeds Ink
  • Ryan Breadinc – The Ink Reader
  • M. Burns – The Final Line
  • Meghan Byers – Unmoored
  • Aron Caer – Writer’s Blood
  • Elsa M. Carruthers – I Am Happy to Be Here Today
  • Foster Bridget Cassidy – Unfamiliar Waters
  • Minerva Cerridwen – Not Alone
  • Amanda Cherry – Signed
  • Gwen Coholan – Ballpoint
  • Rory Ni Coileain – All Myths Are True (but some are truer than others)
  • Comer – Her Very Comfy Couch
  • Georgia Cook – Butterfly
  • Elliot Cooper – The Collection
  • Bryan Crystal-Thursdton – Fluid
  • Monique Cuillerier – The Present
  • Claire Davon – Squid on the Beach
  • Nicole Dennis – Hidden Spell
  • Toshi Drake – Indelible Ink
  • James Dunham – Lydia’s Back
  • Allen Dyen-Shapiro – To Share the Sky
  • Eason – On the Conjoined Practice of Demonology and Scribal Longhand
  • P. Egry – Confessions of an Inkaholic
  • B. Eyre – A Prisoner and a Captain
  • Kim Fielding – Devil and Advocates
  • Sheila Finch – Love is Blind
  • Steve Fuson – Blank as the Page
  • Jasie Gale – Pandora’s Row
  • Magaly Garcia – rough draft #9/grocery list
  • Isobel Granby – The Date Book
  • Jacqui Greaves – A Dish Served Hot
  • Sacchi Green – S/He Who Remembers
  • D. Grimm – Companions
  • Kaje Harper – The Pen is Mightier
  • Brenna Harvey – EduTron 6000 + Principal Vertner 4Ever
  • Kelly Haworth – Off Spectrum
  • Sheryl R. Hayes – Panagram
  • Chisto Healy – The Fine Print
  • A. Hunt – Untitled
  • S R Jones – So Let it Be Written, So Let It Be Done
  • Dale Jordan – The Summoning
  • Kim Katil – Heart Bound in Ink
  • April Kelley – How to Create a Monster
  • Ava Kelly – Soullink
  • Laura J. Kelly – Rougarous Inc.
  • X. Kelly – To Have and to Hold and to Hold and to Hold
  • Adrik Kemp – Meet Cute
  • Jessica M. Kormos – The Tattooist
  • Barbara Krasnoff – The Inker, The Cat and The Parrot
  • Jamie Lackey – Inksticks and Paper Swans
  • Benoit Lafortune – Dragon Blood
  • Tris Lawrence – Soul Afire
  • Anja Hendrikse Liu – Stranger Stories
  • Ainslie Lloyd – Off the Wall
  • Nathan Alling Long – It’s What’s Inside That Counts
  • Lily Luchesi – The Angel With Demon Blood
  • K. Mads – The Dragon’s Price
  • L. McCartney – Risotto Nero
  • Paula McGrath – Free Hugs
  • Helen M. Merrick – The Rose Tattoo
  • Lynn Michaels – Battleground
  • R. Moler – Ink is Memory
  • Fiona Moore – The Muse’s Gift
  • W. Murks – Just a Nudge
  • S. Murphy – Love’s Portrait
  • RJ Mustafa – Shadowbird
  • Mary Newman – Graven Images
  • Thea Nishimori – Glossaderma
  • L. Noone – Openings
  • Raine Norman – The Morning After
  • Orion O’Connell – The Midnight Librarian
  • Bradley Robert Parks – Guilty Pleasure Reading
  • Dale Parnell – Belonging
  • Terry Poole – Sign on the Dotted Line
  • Brooke Prado – Cursebreaker
  • Taylor Ramage – Inkshader
  • Robin Reed – Printed Love
  • S. Reinholt – Colours of Union
  • Jen Rivers – The Aerium
  • Jeff Ronan – Inked
  • Herminia Root – Aedan
  • Taylor Roth – For Death Doesn’t Part
  • Jamie Sands – Toby’s Tattoo
  • Rodello Santos – Told
  • F. Schraeder – Spider Legs
  • Ziggy Schutz – Renaming
  • RJ Scott – Blood
  • Alex Silver – Summoned
  • Alex Sobel – Tense
  • Ada Maria Soto – The Marks of a Knight
  • Anna Stacy – Livename
  • Susan Stradiotto – Moon Child
  • Lou Sylvre – The Flight of the Telorites
  • Nathaniel Taff – For Posterity’s Sake
  • Naomi Tajedler – Oddities
  • Sara Testarossa – Subversion
  • Lauren Triola – The Unmarked
  • Geneva Vand – The Colors of Fate
  • M. Walker – The Hurt Patch
  • Dean Wells – A Flacon of Ink
  • T. Wyant – Future Perfect
  • Rina Youngblood – Proof in the Telling
  • Aubrey Zahn – Jumper
  • Rainie Zenith – Blind Date

Other Worlds Ink logo

Release Blitz + Giveaway: Antiques (Intrinsic Values #2) by Bailey Bradford

Author Bailey Bradford and Pride Publishing share release blitz for BDSM romantic suspense, Antiques (Intrinsic Values #2)! Learn more and enter in the giveaway for a chance to win a gift package and backlist eBook from the author!

Antiques by Bailey Bradford

Book 2 in the Intrinsic Values series

Word Count: 53,479 Book Length: NOVEL Pages: 214



Add to Goodreads

Book Description

Elliot Douglas lived his life on the sidelines—until Drew Harrington smashed front and center into it…

Since rebuilding his life, Elliot Douglas has led a quiet existence, hiding behind a routine and the old-fashioned clothes and behavior that make him seem older than his early forties. Now he’s taking one step at a time toward creating a more fulfilling life…one in which his sexual needs to submit are met.

However, baby steps are left behind when he meets Detective Andrew Harrington.

A driven—some say obsessed—Scotland Yard detective, Drew lives by compartmentalizing, focusing on his work and, as a Dom, enjoying BDSM sex as a stress relief. On the track of stolen paintings, he’s traced them to San Antonio, where he’s distracted from the case by an infuriatingly handsome antiques trader who’s not as predictable or fuddy-duddy as he wants the world to think.

Intrigued, Drew’s drawn to that mystery as much as the one he’s there to solve, which blindsides him.

Elliot and Drew’s attraction is instant, and their feelings strong, especially when Drew poses as Elliot’s boyfriend to infiltrate the local antiques scene. But nothing is what it seems—not the case, not Drew…and not even Elliot. With deception all around them, what hope do two men unused to trust and commitment have of a relationship?

Reader advisory: This book contains a scene of on-page stabbing, assault and the threat of sexual assault.


Elliot Douglas knew he should have been hurrying. He detested being late for anything, considering it disorganized at best and impolite at worst, when he prided himself on being neither of those things. In addition, he was very much looking forward to this appointment. No—he very much needed this appointment. While those undeniable facts made him lengthen his stride a tad, his interest in the architecture and design of the houses on the midtown streets he was walking along meant he kept glimpsing things that grabbed his attention.

As the proprietor and manager of San Antonio’s Intrinsic Value antiques shop, his wide-ranging interest in art and design had him taking in everything from the houses’ building styles to their colors and trims. He’d been to many well-known interactive museums and ever since his first visit to this area of San Antonio had thought of it as a living architectural gallery.

His whimsical feeling that he should have a chart or worksheet so he could tick off examples of the different building types all around him made him smile. Maybe he should make something along those lines, some mini poster to be labeled and even colored in? Edwardian, Victorian, Tudor… His quickening steps echoed the rhythm of his thoughts that listed the design styles he passed. I would design that, yes, if I could draw.

Should he have chosen this neighborhood to settle in? The question surged whenever he came here to Tobin Hill, where his love of collectible objects and period pieces had him slowing down to appreciate details of everything from lawn or porch furniture to hanging lanterns or even lampposts that caught his eye. If his pace slackened, it was because of that and nothing to do with him being in his forties. Forty-two wasn’t old, no matter how old-fashioned he was or even how he might feel at times, and Elliot kept his six-foot-plus frame fit and in shape.

But the visual appeal of this community, and the location, so convenient for his store, had him second-guessing yet again the area he’d actually bought real estate in. Well, too bad. With all the work he was putting into his property, he couldn’t see himself moving. And besides, he really liked his house, his refuge from the world.

His destination was in sight, and he hurried up the short drive and onto the small porch of the square ranch-style house, smiling anew as always at the realtor description of these nineteen-seventies stucco properties as “California bungalow style”.

There would be no need to lift the brass knocker, so Elliot raked both hands through his light-brown hair to settle the slightly long waves that sprang from his temples, trying not to think that he’d combed his fingers through where his hair had started to silver. He even went to polish his wire-framed glasses before remembering he didn’t wear them in the daytime any longer…which of course had him blinking, aware of his relatively new contact lenses.

“Lars.” Elliot greeted the man who’d opened the door for him and who now stood back to usher him in with his usual pleasant, welcoming expression.

“Elliot.” Lars was discreet, never saying Elliot’s—or anyone’s name—until the front door was firmly closed. He tended to blend into the room, tasteful yet unremarkable, and was now unobtrusively noting Elliot’s arrival on a slim handheld tablet, the dark-gray cover of which he flipped open and immediately flicked closed again.

The computer equipment had grated on Elliot at first. He wasn’t at all a fan of technology, but he knew he couldn’t expect people to keep track of appointments in ledgers or books these days. And goodness, he had a cellular phone—as he still called it—himself nowadays. A friend from the club where Elliot exercised and swam worked in IT and had helped him choose a sleek, slimline model. Nothing big or bulky or flashy, and Elliot was still in the forgetting it in his office or kitchen phase of coexistence with it.

Karl, the man he was here to see, came out into the waiting room and regarded him. “Good morning, Elliot. Do come on in…or do you need another minute yet to look around and think how you’d decorate and furnish the place?”

He’d told Karl about that silly habit of his, something he did in homes or stores or restaurants, and Karl had found it charming, always remembering it. Elliot gave a rueful nod of acknowledgment and, casting his eyes down, walked past Karl into the next room, where there was calm and peace and barely audible soft music playing. He waited for Karl to enter behind him, close the door and sit, then nod toward a chair for Elliot to seat himself.

“You walked here?” Karl asked, his steely blue eyes catching the light. The morning sun made his neatly groomed dark hair, short beard and mustache shine. He probably chose to sit where he was on purpose and his stillness ensured he’d remain in the light. “Elliot?”

“Oh, excuse me. Wool-gathering. Yes. I like the walk. It’s part of coming here, for me. A warm-up.”

He knew what he meant. The distance was nothing from Intrinsic Value, in the city’s cultural Pearl District, but more of a stretch from his home in Lavaca.

“And you came from home? I’d hate to think you were at work so early.” Karl gave him an assessing once-over. “Help yourself to water.” His short, sharp chin jerk indicated the jug and glasses on the small table. “Have you been overworking since your last visit?”

“Well…” Elliot hedged, pouring himself a little water that he didn’t want and wouldn’t drink.

“Elliot. You know better than that.” Karl sharpened his tone a little. “Tell me.”

He hadn’t gone into recent…incidents in any great detail with Karl but had shared some of what had been happening at the store and with his employees lately. Now he caught Karl up on how things had finally settled down again after the events that had been set in motion when Elliot had purchased items from the Buckman sale.

“I swore off them, but I did go to another estate sale last week actually. There’s the local art and antiques fair coming up soon and I have a list of items to look out for there,” he finished.

“With most of them being for your house, on which you’re still working nonstop,” Karl surmised. Elliot dropped his gaze. “But you’ve found time to relax, to exercise? You look in great shape.”

Elliot’s face heated at the kind words. “Swimming most evenings, and I took up squash again.” More like he’d forced himself. But…

“Excellent. And we’ll have you switching to racquetball soon!” Karl’s eyes gleamed and he stood, motioning Elliot to his feet with a quick crook of his fingers. “It’s time. Go on through.”

Through into what Elliot thought of as the real room, after he’d showered and prepared, of course. Elliot was used to older mirrors, in the store and his house, and tended to avoid modern ones, but the full-length bathroom mirror here didn’t give too stark a reflection. The recessed lighting made his eyes seem more tawny than brown when he peered at his irises, checking on his lenses. Towel tucked around his waist, he walked into the treatment room. The real room.

“Elliot.” Karl coming in the other door caught him by surprise. “You’re not lying down.”

“Sorry,” Elliot muttered.

“Don’t be sorry. Be more obedient.” Karl took off his suit jacket, leaving him in his shirt and vest. He rolled up his sleeves, revealing his muscular forearms. He was powerfully built, with quiet, contained strength.

It was starting, frissons whispering down Elliot’s spine. Nodding, he lay on the table, swallowing at the snick of the door being locked, then the splat of the oil being pumped. The noises, the scents, were familiar, as were Karl’s hands smoothing his upper back and shoulders. Him pressing strong thumbs up the nape of Elliot’s neck had Elliot holding in a moan.

“Head to the side on the rest…hands on the wings…” Karl ordered, a second before the table’s mechanism popped out the armrests either side for Elliot to hold on to. In seconds, a padded strap snaked across his neck, holding his head in position and leather straps were buckled around his wrists, keeping his hands in place.

Buckled by Lars, who Elliot hadn’t even heard come in or lock the door again after him, although Elliot knew he would have, just as he knew Lars would now position the flat mirror to the side of the head of the table, angling it in such a way that Elliot could see what Karl would be doing to him. Everything Karl would be doing to him.

Karl paused, even after Lars finished, making Elliot shiver and ask, “Now what?”

“You know what.” Karl whisked Elliot’s towel away, leaving him naked. In seconds, the table’s end section was extended and widened, spreading Elliot’s legs to Karl’s satisfaction, and further straps secured his ankles to the corners. He peeped in the mirror—he was fully bound, as pulling at his bonds showed him.

“The ball gag, I think,” Karl said.

Elliot shook his head.

“Hmm. I’ll let you have that…” Karl’s voiced faded as he appeared to think. A quiet command had Lars offering him a tray from which Karl made his choice of the selection of bandannas it held. He twisted the cotton cloth into a strip and made a knot in its middle, tying another on top of the first to make it bigger. Big enough to gag Elliot, when placed in his mouth and the fabric tied around the back of his head.

“I like the look of over-the-mouth on you,” Karl reflected. “And it soaks up the saliva. But it’s the ball gag next time.”

The hard edge to his voice had tiny tremors rippling Elliot’s skin and his rapidly filling balls had him shifting on the table.

“Although I do like to hear you,” Karl commented, drawing a sharp fingernail down Elliot’s spine.

Elliot, eyes wide, struggled around the gag.

“You struggle so prettily,” Karl told him, watching his face.

Elliot didn’t think he looked pretty at all. He thought he looked like the thickset, almost middle-aged man he was. But here, at Karl’s, he felt pretty, perhaps, and loved the sensation. He thrilled at all the different feelings that each part of the appointment provided, and underlying them all was pride in himself for having taken this stride toward what he needed. Another step out from behind the wall I built around myself.

Karl’s “Ready?” had hardly reached Elliot’s ears before Karl delivered the first blow, an open-handed spank to one ass cheek. Although Elliot knew what was coming, the first strike was always a jolt, a blow he felt radiate out from the point of impact to his toes in one direction and his head in the other—Karl hit hard. Elliot breathed out around the cloth in his mouth, riding the sensations in the few seconds Karl allowed before he followed the initial smack with a second to the other cheek, one that made Elliot pant through the gag.

More powerful, meaty smacks followed, Lars’ quiet voice counting them. Having Karl’s sub witness what his Dom, Karl, did to Elliot was part of the process.

“Ten. And that’s the warm-up.”

Elliot was almost relieved. He was already burning, tears slipping from his eyes. He turned slightly to catch Lars’ impassive expression and that added to the sensations buffeting him. He turned back to see Karl in the mirror, shaking out his hand.

“Now, sting or thud?” Karl watched Elliot’s hand and repeated, his voice harsher, “Elliot, sting? Thud?”

On the second choice, Elliot curled his fingers twice, their agreed signal for yes. Everything they practiced was always pre-negotiated.

“Good.” Karl took a wooden paddle from the flat box Lars held out to him. He motioned to Lars to loosen Elliot’s gag a little. “How many?”

“U…up to you, sir,” Elliot managed before Lars replaced the gag again.

“Is the correct answer.”

Elliot thought Karl rewarded him for it by hitting extra hard.

“Five, I think…” The blows Karl, pro-Dom, landed were precise. He’d never once come anywhere near to striking Elliot’s hip or tailbones. The impact of each tightened every nerve in Elliot’s body and fired heat through every vein, intensifying with each hit.

Ai’ive,” Elliot counted, as well as he could around the soaked cloth in his mouth.

“And now the other…” Karl murmured, and selected a new paddle for Elliot’s other butt cheek.

No!” Elliot implored through the gag, trying to struggle. “Nuff. Can’t take more…”

Karl waited a few seconds then bent low to speak next to Elliot’s head. “Oh, you’ll take it, Elliot. And any more protest, and I add strokes to the tally.”

That extra bite, that element of being forced that inch beyond what he said he could handle—thought he could handle—was everything to Elliot. It had started with being strapped down—he still remembered his struggles—then having another person witness his play… All things Elliot had barely understood deep down in the recesses of his psyche that he craved. But he was starting to understand more and more…and act on his needs.

Karl straightened and began again, and there was only the impact, the blows, and Elliot’s soul vibrating to each one, to take him soaring. Heat burning through him, he was shaking and sweating when Karl finished. He had his eyes closed, but felt hands undoing his straps, then Karl was helping him to turn over. He cried out when his abused ass made contact with the table.

“Look at you.” Karl’s voice held admiration for Elliot’s straining cock, the head wet and shiny with pre-cum. “How badly do you need to come?”

This was another Karl question that didn’t need an answer. “You’re going to wait a full minute. Do not touch yourself until I say. Understood? Say the word.”

“Understood.” It came out in nothing like his usual cultured tone.

The second hand on the large wall clock had never moved so slowly. Elliot, desperate, was just beginning to suspect something was wrong with it or that Karl had rigged it, when Karl nodded. “Do it. Let me see you.”

It didn’t take Elliot long. A few pulls at himself, a loud moan and he climaxed over his stomach and chest, his body a rigid arch off the table. His eyes on Karl, basking in the warmth on his face and the praise he loosed, Elliot milked his cock to the last drops. He accepted the soft tissues Karl held out to him to dab at himself. It didn’t matter, because the session always finished with another shower.

His after-shower always felt totally different from the one before, and now Elliot was less keyed up, he could appreciate the finer details, such as Karl having ready the bergamot and sandalwood soap Elliot liked, which he used at home. Elliot lathered his body, wondering as he always did if he’d ever have someone do that for him, in the same ways as he’d soap that person, both of them caring for the other.

He made himself wait until he was toweling himself dry to examine his ass cheeks. What he saw had him grinning, and not just at the reddened color—the paddles Karl had used on him had been imprinted.

He’d tried to glimpse the words or designs on them during the session but had been unable. Now, though, he stared at his right cheek, with its new image of a heart, right in its center, and at his left, which bore the word love. He did love it, every aspect of coming here, the service Karl provided, the careful way he ran his business, how it didn’t feel like a transaction…

As much as Elliot thrilled to the anticipation and thrived on the acts themselves, he also loved the winding down. The final stage was always out on the back porch with Karl, for light chat and the herbal tea they both enjoyed…and Elliot forced himself not to wince at how sitting on his recently paddled ass felt.

“Do you get to the club much?” Elliot thought to ask. The place they’d met, where Karl played as a Dom.

“Not as much now.” Karl put his cup down. “And I know you don’t either. The atmosphere’s a little different in there recently. I think there are some changes on the horizon—I heard it’s getting a little harder-edged, more extreme, and maybe new management? But we’ll see if the changes are for the better. Some can be.”

Elliot’s preference for a routine was a half-joke between them. When he stood to go, Karl looped a hand around his upper back to bring him close. “Take care,” he murmured.

Elliot started his walk to the store. He felt good, lighter, as he always did after a session with Karl, yet heaviness was creeping in sooner than it usually did. He reviewed the progress he’d made. Trying to come out from behind the barricades he’d shuttered himself behind, he’d gone for coffee with a couple of guys from his sports club and even a drink once, but there’d been no spark.

Then, when he’d come to understand that rough, submissive sex was what he craved, he’d gone looking for it in Caress, where there were plenty of Doms. But as much as he might crave to play in public, the idea of subbing to someone he didn’t know, who didn’t know him, and who Elliot didn’t know if he could trust, made him freeze up.

He’d found a good compromise in Karl and his behind-closed-doors service. He liked the kind of man Karl was, and also their arrangement, but couldn’t help envying what Karl and Lars had.

What must that be like, that sort of relationship? To be with someone he could give all of himself to, voice all his needs to, and for that person to act on them with him…because they met his needs too? And all of them, including companionship, domesticity… He’d never had that and doubted he ever would.

Wishes and dreams, maybes and moonbeams.” It was a silly expression of his grandmother’s, one he hadn’t thought of for years, and it came to him out of the blue.

No. Elliot focused on the day ahead, on his schedule, what he’d be doing and when. He planned to order something different for lunch—that was the next brick he was going to topple from the wall around himself. Maybe one day, in the future, he’d be ready to take bigger actions, but for now…

Now was longing, as tenuous and as strong as a moonbeam, slipping through the cracks.

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About the Author

Bailey Bradford

A native Texan, Bailey spends her days spinning stories around in her head, which has contributed to more than one incident of tripping over her own feet. Evenings are reserved for pounding away at the keyboard, as are early morning hours. Sleep? Doesn't happen much. Writing is too much fun, and there are too many characters bouncing about, tapping on Bailey's brain demanding to be let out.

Caffeine and chocolate are permanent fixtures in Bailey's office and are never far from hand at any given time. Removing either of those necessities from Bailey's presence can result in what is known as A Very, Very Scary Bailey and is not advised under any circumstances.


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Release Blitz + Giveaway: Road to Revenge (Road to...#1) by Mell Eight

Author Mell Eight and IndiGo Marketing returns with a new release blitz for Road to Revenge (Road to...#1)! Discover more about the thriller and enter in the $10 NineStar Press credit giveaway!

Title: Road to Revenge

Series: Road to..., Book One

Author: Mell Eight

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 08/09/2021

Heat Level: 1 - No Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 40600

Genre: Contemporary Thriller, LGBTQIA+, terrorism, religious extremism, secret agents, international espionage, revenge, military

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Rafi only wanted to spend a relaxing day in Tel Aviv with his lover, Mihi. When a bomb goes off outside the restaurant where they stopped for lunch, killing several people and leaving Mihi in critical condition, Rafi vows to catch the culprits and make them pay. Set on revenge, Rafi accepts an assignment to infiltrate a group of humanitarians to figure out which of them was responsible—and to stop whatever they’re planning next.


Road to Revenge
Mell Eight © 2021
All Rights Reserved

Rehov Dizengoff, Tel Aviv

Mihi walked as though he was dancing, so smoothly my eyes couldn’t help tracking his hips as they wiggled so enticingly just ahead of me along the busy street. Dizengoff Street was one of the main shopping thoroughfares in Tel Aviv; the gigantic, two-story Dizengoff Mall took up two blocks on both sides of the street and was only a half mile away. We were on the end of the road closer to the beach, though, so we were surrounded by small shops and restaurants instead of cars.

The sidewalks were large, which was good because dodging daredevils riding their motor scooters was just one small part of walking in Israel. Another was dodging the water from dripping AC units hanging out of the apartment windows above every single shop. The third was dodging the stray animals and their leavings—Israel has a small problem with stray cats, mostly because there was minimal effort to contain the enormous population.

“How about this café?” Mihi called ahead of me, spinning gracefully on one heel to glance back at me. He saw the direction of my eyes and grinned impishly, twitching his hips again in a blatant invitation he knew I would eagerly accept when we returned to our private room in a nearby hostel.

But first we would have lunch and then we would spend the afternoon sitting on the beautiful beach watching the sunset. Then maybe we would take the long walk down to Jaffa for dinner, or maybe we could try a local falafel place. Falafel was the food of the Middle East, and Israelis knew how to fry up the chickpea mixture just right.

I followed Mihi into the little café, glad we were avoiding the chain café, Aroma, on the next corner. It was a relief to be inside, away from the heat of the day and the constant rumble of busses and honking of cars that filled Dizengoff Street to the brim. Mihi was already waiting for me at the counter, menu in hand and a grin on his face for my slower pace.

He was so beautiful, my Mihi, with his slightly curled brown hair flopping into his bright and happy brown eyes. His family was originally from the Romanian side of the Russian border before they fled the Holocaust and the Russian pogroms, so his skin was always just a shade tanned. He had managed to get the prominent cheekbones from his mother’s side of the family, which took a good bit of attention away from his father’s slightly hooked nose that sat in the center of Mihi’s otherwise flawless face. Mihi was perfect, and I couldn’t help smiling back at him as I joined him at the counter.

We ordered. Simple sandwiches because Israelis never ate truly large meals and therefore didn’t offer them even in a tourist-heavy area like Dizengoff. I followed Mihi to a table in the corner; it was right up against the glass window where we could people watch and cringe at the amazing stunts some of the drivers pulled to make their way through traffic.

Mihi took the better seat in the corner, where he could have his back to the blank wall and the entire window in front. I bent down to kiss him gently on the temple instead of taking the seat across from him.

“Bathroom,” I murmured into his ear before pulling away and heading toward the restroom sign in the very back of the shop. Mihi gave me another one of his impish smiles and waved me off. He was already setting out napkins so we could eat properly. One of the napkins fluttered to the ground as I pushed the bathroom door open, and I couldn’t hold back a tiny smirk. Mihi hadn’t noticed it yet, but I knew that napkin would be picked up and thrown away before I returned.

I took care of my business and was washing my hands when it happened. A loud thump made my ears ring. The building shook, the mirror in front of me cracked and splintered, plaster from the ceiling rained down on my hair, and then total silence.

Then: screams.

I stood in front of the sink, the water still running cold and clear over hands, frozen in place. My eyes were wide in shock, hazel blue set in Polish-pale skin. My light brown hair was flecked with white plaster dust. My entire face motionless within the cracked frame of the mirror, waiting while my brain processed what I’d just felt and heard.

Suddenly, I could feel my lungs aching, and as if that were a signal to turn back on, my body gasped for air. I shook as I spun away from the sink, the water still running, and rushed to the door. I flung it open to total chaos.

The warped and blackened frame of a number nine Dan bus burned at the bus stop outside. Bodies and body parts littered the sidewalk, blood leaking from below the twisted metal.

The front window of the café was shattered, glass strewn across the floor. None of the tables and chairs in front of me were still standing and there were bodies everywhere.

The person sitting closest to the blast was missing most of his head. I gagged, but fought throwing up as I pushed through the mess back toward the small table in the far corner.

People were moaning, bleeding, and dead around me, but I only had eyes for a particular crumpled table and chairs and the bare leg clad in a flowery bathing suit I could see poking out beneath the debris.

No one by the window could have survived that blast. My heart batted away the thought even as my brain supplied it.

The leg was still bleeding, shrapnel wounds marring the lightly tanned skin. It was attached to a torso hidden beneath the table. I threw that table off with all my strength, dropping to my knees at Mihi’s side.

He was still breathing, my brain supplied. My heart decided it would keep beating for the moment.

Clutched in one hand was that silly napkin dropped to the floor just moments before. I have never been so happy for Mihi’s little quirks. He must have been bending over when the blast went off and had been protected by the wall at his back. The table and chairs must have shielded him from the worst of it.

Mihi’s eyes fluttered open, unfocused and glazed with pain. He immediately found me.

“Mihi!” I gasped, one hand reaching out to cup his cheek. His ear was bleeding sluggishly onto my hand, but his cheekbone was unbroken.

“Rafi,” he whispered in a cracked and broken voice. His eyes slid shut again.

“Mihi!” I yelled. “Mihi, you’re going to be okay!”

Finally, I started to hear the sirens. People who had seen the blast were already trying to find the living, but they were still searching by the remains of the bus. All of them, from the helpers to the EMTs, were taking their very lives into their hands. Everyone knew the terrorists liked to set off one blast and then wait for the emergency crews to arrive before doing their best to destroy the ambulances and kill all the first responders—even more innocents dead to their horrible vendetta.

My Mihi didn’t have time for any of that foolishness. As one of the ambulances jumped the curb and drove onto the sidewalk I stood and started waving frantically.

“Here!” I screamed, frenzied and hopped up on fear and adrenaline. The driver saw me and pointed. Two men leapt out of the back of the truck and rushed over with heavy bags banging against their sides. They stepped directly through the empty window and dropped down at Mihi’s side.

One took Mihi’s vitals while another started pulling the remains of the chair and table away from Mihi’s body.

“Still alive,” the first one grunted in Hebrew, waving one hand for a woman setting up a stretcher to hurry over. They didn’t rush, but it wasn’t long before Mihi was strapped properly into the stretcher and was rolling off toward the ambulance. I followed along behind, like a lost puppy following his owner, and climbed into the ambulance behind Mihi.

Something in my face must have alerted the EMT woman already bending over Mihi, because she pointed toward a seat by the door. I took it and couldn’t help my flinch when the doors slammed shut behind me.


NineStar Press | Books2Read


Meet the Author

When Mell Eight was in high school, she discovered dragons. Beautiful, wondrous creatures that took her on epic adventures both to faraway lands and on journeys of the heart. Mell wanted to create dragons of her own, so she put pen to paper. Mell Eight is now known for her own soaring dragons, as well as for other wonderful characters dancing across the pages of her books. While she mostly writes paranormal or fantasy stories, she has been seen exploring the real world once or twice.

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Guest Review: The Demon's in the Details by Meghan Maslow

Can a sexy demon really spin straw into gold?

Poe Dupin, raven shifter and thief extraordinaire, is in trouble with a capital ‘T.’ Not only did he get his wing caught in the cookie jar during his latest heist, but his loser stepdad, the alpha, seems determined to run their roost into the ground. And Baltimore is many things, but forgiving is not on the list.

When his stepdad puts the roost in peril, Poe sees no choice but to bargain with Charm City’s only demon, Tommy Tittoti. Rumors are that Tommy eats the souls of those foolish enough to try. Three strikes and you’re out. But really, Poe wasn’t using his soul anyway. And if it saves his roost? Worth it.

Tommy isn’t what Poe expects. Demon—huge, horned, hairy, and scary, right? Nope. Blond, gorgeous, with a bubble butt, and a lilting drawl that beckons Poe to come play. Total hookup-app fantasy material. Even if he is a murder twink.

Poe’s no angel, but Tommy . . . well he’s more devil than demon. Yet, Poe just can’t seem to keep his feathers out of the fire. As one bargain turns into two, and then a third tragedy strikes the ravens, Poe finds himself falling for a guy who may very literally be the death of him. Or maybe the flames will burn them both.

The Demon’s in the Details is a fast-paced, roller coaster of a romance with a guaranteed HEA and lots of steam. Shenanigans include: a gold object that is definitely not a ring, a best friend who’s trigger-happy, and a demon who’s got a few surprises up his, uh, sleeve.

Reviewer: Free Dreamer

I was really looking forward to The Demon's in the Details and it sure didn't disappoint.

I've read and enjoyed Meghan Maslow's "Starfig Investigations" series and this book has a similar feel to it. It was fun, hot and hard to put down.

Poe and Tommy are both very likable. I loved how Poe was willing to do everything for his roost. And Tommy was great too. I mean, who doesn't like a bossy murder twink? They could have done with a bit more in-depth character development, though. They felt a tiny bit shallow at times.

The sex scenes were scorching hot. I really loved the relationship dynamic.

I love a good shifter story, especially if it has unusual shifters. Raven shifters definitely count as unusual for me, this was my first book with them. There was also a minor character that shifted into a housecat, which was great for a cat person like me. Sadly, Poe spent the vast majority of the book in human form, which was a bit disappointing.

The world building was interesting, though it too could have used more depth. There are a lot of different Fantasy elements here, so the author clearly put some serious thought into this version of Baltimore.

I really hope this will become a series. Maslow once again came up with a very unique set of characters in a very unique universe and I'd love to read more.

"The Demon's in the Details" was a fun, wild ride with lots of hot sex and a super fast read. A little more depth would have elevated this book from "really good" to "great", but other than that, I have no complaints.

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

Release Blitz + Giveaway: Godsend by Elvira Bell

Author Elvira Bell and Pride Publishing promote new historical erotica release, Godsend! Find out more and enter in the LOVELY GIFT PACKAGE AND GET A FIRST FOR ROMANCE GIFT CARD giveaway!

Godsend by Elvira Bell

Word Count: 36,520
Book Length: SHORT NOVEL
Pages: 154



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Book Description


Ari and Vidar are Viking warriors and blood brothers. Will handsome thrall Elric break their bond…or make it even stronger?

When young Saxon Elric is sold to Norse slave traders, he thinks that his life is over. He is brought across the sea to the settlement of the Norsemen and becomes the chief’s thrall, and neither the chief nor the warriors are lenient with him. Two of the warriors are different, though—Ari and Vidar. Elric senses that their bond goes beyond mere friendship, and wishes that he himself had someone who would care for him.

Ari and Vidar have been lovers for years, but they have to sneak away whenever they want to be together. Vidar is next in line to be leader, as the chief’s nephew, but he’s shy and insecure and only feels at home on the battlefield. Ari looks different than the other warriors, since his mother was of foreign descent, and he’s had to learn how to stand up for himself.

The two of them are blood brothers, linked together forever, but even though they are lovers they can’t go against the taboo that prohibits free men from being passive during sex. Ari feels that something is lacking, and Elric’s arrival gives him an idea—what if they invited Elric to join them in bed? The thought excites him, and Elric himself seems eager to please.

The only question is how Ari is supposed to get Vidar to agree to letting another man into their relationship…


“It’s coming, lad. Your first day as a free man.”

Hrodgar’s heavy hand slapped Elric’s shoulder. His grin was as wide as when he’d told Elric about the birth of his youngest child.

“I know.” Elric smiled back. He’d be embarrassed to admit just how often he’d studied the lone apple tree behind the byre this spring. Not that Hrodgar would find it odd—Hrodgar was the one who had struck that deal with him, after all, that balmy night five years ago when he’d found Elric stealing from his crops. Elric had no trouble recalling the strong, burly farmer grabbing him by the neck and shaking him so hard that the carrots he’d hidden under his tunic fell to the ground. “What do you think you’re doing? I could kill you for trying to steal from me. I have the right.” Elric had cried and begged for his life, exhausted by fatigue and hunger and that hollow pain in his chest that had been there ever since his parents died. He’d only been fifteen, a half-grown boy who had never stolen before. And Hrodgar had sighed and made him a proposition. “Stop your crying now, all right? I won’t hurt you, if you agree to become my slave for five years. After that, you’ll have paid for what you’ve done and you’ll be free to go. Five years from now, on the day when the apple tree blossoms.” He had nodded to a large tree outside the field—even in the dusk, Elric had seen the white flowers shine like stars. He’d agreed, and Hrodgar had become his master.

But not for much longer. It had been almost five years. The crown of the apple tree was exploding with flower buds.

“Strange,” Hrodgar said, shooing away some crows. “To think that you’ll be gone soon.” They were at the edge of the field, the barley tickling Elric’s hands when he touched it. They’d been getting plenty of both sun and rain this summer—it would be a good harvest. A bearable winter.

But he wouldn’t be here for it. “I could stay until the harvest’s all done and—”

Hrodgar shook his head. His hair was like polished copper, thick and wavy. “No such thing. A deal’s a deal. If you’ll come with me to the market tomorrow, that’s good enough. Make sure the chickens stay in their place until I’ve found a buyer for them.”

* * * *

They left for Bristol the next morning. Hilda was unusually kind, handing Elric a piece of fresh bread to eat on the way. Hrodgar’s wife had never spoken much to him, though she seemed to appreciate having him in the house. Her children were too young to be of much help and working the field was hard. It would be years before they could help their father out.

No, Hilda had always had little to do with him—but Hrodgar was different. In a way, Elric thought of him as a friend. What would have become of him if Hrodgar hadn’t taken him in? He’d had no one to turn to. In Hrodgar’s household he was a servant, certainly, but he ate with the family and slept on a sheepskin by the hearth. It was a better life than the one his parents had been able to give him. The work had made him strong, though he’d never be big and threatening like Hrodgar, and Hilda’s food had put a bit of meat on his bones. In those five years his body had transformed. He was still slender, but his hands were tan and veiny like a man’s, and when he flexed his arms they swelled with muscle. Just like Hrodgar’s.

“Going to be a fine day.” Hrodgar wiped his brow and called for the oxen to move faster. “Plenty of people in town, I should think.”

Elric had been to Bristol Market many times, and he was excited about the trip. Before he’d come to Hrodgar’s house, the only people he’d met were his parents and a couple of neighboring families. His first visit to Bristol had been a shock. There weren’t that many houses, but the people had been far more than he could count—merchants trading their goods and buyers eager to get their hands on livestock, pelts, jewelry and fancy garments. Some of the merchants spoke in strange tongues, and when Elric had asked Hrodgar where they were from, he’d shrugged.

“From all over the world, but do you think I know what they call their lands? Some of them are from the north, though, from lands of eternal snow. You and I wouldn’t survive a day in a place like that.”

Now Hrodgar handed him the reins and reached for the pack by his feet. “Best eat before we get there.” He brought a sweet-smelling loaf to his mouth and chewed off a chunk. Elric reached into his pocket and had a taste of his own bread. It was so soft that his teeth sank into it—he’d never had anything better. All the bread he’d eaten before had been stale and dry.

“Hilda must’ve meant to give this to you.” He glanced at Hrodgar, who wiped crumbs from his beard without looking at him. “It’s much too nice for me.”

“Oh, maybe she did.” Hrodgar grinned, still without meeting his gaze. “But you have it.” When he reached for the reins, his warm hand landed on top of Elric’s. Hrodgar pulled away as if he’d been burned. For the remainder of the trip, he was oddly quiet, and Elric wondered if maybe it had something to do with their hands touching. Ever since he had joined Hrodgar’s household, he’d felt a tingling in his chest every time the other man spoke to him. At first he’d thought it was pure childish admiration, nothing more. By now he knew better. They’d spent every day of the last five years together—alone in the field all day, then sometimes heading down to the brook on hot summer evenings to rinse off the sweat. The image of Hrodgar’s brawny, hairy body was etched into his mind. And he had thought, more than once, about the fact that he was a slave and that he had to do whatever Hrodgar asked of him. Including sharing his bed.

Hrodgar had never requested it. But if he’d asked, Elric wouldn’t have refused.

They reached Bristol some hours later and Hrodgar found a place for his cart in the crammed street. There were people and animals everywhere and the smell of dung mixed with that of roasted meat and beer. And something else, a smell that seemed to whisper to Elric from far away—tar from the huge, slender ships anchored by the shore.

“Watch the goods for me, will you?” Hrodgar seemed hurried, and when he squeezed Elric’s shoulder, his grip was painfully hard. “Just going to… I’ll be back soon.” He disappeared into the crowd. Off to take a leak, probably—but when he wasn’t back a long while later, Elric got worried. He hadn’t been robbed, had he? Part of him wanted to go and check what had happened, but he couldn’t leave the cart.

Then, finally, Hrodgar returned. He was with some men in strange clothing—it took a while before Elric recognized them as Norsemen. They were all bearded, with heavy woolen cloaks and cloak pins that shone in the sunlight. One of the men was older than the rest, with long gray hair and steely eyes. Hrodgar discussed something with him, both of them gesturing wildly. What was that about? Why would the Norsemen have any interest in a simple farmer’s goods?

“Hrodgar!” Elric called when the men were within earshot. “What’s going on? Are they giving you trouble?”

Hrodgar exchanged a look with the gray-haired Norseman, then made a gesture in Elric’s direction. Before he had time to realize what was happening, Elric was seized by two young Norsemen and his hands were tied behind his back.

“What—help! Hrodgar, help me!”

Hrodgar looked at him. His face was empty, as if they’d never met. “I’m sorry,” he said, but there was no emotion behind his words. Turning to the gray-haired man, he said, “Silver. You promised me silver and I want it now.”

The gray-haired man called out a command and another man came forward with a leather pouch that he put in Hrodgar’s outstretched palm. It wasn’t until then that Elric understood. He’d been sold. Hrodgar had sold him to slave traders.

“You bastard!” Tears of rage stung his eyes as the Norsemen dragged him through the crowd, away from Hrodgar and the cart. “You lying bastard!” He kicked and thrashed. The Norsemen laughed, shoving him between them like a plaything, talking in their twisted language.

He was their slave. And he would never see Hrodgar again.

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About the Author

Elvira Bell

Elvira Bell lives in Sweden and spends most of her time writing, reading or watching movies. Her weaknesses include, but are not limited to: vintage jazz, musicals, kittens, oversized tea cups, men in suits, the 18th century, and anything sparkly.

Elvira writes m/m romance and has a penchant for historical settings. She adores all things gothic and will put her characters through hell from time to time because she just loves watching them suffer. It makes the happy endings so much sweeter, after all.

Find out more at Elvira's website.


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Book Blast: Blue Moons and Unicorns by Kathryn Allen

Welcome author Kathryn Allen and Gay Book Promotions as they promote Blue Moons and Unicorns! Read more of today's blast for the QUILTBAG action novel!


Book Title: Blue Moons and Unicorns

Author: Kathryn Allen

Publisher: Self published

Cover Artist: Fiverr 

Release Date: April 1, 2021

Genres:  Action, LGBTI+

Trope: Friends to lovers

Themes:  Personal growth, self confidence

Heat Rating:  4 flames   

Length: 122 000 words/ 299 pages

It is the first book of an intended ongoing series and does not end on a cliffhanger.


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While holidaying with her friends in the Hamptons, Interpol agent Samira Neves finds out her father is missing. Following his cryptic breadcrumbs from New York to Amsterdam and London, Samira’s view of her father is challenged. Unwilling to involve the authorities, Samira is cut off from her usual networks to investigate the smuggling and trafficking she is uncovering. While never afraid to use her sensuality to her advantage, she finds herself stretching her erotic horizons when her bisexual friend Ashleigh suggests an unorthodox tactic to infiltrate the world of her swinger targets. Will this be enough to track down her father and find out exactly who was behind it all?


 She pushed the accelerator down a little harder, enjoying how the Maserati surged forward when she dropped down a gear. It was totally unnecessary but completely worth it for the noise. The sound filled the air, no roof or windows to separate them from the glorious engine note. Despite the coastal views, Samira almost wished for a tunnel so she could hear it all around her. 

Chelsea laughed suddenly.  Samira glanced back to see her friend unsuccessfully trying to control her normally faultless blonde hair from whipping around in the wind. Samira grinned. She'd offered Chelsea both a hair tie and a cap at the start of the day, but Chelsea had waved them away. Of course, the stylish broad-brimmed hat Chelsea had brought had swiftly ended up in the trunk as it was wholly unsuitable for open top driving. Samira’s own hair was braided down her back and held tight under a bright, white baseball cap. She'd been driving convertibles long enough to know the ads with women's hair streaming back elegantly were all crap. Beside her, Ashleigh, hair similarly under control, reached forward to turn down the music.

“God, I love the sound of that engine. It's such a sexy purr. Even better than the Ferrari.”

“Well, it is a Ferrari engine.” Samira said. 

“Whatever, don't care. Ferraris are just so shrill. This sounds better. “ Ashleigh shimmied in her seat. “All bassy, throaty gorgeousness.”

“They should get you on the ads.” Samira said, amused. 

“And you could drape yourself over the hood.”

“And scratch up the paintwork? Dad would kill me.”

“Worth it.” Ashleigh murmured.



Samira took it more gently as they turned off the Montauk Highway heading towards the house. This was a condition of her mother letting her stay for the week. Apparently last time there had been some complaints about her driving even though, as she’d tried to argue, Maserati were a dime a dozen around the Hamptons, and it may not have been her. Her mother had responded with a raised eyebrow and a steady gaze. She capitulated. In Meadow Lane she dropped to a quiet cruise, which was more a consequence of the traffic than true obedience on her part. For an exclusive road it was surprisingly packed at this time of year as everyone tried to squeeze the last enjoyment out of the stubbornly lingering summer season. Rightly so, she thought, given the endless blue of the sky overhead. 

Finally, she turned into the driveway, waited for the iron gate to slide aside and headed up to the five-car garage under the house. With her parents away all the vehicles were in their places except for the open slot next to the Jeep Cherokee her father normally drove. 

The girls popped the trunk and collected together their various bags with the day's shopping treasures before splitting off to their bedrooms. 

“Cocktails in the pool house in ten minutes!” Samira called as they headed off. Ashleigh raised a hand over her head in acknowledgement. Chelsea was too busy dragging her fingers through her tangled hair. Good luck hun, Samira thought, the only way that was getting sorted was with a wash and an intensive treatment. Actually, Chelsea might need a treatment for her body too. Samira could see the beginnings of sunburn flushing the back of Chelsea's long pale legs beneath the denim cut-offs. Her back, under the sheer grey top, had an ominous reddish glow about it too. Chelsea had been so pleased to see sun after a long stint in Seattle that she took every chance she got to lay in it. Particularly with her international financial services company assigning her to Manchester for the next six months. Samira was going to miss her. Again. The long, lazy summers they used to spend together as children seemed like a million years ago. 

Samira dropped her packages in the living room and threw open the doors onto the terrace letting the warm air flow into the house. The breeze was light but carried the fresh, salt scent of the ocean with it. If it stayed warm, they might take a walk down to the beach after dinner. By now the weather should have turned cooler and autumn well established, but not this year. She crossed the terrace and unlocked the pool house with the key set she kept in the handbag that was never far from her side. She'd never really been a fan of how the pool house was set up. The bar and kitchen were at the back with low couches in a lounge area between that and the French doors which led onto the pool terrace. She would have preferred the bar at least to be closer to the terrace so it was more accessible, and a person could keep connected to the conversation when an alcoholic top up was needed. As soon as that thought crossed her mind, she shook her head at how appallingly boujee that sounded. Poor little rich girl. Her family's holiday home's pool house was not to her liking. She'd been around the world enough to know that multiple families could live in that space and be very pleased with the luxury accommodation.

About the Author 

Kathryn Allen is the author of the novels Ever Man and Last Loose End and a number of short stories. These can be found through Smashwords and Amazon. She enjoys the process of developing characters and hooking elements of plot together to make interesting stories. Kathryn lives in Queensland with her husband and dogs.

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