Release Blitz + Giveaway: The Forest God's Favor (Of Gods and Men #1) by AT Lander

Merry Christmas to those that celebrate! 

Author AT Lander and Pride Publishing hosts a release blitz for new fantasy, The Forest God's Favor (Of Gods and Men #1)! Check out more info on the novella and enter in the First Romance gift card giveaway! Good luck!

The Forest God's Favor by AT Lander

Book 1 in the Of Gods and Men series

Word Count: 19,781
Book Length: NOVELLA
Pages: 79



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Book Description

Can the love of a man heal the heart of a god?

Fertility god Anthos, a shy and gentle three-hundred-year-old virgin, has grown up in the shadow of his brutal older brother Dryas and spent his life hiding from mortals, no matter how much his nature draws him to them.

Cleon, a humble farmer who always has room in his heart and his bed, knows that Lord Dryas is angry. The crops aren’t growing, and his family is going to starve if he doesn’t give the god a worthy sacrifice—his own body. But when he reaches the shrine, he finds a very different god, the sweet, untouched Anthos.

Eager to satisfy Anthos’ curiosity, Cleon shows him what sex is…and what a relationship between them could be, with their instant attraction blooming into love. But when Dryas returns with a vengeance and Cleon’s life hangs in the balance, Anthos is forced to make a choice.

Will he bow once more before his brother’s rage, or take a stand for the only man who has ever had faith in him?

Reader advisory: This book contains scenes of abusive behavior, double penetration, voyeurism, exhibitionism and violence.


Cleon’s heart sank as he walked the rows of his family’s field, scanning for a single green shoot and finding none. The barley was two weeks late for sprouting—if it didn’t start growing soon, his family would starve come winter.

“Anything?” his little sister Amara asked as he left the field. Her hands were wringing the fabric of her peplos skirt even as her eyes said she knew the answer.

“Not one,” he said. “Any eggs from the chickens?”

“Not one,” she echoed. “The gods must be angry at us.”

That was the only explanation Cleon could think of, too. Dryas, their local fertility and forest god, was known for his temper. It would take very little provocation for him to withdraw his blessings.

The family gathered in front of their modest farmhouse, worried faces gazing at their patriarch. Cleon, the eldest son and the only one unmarried, glanced at the other members of the household. Amara sat beside him, while his twin younger brothers sat with their wives, both of whom were pregnant with their first children. They had no servants, no field hands, just them.

“We have to beg Lord Dryas for his forgiveness,” their father said, pacing back and forth. “Someone must go to the shrine and pay tribute. Whatever it takes, this curse on our farm must be lifted!”

“W-whatever it takes?” Amara asked nervously.

“Yes,” their father said gravely, words heavy with guilt. “Whatever it takes.”

His children looked at one another, eyes wide with anxiety. They wouldn’t say it out loud for fear of angering the god, but they knew what their father was asking. Dryas’ tastes in tribute were usually carnal and never kind. None of them had any illusions about what would happen to whoever went to plead their case, but there was no other option.

Cleon looked from face to face. Neither of his brothers had any taste for men, and it would be cruel to send either of their wives to such a fate, especially pregnant as they both were. As for Amara, the thought made his stomach twist in disgust. There was only one choice.

“I’ll go,” he said, getting to his feet.

“Are you sure?” Amara asked. “You know what—what he’ll do to you.”

“I know,” Cleon said, trying to sound brave. “But I’ve been with men, so it won’t be so bad for me as it would be for one of you.”

It was weak reasoning, but none of the others had anything better. Cleon was tall and strong, hardy enough to take some punishment and tan from hard labor in the sun. He was no Adonis, but he’d been called ruggedly handsome by past lovers, and he’d earned every muscle on his arms and chest. Dryas preferred pretty youths and maidens over men in their late twenties, but hopefully the god would accept his tribute anyway.

Cleon bathed in the river, combed his black hair and trimmed his short beard, brown eyes watching his reflection in a still pool. He prepared his body as best he could with slick oil and shaking fingers, hoping to reduce the inevitable pain. Finally, he donned their newest, finest tunic, the one Amara had woven and each of his brothers had worn for their weddings, and picked up their offerings with white-knuckled hands. There was nothing left to do but go.

Cleon gave his family the bravest smile he could muster, and they smiled back with pinched, anxious faces—all save his father, whose eyes were solemn and dark with guilt, and Amara, who was crying in his arms. Cleon squared his shoulders and turned resolutely toward the woods. He would face any terror and endure any hardship, if only he could save his loved ones from starvation.

The worn dirt path led deep into the forest, twisting and turning on the way to the shrine. Dappled light slipped through the swaying branches as chittering squirrels fled his passage to peer down at him from the trees.

He suppressed a shiver. These woods were old and sacred, the domain of a cruel and capricious god. At least Lord Dryas didn’t like live animal sacrifices—Cleon would hate to make this trek with a squawking, struggling chicken in his arms. Instead, he had a small jug of spiced wine, a half-dozen honey cakes and his own body…no matter how meager his offerings, they would have to be enough.

He had been to the shrine before as part of the harvest festival, placing the fruits of the year’s labors before the god’s great throne. Those had been times of song and drink and dance, honoring Dryas’ bounty and appeasing his temper with revelry and praise. The god had always chosen one or more young worshippers for his pleasure, and the thought made Cleon nearly sick. It always took them days to recover, if not weeks, and their eyes remained haunted for far, far longer.

This time the shrine was empty, the ring of marble pillars standing silent around the sacred oak. At the base was the god’s throne, grown out of the living wood, made for a nine-foot giant of a being. Cleon could remember looking up at him during the last festival—his eyes dark and cold, his legs those of a black deer and his antlers spreading like ancient, gnarled branches.

“Hello?” Cleon called, looking around for the shrine’s priest. The little hut next to the sacred circle was empty, but that shouldn’t have been a surprise. Lord Dryas tended to discard his priests when they turned twenty-five, and he must not have found a new one yet. It seemed like Cleon would have to beg for divine intervention on his own.

He walked to the stone altar and tried to keep his hands from shaking as he kindled the sacred flames. He doused the honey cakes in wine then fed them to the fire. The offerings were more than his family could really afford, but still they seemed too little. Finally, Cleon knelt before the great throne, pressing his forehead to the grass and trying to look as humble and pathetic as possible.

“Oh Lord Dryas, god of the forest and the field,” he prayed. “I beg your forgiveness! Whatever sin my family or I have committed against you, I humbly offer these gifts to appease your wrath.”

There was a deep, terrifying silence broken only by the blood pounding in Cleon’s ears. He dug his fingers into the grass, eyes squeezed shut, praying with all his might. If Dryas didn’t answer—

“Uh…yeah…” The voice was so small and hesitant that Cleon almost missed it. “Not your fault, really…”

Cleon’s head snapped up and he scanned the treeline. He didn’t see the speaker at first, looking for a taller shape, but when he finally found him…

Oh gods, the young man was exactly Cleon’s type. He looked to be twenty or a little younger, cute and small and beardless, with willowy arms and a bare, slender chest. His eyes were a vivid green against sun-bronzed skin dusted with faint freckles, and his light brown curls looked delightfully soft. He was blushing prettily, shifting from foot to foot and biting his full, kissable lower lip.

“Um, hello,” Cleon said when he could remember how words worked. He struggled to stay on task—he was here to save his family, not get distracted by a pretty face. “I don’t suppose you know where the forest god is?”

“That’s the thing,” the youth said, ducking his head bashfully. “I kind of…am the forest god?”

Cleon frowned at him. The young man might be cute, but he was clearly delusional. Yes, the gods could take other forms, but the idea of Lord Dryas becoming so small and adorable was ridiculous.

“I wouldn’t say that if I were you,” Cleon said. “Lord Dryas is not known for his merc—”

He stopped, eyes widening as the young man stepped out into the clearing on slender, delicate hooves. Deer hooves, just like Lord Dryas’. Unlike Dryas, though, his flanks were dappled with faint white spots and tawny brown to match his hair. What Cleon had assumed to be branches above the youth’s head revealed themselves to be antlers, short and nubby and covered in soft-looking velvet.

Cleon’s heart plummeted like a stone. This was no mortal boy, or even a common satyr. There was an aura about him—the trees leaning in just a little to bask in his presence, the sunlight glowing off his skin. He might be different from Dryas, but there was no denying that Cleon was in the presence of a god.

“Please forgive me, great one!” he cried, groveling once more in sudden terror. He already had one god angry at him and he wouldn’t survive a second. “I had no idea—I am so sorry—”

“No, don’t be,” the youth said, sounding weary and miserable. “I’m a pretty terrible god, to be honest.”

“What do you mean, my lord?” Cleon asked, daring to raise his eyes from the grass. The godling was shifting awkwardly from hoof to hoof, not looking at Cleon.

“Your farm,” he said. “It’s my fault nothing’s growing. My big brother left last month and I…well…”

“You mean Lord Dryas?” Cleon asked.

The youth nodded, biting his lower lip in an adorable way, and Cleon couldn’t help a twinge of relief. His farm was still in trouble, but at least this god seemed willing to help.

“I’ve been trying, I really have,” the godling said, running his hands through his hair. The gesture revealed adorable little pointed ears, and Cleon had to fight to stay focused. “I just don’t know how to make it work!”

“My lord—” Cleon started, sitting back up on his knees.

“Anthos, please.” The god ducked his head. “I’m not used to…it feels weird.”

“Anthos,” Cleon said, “what exactly is the problem?”

Anthos sighed, walking over and sitting on the grass a few feet from Cleon. He pulled his fuzzy knees up to his chest, hugging them close and staring at the ground.

“I’m a fertility god,” Anthos explained. “I’m in charge of new life, new growth…or I am now. My brother took care of things for so many centuries that I never learned how to do it. Now he’s gone, it’s my job, and I can’t do anything.”

“He never taught you?” Cleon asked.

“We’re not Olympians!” Anthos cried, eyes flicking up to Cleon and face turning bright red. “Only the highest gods do…that with their siblings.”

“Oh,” Cleon said, blushing too. “Uh, sorry. I didn’t mean—”

“No, no, it’s fine,” Anthos said, dropping his gaze again. “But that’s the problem—it requires personal experience. I can’t make things fertile until I’ve, you know…had sex.”

“Oh,” Cleon breathed. His heart was beating faster now, his throat going dry as he stared at Anthos. “Would a mortal do? A man?”

“Yeah,” Anthos said with a mirthless little chuckle, “if anyone wanted me. Big brother always said nobody would want to sleep with a puny, pathetic runt.”

Rage flared up in Cleon, all the hotter for its rarity. He’d revered and feared Lord Dryas all his life, burying resentment deep in his heart. The gods could be cruel or kind to mortals—that was their right—but this? The thought of treating his own siblings like this made Cleon ball his hands into fists, and a lifetime of suppressed hatred boiled over. For the first time in his life, he spoke ill of a god.

“You’re not a runt!” Cleon cried. “Your brother was a cruel bastard! He made whole families starve…he set wolves on their flocks and took any man or woman he pleased! I bet he cut down your confidence because he was scared of you. Anyone would prefer a god like you over him!”

“R-really?” Anthos gasped, looking up with wide, shocked eyes.

“As long as you don’t send a famine when there aren’t enough dancing girls at your festival,” Cleon said, belly clenching in remembered hunger. “We worshipped him because we were afraid, but nobody liked him.”

“And you…you like…me?” Anthos asked, voice soft and hopeful.

Cleon opened his mouth then closed it again, unsure of what to say. His flirting experience said this was going pretty well, but how was he supposed to proposition a god? He was just a farmer, rough and rugged and no great beauty. Anthos was so out of his league it wasn’t even funny.

Still, in for an obol, in for a drachma. The god didn’t seem like the type to curse someone for asking, and if he said yes…

“I like you a lot,” Cleon said earnestly, “and I’d really like to kiss you.”

“I…” Anthos licked his lips, his gaze lowering. “I’d like that too.”

Cleon scooted forward slowly, like he was approaching a skittish deer. He reached out to cup one cheek, tawny-gold and warm. Sun-dappled lashes fluttered, the godling’s green eyes falling closed as he leaned in with bated breath.

The first kiss was soft and gentle, just a chaste brush of lips. It was a little thing, but it still sent a thrill through Cleon, a surge of desire. His body knew what Anthos was, something wild, ancient and divine. By the time they pulled away, his cock was hard and twitching.

Anthos let out a soft little sigh when they parted. He gave Cleon a shy smile, nervous and sweet.

“Again?” he asked, as though Cleon might say no. Could say no.

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About the Author

AT Lander

AT Lander has loved stories, both the reading and the telling, since she was a child. Born in upstate New York to an English professor and a former librarian, she now lives in the queerest part of Massachusetts. She never leaves home without a knitting project or a pencil, and she’s never met a cat she doesn’t like.

She has worked as an history museum guide, a professional storyteller, and an actress, sharing tales of what was, what could have been, and what can only be imagined. World mythology is her driving passion, as what better way to understand a people than through the tales they tell?

Follow AT Lander on Twitter and Facebook.


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Release Blitz + Giveaway: Grounded (Sophie Fournier #6) by K.R. Collins

Author K.R. Collins and IndiGo Marketing promote new hockey release, Grounded (Sophie Fournier #6)! Check out today's blitz and enter in the NineStar Press credit giveaway!


Title: Grounded

Series: Sophie Fournier, Book 6

Author: K.R. Collins

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 12/21/2021

Heat Level: 1 - No Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 76000

Genre: Contemporary Sports, "LGBTQIA+, contemporary, sports, family-drama, demisexual, bisexual, ice hockey, teammates, coach, injury"

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Sophie’s coach was fired over the summer but not before he took several parting shots at Sophie’s character and dedication to her sport and her team. Her coach’s firing, her own injury, and her team’s whimpering exit from the playoffs weren’t the ideal way to end a season, but Sophie’s looking forward to a fresh start.

If Sophie is on the ice, everything makes sense. She can navigate a new coach, she can handle a strained relationship with Elsa, and she can breathe hope back into her franchise.

An unprecedented hot start to the season sees Sophie breaking NAHL records. She has her sights set on Bobby Brindle’s point streak record, the one she fell short of breaking in her rookie season. With personal success comes team success, and Concord has a resurgence on the back of Sophie’s accomplishments.

And then she’s injured. She has to spend the rest of the season on the sidelines, and it forces her to confront a question she has never considered before. Who is Sophie Fournier when she isn’t playing hockey?


K.R. Collins © 2021
All Rights Reserved

End of an era?

Sophie Fournier is no stranger to the heralding of the end of her hockey career. People have tried to tear her down since she first put on skates, but none of them have succeeded. Even though it was Coach Butler who was fired and tossed out of Concord, it’s her career everyone claims is over.

Oh, the articles mention the Maple Cup she won, but they refer to it as if it happened two decades ago. As if it wasn’t just a few seasons ago and a historic moment for the sport. It was the first Maple Cup in Concord’s history, and she captained her team to victory and became the first woman to lift hockey’s greatest trophy.

None of the articles mention the International Hockey Tournament win from last February. There, she captained Team Canada to a win on the international stage. Does everyone believe her talent evaporated between then and now?

She was injured in the tournament, and she never fully healed, because her team needed her and her coach demanded her presence. With the season over, she will heal, and she’ll return next season better than she’s ever been.

End of an era.

Fuck. That.

When there are competing voices in the locker room, no one wins.

I’m looking forward to the opportunity to coach a team with the toughness and endurance to succeed at the end of a long season.

Sophie reads every article Butler is quoted in, and she watches every clip from his exit interviews. She swears at her computer and shakes her fist at the TV and excises the worst of her temper before she sits for the interviews Mary Beth, Concord’s PR manager, arranges for her to do in response.

It’s important for the coach and the captain to be on the same page.

No, shit. Sophie was on Butler’s page. For much longer than she should have been. She knows a divided team doesn’t make it far, and she knows how stubborn Butler is. There was no middle to meet in because he wouldn’t budge. By being on his page, she lost Elsa.

Elsa Nyberg is Sophie’s teammate. She was Sophie’s winger, when Butler didn’t split their line, she was Sophie’s alternate until Butler stripped the A from her jersey. She was Sophie’s roommate until, furious Sophie sided with Butler over her, she moved in with her boyfriend.

She’s still Sophie’s best friend, and Sophie will repair their relationship this season. With a fresh season ahead of them, Elsa will move back. With a new coach behind the bench, they’ll be reunited on the top line. The only reason Sophie couldn’t hold the team together at the end of last season was because her injury in the IHT kept her off the ice.

It was Butler’s fault she was hurt. He was behind Team USA’s bench at the IHT, and he gave his heavy hitters the green light to take runs at her. It was Anthony Sinclair who took her out, but it was done with Butler’s blessing. She still beat Team USA, and Butler didn’t forgive her for it, even once they were back in Concord with the same condor stitched onto all their gear.

With Sophie on injured reserve, he set about breaking the team next. He killed their confidence, insulted their hockey IQ, and took a group of highly motivated athletes and made them dread coming to the rink every day. She knows the start of this upcoming season will be spent undoing the damage he caused. She doesn’t know how long it will take or if there will be any long-standing consequences.

She wishes time would speed up and it was August already. She doesn’t want a summer to linger over everything that went wrong. She wants to dig in and fix it.

Instead, she sits for interviews, and smiles, bland and boring, as she answers stupid questions with even stupider, scripted answers. This isn’t what she’s meant for. She’s meant to be on the ice, with skates on her feet and a stick in her hands.

She wishes she could ditch her media responsibilities. She wishes she could answer truthfully, with all the fury she uses when she’s alone in her room.

She can’t do either of those things, so she does the next best one.

She goes to Wisconsin.

“I didn’t think you’d show.” Lexie picks Sophie up from the airport. Even with the obnoxiously large sunglasses which cover half her face, Lexie manages to project derision.

Alexis Engelking is the American forward who went fourth overall at her draft. It’s easy to remember; fourth woman drafted fourth overall. She even made it her number, but she did it out of spite, not pride. She’s a woman who runs on spite, always dialed up to eleven, the perfect foil to Sophie’s bland Canadian personality.

Sophie doesn’t hate her the way the media wishes she would, but she doesn’t particularly like her either. Lexie’s made it her mission to not be Sophie, which means constant attacks from someone Sophie hoped to be an ally.

Still, Lexie extended an offer to train together this summer. Sophie knows there will be plenty of competition. And she could use a little spite in her summer.

“I told you I would,” Sophie answers. She has a pair of sunglasses of her own and a Boston Red Sox cap she wears with the brim tipped low. Lexie promised her discreet summer training, a break from the media vultures who want to pick at the mess Butler left in his wake.

Sophie trusts they won’t be bothered here, if only because Lexie has her own reasons for being left alone this summer. Indianapolis, Lexie’s NAHL team, made it all the way to the Maple Cup Finals. It all came down to Game Seven. It took triple overtime, but the Boston Barons were victorious over the Indianapolis Renegades.

Chad Kensington, one of Lexie’s teammates, picked up the nickname Mr. OT, because he scored three OT series-winners throughout the playoffs. He closed out each round right up until the finals. He couldn’t get it done when it mattered, and Indianapolis ended their season without the Maple Cup, the same as every other team in the North American Hockey League, except for Boston.

Lexie isn’t the captain, but she and Kensington share the responsibility for being the face of the franchise. The media, happy to build up the duo during the season and the playoffs, is even happier to tear into them with the loss.

So yeah, Lexie’s equally motivated for a quiet, intense summer training session.

Sophie isn’t sure she has another hill left in her. Her quads are tight, her calves burn, and her shirt is soaked through with sweat. Now is as good a time to stop as any.

Lexie’s hair sticks up in every direction, the short strands wet from sweat and the water Lexie splashed on her face three hills ago. Her face is red with exertion. She wipes her face on her equally sweaty arm and casts a challenging look in Sophie’s direction. “I bet I beat you on this next one.”

Sophie takes inventory of her body again. She matches Lexie’s grin. “Loser buys lunch.”


NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

K.R. Collins went to college in Pennsylvania where she learned to write and fell in love with hockey. When she isn’t working or writing, she watches hockey games and claims it’s for research. Find K.R. on Twitter.


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Release Blitz + Giveaway: T.A.G. You’re Found by D.G. Carothers

Author D.G. Carothers and Gay Book Promotions share new release info for T.A.G. You’re Found! Learn more about the romantic suspense and enter in the T.A.G. audio format giveaway!


Book Title: T.A.G. You’re Found 

Author: D.G. Carothers

Cover Artist: Amai Designs, Samantha Santana

Release Date: December 21, 2021

Genre: Action Adventure, Contemporary, Interracial Romance and Mystery/Suspense

Tropes: Badass Heroes, Tricked into Blind Dates, Half Serious/Half Cheesy Action Flick, Revenge Twist

Themes: Mafia v. Secret Organization, Assassin v. Assassin, Car Chase Dates, Meddlesome Family, What happens in Vegas…

Heat Rating:  3 flames

Length:  approx. 50 000 words

It is not a standalone story. 

The Assassins' Guild is a continuous series and must be read in order.

T.A.G. You're Seen

T.A.G. You're Heard

T.A.G. Family Christmas

T.A.G. You're Found

This book does not end on a cliffhanger.


Buy Links  

Universal link  |  Amazon US  |  Amazon UK 


Are you ready for another thrilling T.A.G. adventure?


Agent code name Mr. Ti takes the lead in Operation Cyberlick. (Note to self: Stop letting Connor name the operations)

Mr. Ti is hot on the trail of the Poacher, having finally discovered his identity. A trap is laid, but will it get sprung?

Follow Mr. Ti as he hunts down his prey. But who is hunting whom? And will love smack Mr. Ti in the butt face?

Find out this and more exciting answers to questions lurking in the depths of your mind in this next archive from The Assassins’ Guild.

Attention: There is explicit language, violence, and sexual content suitable only for mature audiences. Who are we kidding? Only on bad days are we more mature than teenagers.

Excerpt - Nicola POV

I took the chair across from the slender, silver-haired older man with an uneasy smile. “Good evening, Zio.”

“Nicola, you’re looking,” he scrutinized my appearance especially considering I had worn jeans compared to his thousands of dollars bespoke suit, “underfed.” He waved at someone behind me, and a bowl of the same soup Don Athos was eating appeared before me.

“Thank you, Zio.” Now that the food was in front of me, I realized I was famished. I didn’t remember if I had eaten today. I picked up a spoon and took a bite of the hearty vegetable soup.

“Your mother is worried about you.”

I snorted and finished my mouthful before speaking. “My mother is only worried about the money I send her.” My mother wasn’t Don Athos’s sister, but our family had worked for the Stagliano family for many generations. I grew up at the country estate with my brother and cousins, calling Don Athos uncle.

“Don’t disrespect your mother, boy.” Despite Don Athos nearing seventy, he was still a formidable man and not one to trifle with even if you didn’t know he was one of the most powerful men in the world.

“I’m sorry, Zio.” I looked intently at my soup and took another bite. “Is she well?” I asked after the silence continued.

“She is fine, just worried about her only remaining son.” He paused again. I was sure for dramatic effect. There must be a school people like the capi went to that taught you how to look intimidating when speaking and how to make grandiose speeches. “She tells me that you took another trip out of the country.”

I nodded in confirmation because it was pointless to deny it. If he was coming to me with this, he already knew where I was. I tore a piece of bread off the loaf on the table and dipped it into the remaining bits of soup.

“I have told you to stop looking into the bombing. It is done and over. Nothing will come of continuing down this road.” Don Athos’s voice softened. “Nico, I know you loved your brother, and I am saddened by his loss as well as the loss of my son, may God rest their souls, but he wouldn’t want you to continue on this way. He’d want you to finish school and start your life the way you should have.”

“Zio, I’m so close to finding him. I finally know who bombed the hotel. And if I can just locate them.” I leaned forward in my seat. I refused to believe that Enzo was dead. I couldn’t, wouldn’t believe it until I heard it from the horse’s mouth.

“Stupido, do you think we don’t know who did it?” Don Athos whisper-yelled to not draw more attention to our discussion. “Of course, we know.”

“Then why haven’t you asked The Assassins’ Guild about the abnormality in the account about my brother or who hired them in the first place?” I tried to restrain myself from raising my voice as I boldly called out the organization's name that was only whispered of like the Boogieman.

“You don’t understand, boy. You don’t just ask The Assassins’ Guild questions, and you never ask who hired them. It’s a fool’s errand.” If I didn’t know him better, I’d say that he looked scared just talking about them.

About the Author

D.G. Carothers is actually a dragon very cleverly disguised as a human. They are a non-binary author of LGBTQIA Romance and Urban Fantasy, who enjoys writing original and entertaining stories. They are very excited to share the worlds they've created with you.

D.G. currently lives in Tennessee with their platonic life partner, who is not a dragon. They yearn to live back in Europe and will some day. In their spare time they are addicted to losing themselves in the lovely worlds created by other authors

D.G. is committed to writing the stories they see in their head without restrictions. Love is blind and doesn't see gender, race, or sexuality.

Social Media Links

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all three previous T.A.G. books in Audio. (International Distribution through Bookfunnel).

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Release Blitz + Giveaway: Plague and Ash by Sita Bethel

Author Sita Bethel and IndiGo Marketing share new paranormal release, Plague and Ash! Read more and enter in the NineStar Press credit giveaway!

Title: Plague and Ash

Author: Sita Bethel

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 12/21/2021

Heat Level: 3 - Some Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 69300

Genre: Paranormal, LGBTQIA+, Magic, magic users, interspecies, mythical creatures, zombies, undead, plague, farming, hurt/comfort, illness, disease

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Sarah only went to Oreburn University of Incantations so her parents would stop asking her when she’d settle down. However, after a strange plague decimates her hometown, Sarah finds herself fleeing with the undead chasing her.

As she escapes, she meets Brighid, a half orc noble, and together, they must reach Oreburn before the undead can overrun the city. Sarah discovers a decay sorcerer created the original curse, and only a wizard powerful enough to destroy him can end the plague.

But now they have to find that wizard.


Plague and Ash
Sita Bethel © 2021
All Rights Reserved

Something woke me. I blinked at the morning light peeking through the curtains and cutting rectangles onto the ceiling. Only a corner of the quilt draped over my legs while the rest twisted beside me. I must’ve been thrashing in my sleep again. I hadn’t slept well since I’d come home for harvest break, too worried. After slinging my feet over the edge of the bed, I tucked them into my house shoes to avoid the chilly wooden floor. I heard Mama coughing in the kitchen. The acrid smoke smacked me in the face as soon as I left my room. I waved my hand around my nose.


“Burned the damn sausage. Did the smoke wake you?” Mama scraped four burnt discs out of her cast iron skillet and into the scrap bowl, but I was sure Buttermilk wouldn’t touch them.

“The coughing,” I admitted.

“Don’t worry, Sarah. It’s the smoke, nothing else. Pops and I have been drinking elderberry juice, and once we’ve harvested all the crops, we’ll hole up through the winter and wait for this to blow over.”

“Biscuits.” I rushed to the oven, using a dish rag to pull out the tin pan before they burned with the sausage.

“Sorry, my mind’s elsewhere.”

“I can help you and Pops harvest if you’re worried.”

“No. We done told you to stay inside with your brothers.”

“The only reason I came home from the School was to help with the harvest, so let me help.”

“Oh, you came home to work? And here I thought you’d want to see your family.”

“Of course I do.” I shoved my fists against my hips. “And help. Why won’t you let me be useful? The sooner you’re done, the sooner we can all spend more time together.”

“Sarah.” Mama plopped her rump onto a nearby stool and rested her elbows on her knees. “We didn’t want you to worry, but…”

“Who’s sick?” Frowning, I crossed my arms over my chest. The towel dangled in my hand.

“Aunt Flora.” Mama turned away. The gas lights made her gray streak flash and made the wrinkles around her mouth deep as weathered cracks splitting wood. “The baby’s got the Fever too.”

“Mama.” I dropped the towel. Crouching low, I roped my arms around her.

“You stay inside, all right?”

“Okay. I’m sorry.”

“It’ll…be all right. I’m sure. Will you re-cook the sausage for me? I need to help your father.”

“Go on.” I pulled a pack of butcher paper out of the ice box and set it on the counter.

“We’ll be home late.” Mama pulled me close to kiss my temple and then walked out the door.

I warshed my hands in the deep, enamel sink. It was only October, but the morning water rushing over my hands was frigid. Hissing, I grabbed another towel and dried them before shaping the ground meat into patties and getting them in a hot skillet. The view from the kitchen window was burnished, sun all orange and fiery as it struck the mist clinging to the yard. Buttermilk crept along the fence line, stalking a field mouse. I hoped she caught it because otherwise it’d be burnt sausage for her.

A shadow slipped through the cluster of pecan trees near the road. At least I thought one did, but when I squinted, I only saw a fat old squirrel cursing at something hiding in the branches above him. I snorted, shook my head, and flipped the sausages. As they browned, I fetched a jar of sorghum molasses and set it on the table with the butter dish. We grew sorghum grain, but Mama always kept enough sweet sorghum in the garden to make syrup for us.

Abel was the first to stumble out of his room. His hair sprayed around his head in dark brown wisps. They took after Mama, but I had Pops’s copper highlights. Last semester, the other girls at the School convinced me to lighten my hair with peroxide, but instead of summer-kissed and sunny, it turned a brassy off-orange, and once my roots grew out, I had Billy take his clippers to it. Now it was a shaggy mess, and I couldn’t wait until it was long enough to pull away from my face.

“Where’s Mama?” Abel asked.

“She went to help Pops. There’s sausage in the skillet.”

“Why does it smell of smoke?”

“Mama burnt the sausage, but I cooked more.” I fixed my own plate and sat on the stool next to the stove, balancing the plate on my lap.

“Did she swear?”


“Only time I ever hear Mama swear is in the kitchen.”

Abel was right, so I offered a distracted laugh, but I was focused on dipping my biscuit into my sorghum syrup and not his chatter. Abel pulled last night’s sweet tea from the ice box, sat at the table, and shoved his breakfast into his mouth. He chugged half a mason jar’s worth of tea before sighing and setting the glass onto the table.

“I’m gonna go to the pond and get some catfish for dinner.”

“No, you ain’t.” I snorted. We’ve had this conversation damn near every day for three heckin’ weeks.

“I swear I won’t talk to nobody, so let me go.”

“No, you ain’t going. I promised Mama we’d stay inside.”

“Sarah, I’m fourteen. I can handle myself.”

I pinched the bridge of my nose. Was I this stubborn when I argued with Mama? With three of us giving her sass, no wonder she had a gray streak cutting through her hair like a skunk stripe.


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Meet the Author

Hey there, readers. It’s me, ya boi, Sita Bethel. And this is a biography where I tell you all the boring facts about my life- like how I have a degree in writing, and how my two cats, Odin and Anpu, will one day rule this land as your feline overlords. Enough of that same old, same old. Here’s the real dirt. Sita Bethel likes to wrap up like a burrito with a weighted blanket. They host coloring parties as a personal eff-you to anxiety, and read everything from trash British sensationalist novels like The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins to literary masterpieces like The Color Purple by Alice Walker. Had enough of Sita Bethel yet? If not, check out @sita_bethel on Twitter, or sitabethelfiction on Facebook, or even

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Tag Team Review: The Holiday List (The Script Club #4) by Lane Hayes

The Mars maestro, the single dad, and a wish list…


Boy, am I lucky! Finding a living situation with a houseful of passionate scientists just before the holidays is ideal in every possible way. As the newest member of the Script Club, I feel it’s important to step up and tackle the to-do list my friends would prefer to avoid. Item one, address the tutoring request from the neighborhood-hottie-slash-single-dad on the next block. I’ve got this!

Or do I?

Handsome, older, sporty gentlemen intimidate me. And Mr. McSwoony doesn’t like the holidays. This may be a daunting task.


What do you do when a new neighbor shows up on your doorstep with cookies and a wacky plan to spread holiday cheer? I don’t need cheer, but I could use help with some of the experiments my son wants to try. I know football, not science. Hopefully, I can talk Chet into a mutually beneficial trade. The only snag is that I’m seriously attracted to my local Mars expert. He’s unintentionally charming…in the very best way.

Don’t quote me, but maybe this holiday elf with thick glasses and a mile-long list might be exactly what I need.

The Holiday List is an MM bisexual, geek/jock romance with a holiday twist featuring a lovable scientist and a single dad who’s probably on the naughty list!


R *A Reader Obsessed* - 4.5 Hearts

Though the shortest in the series thus far and grounded a bit more in reality, this was no less fun, funny, sexy with some extra kid cuteness and a big oomph of feels that really nailed this as my favorite so far!

Take new roomie Chet of the nerdy Script Club who is the bestest kind of people pleaser. He loves to help out just because he’s that sort of person. When the other guys bring to his notice that single dad Sam called for some assistance with his son who’s all things science, Chet puts on his neighborly hat and goes over there to see what he can do. What he finds is that Sam is physically hampered by a hurt shoulder and while he’s on medical leave from being a professional football referee, Sam wants to make the most of his time off as he’s usually away for work this time of the year. There’s just one little snag - Sam pretty much hates the holidays. This philosophy lights a fire under Chet, who doesn't hesitate to bring some holiday cheer to Sam’s life and has a foolproof plan and plenty of to-do lists to brighten and loosen things up!

So, if you’re in the mood for an age gap romance featuring a well intentioned NASA scientist and a slightly gruff grumpy dad who only wants the best for his kid, then come on over! As Chet brings it with all the wintery goodness, Sam soon realizes that disengaging and leaving the fun stuff to others is only inhibiting him from truly enjoying what life has to offer, including love! This light romantic comedy brought tears to my eyes, and if one can make this cold heart feel, then it’s pretty much an automatic winner!

Again, sooooo easy breezy sweet and steamy this latest installment still delivered the laughs, the grins, and major gooey feels, all with that wonderful Christmas vibe that is the extra sprinkles on top of an already inevitable happy ending! Enjoy!

Fantasy Living - 3.5 Hearts

Look at me, writing a review after two years of being MIA. A true Christmas Miracle…

It’s been a while since I wanted to read anything Christmas related given the last two years have challenged the idea of Holiday Spirit and Celebration on a level I never expected to experience (I should have, but that’s pondering for another day). What better way to reclaim the spirit and get in the mood than a Festive story. I definitely relate to Chet, and the rest of my household are a bunch of Sams’, throwing shade about my need to decorate, but secretly they love it.

Speaking of love, Chet and Sam were adorable in their courtship and I enjoyed the overall story between them. As I haven’t read any of the past books, I’m not 100% sure if I’ve missed any deep character development for Chet or his neighbour but I felt that I followed along pretty well.

I wasn’t sold on the third act but I guess every book has to have one. If there had been a more mature conversation or a clearer indication of what was going on then I may have bought into it a bit more, but in its current form it threw me off when it arrived.

That aside, I still thought this was a sweet holiday read and it served its purpose of kicking off my Holiday cheer. If only I could find myself in the same scenario as Chet, where I could decorate other people’s houses once I’ve finished my own.

Readers of low angst romance between a Sports guy and a Scientist will enjoy this one.

A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.

Audiobook Tour: Life Lessons by Kaje Harper

 Life Lessons is now in audio format! Learn more about the JF Harding narrated mystery from author Kaje Harper and Gay Book Promotions today!


Book Title: Life Lessons

Author: Kaje Harper

Publisher: Self-published rerelease

Narrator: JF Harding

Release Date: December 02 2021

Genre: Mystery/Contemporary M/M Romance

Trope/s: murder-mystery, in the closet, modest age gap, single parenting 

Themes: hurt-comfort, closet-getting-tight, MC in danger

Heat Rating: 3-4 flames  

Length: 8 hours and 47 minutes

It is the first book in the Life Lessons series. It does not end on a cliffhanger but a HFN.


Buy Links - Audible, KU and Paperback

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Mac's three goals: keep Tony safe, catch the killer, don't come out.


Tony Hart's a dedicated teacher, though he's not much older than his high-school students. Between his profession, a few good friends, and plenty of books, he's content with his quiet life. Then the murdered body of another teacher falls into the elevator at his feet, and Tony's life becomes all too exciting.

Jared MacLean is a homicide detective, widowed father to a young daughter, and deeply in the closet. But from the moment he meets Tony's blue eyes in that high school hallway, Mac can't help wanting this man in his life. Mac's not out ― can't afford to be out ― but Tony makes him want the impossible.

Mac isn't the only one with their eyes on Tony, though. As the murderer tries to cover their tracks, Mac has to work fast or lose Tony, permanently.

(This is a rerelease of the 2011 original with light editing.)


Tony said after a pause. “You’re not the only person trapped in the closet. All those guys in the military, stuck with don’task, don’t tell; other guys with macho jobs or religious families. Lots of guys are doing it.”

“But you don’t want to,” Mac acknowledged.

“It wouldn’t be my first choice, no. I’ve put a lot of effort and pain into being out so I wouldn’t have to hide. But I do want you, and I know that comes on your terms.”

“They’re not my terms,” Mac protested.

“Whatever. It comes with being secret and hiding whatever we have together. The question is whether that’s better than not having anything together.”

Mac wanted to shout that of course it was, but he bit his tongue.

Tony looked at him hard. “The other question you have to ask yourself is whether you want to take the risk. No matter how careful we are, you may get caught. A wrong look, a note in your pocket, someone tracking down your cell in an emergency; there are lots of ways this could come out in the open. It’s not a problem for me. But is that a risk that you want to take?”

Mac opened his mouth to say yes, and hesitated. How have I come this far this fast? He’d been willing to cut away anything in his life that risked his daughter Anna or the job. And sex had never been that important. But this wasn’t about sex; it was about Tony. And Tony had somehow become too important to cut away. It might hurt less to give up breathing.

“There’s never been anyone I could go to, to just be myself. I’ve never had a lover, or even a fuck-buddy. I thought I could live without that, but now… I don’t want to. Even with Mai, I wasn’t… I couldn’t relax completely. With you, I’m just me.”

“Yeah.” Tony smiled at him. “That’s part of being gay, you know. It’s not just who you want in bed. It’s who your emotional relationships are with the other twenty-three hours of the day, whose arms you want around you when life hands you shit.”

About the Author  

I get asked about my name a lot. It's not something exotic, though. “Kaje” is pronounced just like “cage” – it’s an old nickname, and my pronouns are she/her/hers. I’ve been writing far longer than I care to admit (*whispers – forty-five years*), although mostly for my own entertainment. I write M/M romance, often with added mystery, fantasy, historical, SciFi, paranormal… I also have Young Adult short stories (some released under the pen name Kira Harp.)  

After decades of writing just for fun, my husband convinced me I really should submit something, somewhere. My first professionally published book, Life Lessons, came out in May 2011. I now have a good-sized backlist in ebooks and print, both free and professionally published, including Amazon bestseller The Rebuilding Year and Rainbow Award Best Mystery-Thriller Tracefinder: Contact. A complete list with links can be found on my website "Books" page at

Social Media Links

Audible Profile  |  Blog/Website  |  Newsletter Sign-up

Facebook | Facebook Group: Kaje's Conversation Corner  

Goodreads Author page  | BookBub

About the Narrator

JF Harding Facebook Page  |  Facebook Group

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Audio Release Blitz + Giveaway: The Holiday List (The Script Club #4) by Lane Hayes


Author Lane Hayes and IndiGo Marketing share new audio holiday romance info for The Holiday List (The Script Club #4)! Read more about the Alexander Cendese narrated tale and enter in the giveaway!

Title: The Holiday List

Series: The Script Club #4

Author: Lane Hayes

Narrator: Alexander Cendese

Publisher: Lane Hayes

Release Date: December 3

Heat Level: 4 - Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 3 hrs and 44 mins

Genre: Romance, Nerd/Jock, MM Romance, Bisexual, Single Dad, Grumpy/Happy, Holiday Romance

Add to Goodreads


The Mars maestro, the single dad, and a wish list…


Boy, am I lucky! Finding a living situation with a houseful of passionate scientists just before the holidays is ideal in every possible way. As the newest member of the Script Club, I feel it’s important to step up and tackle the to-do list my friends would prefer to avoid. Item one, address the tutoring request from the neighborhood-hottie-slash-single-dad on the next block. I’ve got this!

Or do I?

Handsome, older, sporty gentlemen intimidate me. And Mr. McSwoony doesn’t like the holidays. This may be a daunting task.


What do you do when a new neighbor shows up on your doorstep with cookies and a wacky plan to spread holiday cheer? I don’t need cheer, but I could use help with some of the experiments my son wants to try. I know football, not science. Hopefully, I can talk Chet into a mutually beneficial trade. The only snag is that I’m seriously attracted to my local Mars expert. He’s unintentionally charming…in the very best way.

Don’t quote me, but this holiday elf with thick glasses and a mile-long list might be exactly what I need.

The Holiday List is an MM bisexual, geek/jock romance with a holiday twist featuring a lovable scientist and a single dad who’s probably on the naughty list!


“Who said I was lonely? I’m not lonely. I’m just tired of being with myself. That’s not the same thing,” I argued.

“Close enough. One thing that helps me fight the blues is an immediate change of scenery,” Chet pronounced with a wide grin.

“Thanks, Doc, but Linc is coming home this week. I’m not going anywhere.”

“You don’t have to physically go anywhere. You can just switch up your routine and add—”

“Let me guess…holiday cheer?”

Chet beamed. “Yes.”

I had to give the guy credit…he was tenacious.

I couldn’t let him think he’d won too easily, though. I furrowed my brow, giving him my best cranky scowl, and huffed. “You really want to decorate my house?”

He frowned. “No. I want to reset your karma. And mine. You’ve done a good deed here tonight, and I owe you one in turn. I also owe my roommates for their kindness.”

“Putting up a tree is going to help your karma?” I snorted.

“And yours.”

Somehow, I doubted that, but I liked the idea of having an excuse to see him again. “Fine. You can decorate my house.”

Chet whooped as he jumped to his feet. “A nice noble fir would look perfect in that corner of your great room near the fireplace. But of course, closer to the window. We don’t want to worry about fire hazards. What’s your ornament situation? I’m happy to purchase some if needed. Simple red and silver balls are always nice and—”

“I’ve got plenty of balls.” I stood, testing my shoulder to be sure I didn’t do any real damage, as I met him at the door. “It’s getting late. We can talk about this later. You seem like the kind of Christmas elf who needs parameters.”

He snickered, pushing his glasses to the bridge of his nose. “There might be some truth to that statement.”

“Just so we’re clear, I’m not gonna want to wake up in a winter fuckin’ wonderland.”

“Right. Got it.”

I braced my hand on the doorknob, scanning the dimly lit foyer briefly. “Come over Saturday. We can talk about it then. And…you can meet Linc.”

Chet narrowed his eyes. Not gonna lie, his immediate transformation from skinny geek to bad-ass science guy was kinda hot.

“Is this trickery?”

“No, but it might be a good trade. We’ll see.” I shot a lopsided grin his way as I opened the door, pointing at the chair that knocked me on my ass. “This is not an adequate security system. I’ll give you my number. If anything seems suspicious or if you need anything, call me.”

Chet typed my contact info into his cell obediently, then pressed Call so I had his number too. Courtesy complete, he fixed me with a no-nonsense look. “Thank you. For the record, while I appreciate your help tonight, I didn’t agree to—”

“I know, I know.” I stared at him for a long moment.

This had to be one of the oddest yet most interesting nights I’d had in a while. This was probably a good time to remind myself that Chet was my neighbor. My much younger neighbor.

But damn it, he was tempting.

I leaned in and pressed my lips to his. It was featherlight touch, hardly a real kiss at all. It was just enough to make him blush. Chet’s cheeks pinkened, and a flush rose low on his neck.

“Mr. Rooney…”

“Sam,” I gently reminded him. “Good night.”

Don’t ask me how I did it, but I somehow managed not to turn around as I headed down the pathway and up the street to my house. My lips twitched in amusement, giving way to a smile that grew with every step. When I finally got home, I let it fly, grinning like a madman as I chomped on a rosemary shortbread cookie made by my own personal elf.

Was I vaguely alarmed at the concept of letting him put a bunch of holiday crap up in my house? Fuck, yes, I was. Hot kiss or not, nothing was going to happen between us. And I was okay with that. Mostly.

Maybe he was just the diversion I’d needed, ’cause hanging out at home for the next couple of weeks suddenly didn’t seem so bad.

Purchase at Audible

Meet the Author

Lane Hayes loves a good romance! An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions, and were winners in the 2016, 2017, and 2018-2019 Rainbow Awards. She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in a not quite empty nest.

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Blog Tour + Giveaway: Carillon's Curse by Sionnach Wintergreen


The Carillon's Curse blog tour makes a stop here today! Author Sionnach Wintergreen and Other Worlds Ink share info on the new Western paranormal thriller! And they're hosting a $20 Amazon gift card giveaway!


Carillon's Curse - Sionnach Wintergreen

Sionnach Wintergreen has a new MM Western paranormal thriller out: Carillon's Curse. And there's a giveaway!

In 1888 Austin, Texas, a shy medium with clubfoot is visited by the grisly spirits of murdered children and enlists the help of a rugged Texas Ranger to pursue their killer. As the two men hunt the murderer, they find themselves not only in the grip of a taboo love that could—at best—send them to prison, but also in danger of becoming the killer’s next prey.

In the twenty three years of his life, Thomas Carillon has known nothing but unrequited love. People don’t notice him; they only notice his clubfoot. He has given himself up to a solitary existence with only the companionship of his cat and the ghosts who visit him. When a rare child ghost, her massive injuries evident, asks Thomas for help, the only law man that will listen is a hard-bitten Texas Ranger who reawaken’s Thomas’s secret desires. The two grow closer as they chase the killer, but can they hold onto their fragile, budding love in such hard times?

Hadrian Burton thinks Thomas looks like an angel, except for whatever horror he’s hiding in that strange boot. Temporarily leaving life on the range and his complicated past to track down a killer with Thomas, Hadrian finds himself doing something he vowed never to do again—falling in love. Their “congress,” as Thomas calls it, is more intense than he has ever experienced. After a lifetime of virginity, the clubfooted man is going wild, and he doesn’t balk at Hadrian’s unconventional appetites. But Hadrian fears he will only hurt Thomas in the end. And yet, he has never fallen so hard for another man. How can he keep both his and Thomas’s hearts from being broken? And how can he bring the elusive Child Slayer to justice with only the help of a medium and ghosts?

Get it On Amazon


Sionnach Wintergreen is giving away a $20 Amazon gift card with this reveal:

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Carillon's Curse

Friday, January 27

Austin, Texas

Thomas Carillon set down his teacup as he watched his cat, Gracie, lift up from his lap in a black and white ruffle of fur, her ghost puff. She had sensed a presence. He sighed. Ghosts never respected his privacy. He enjoyed helping them, but sometimes they demanded attention—usually when he wanted to be alone in his drawing room. “Is it more Confederates? I’m so tired of goddamned Confederates. It’s always ‘what did I die for’ and telling them, ‘not a damn thing’ doesn’t send them off to the Great Beyond.”

Thomas smoothed Gracie’s rumpled coat. It was thick and wispy at the same time, too short to call long and too long to call short. Consequently, the only time it laid flat was when Thomas sleeked it back with his hand, and then it only stayed down for a few seconds. This excited burst of hair, of course, was different. Gracie’s ghost puff. He was the medium, true enough, but Gracie always saw ghosts first, and it was this distinctive puff of hair and body that announced every spectral visitor to Carillon House.

“Show yourself, spirit. I sense your presence and will endeavor to listen to your tale.” He left out that Gracie was truly the one who sensed the specter’s presence. Gracie, for all her intuitiveness, couldn’t speak to ghosts. That was his talent.

This spirit didn’t have the distrust or sudden coyness displayed by most of the ghosts who called on him. This one appeared right beside the arm of his wingback chair. She flickered, wan and bloodless. His breath caught in his throat, and his chest tightened. Seeing a spirit rarely triggered one of his asthma attacks anymore, but the ones who had suffered terrible injuries still affected him.

“You are Mister Carillon” asked the girl. He didn’t usually see child ghosts. Something about them, perhaps their innocence, allowed them to cross over without all of the problems that burdened adults and kept them bond to the realm of the living.

She looked about five years old with duckling blonde hair done up in curls atop her head and crowned with a large red bow. Dirt and blood-stained white lace gloves were the only article of clothing she wore. She held her bowels in her arms as if cradling a large bouquet.

“Yes. Yes, I’m Mr. Carillon. Please, call me Thomas.” He tried to right himself. Whatever had happened to this child, he knew she meant him no harm. People were scared of ghosts, but the most fearful beings wore flesh and skin flushed with blood. “What is your name, my child?”

“Rebecca. The pretty painted ladies told me to come here.”

The whores. All of the whores liked him. They knew he wasn’t like the men who plagued them in life. Homosexuals spent as little time as possible with naked females—and they certainly didn’t pay to do so. He had helped some cross over and entertained with the others. A number of them didn’t want to cross over, content to haunt men and make them impotent or help him impress rich old women at séances.

“Rebecca. That’s a lovely name.” He could have used a sip of tea, but Rebecca’s condition made his stomach shiver. “What brings you to seek me out?”

“I like your cat.”

“Do you? Thank you. Yes, she is a rather nice cat.”

“What’s her name?”

He was thankful most children crossed over. He wasn’t accustomed to dealing with them. He hadn’t understood them even when he was one. At twenty-three, he should have been starting his own family, but he didn’t call on women. He knew they wouldn’t have wanted to marry him even if he had courted one. The two his mother had tried to collect for him had practically run away. “Her name is Gracie.”

Rebecca giggled, holding twists of guts as easily as she might lift a skirt. “That’s a funny name for a cat!”

“She’s a funny cat. Tell me, dear, what happened to you?”

She sobered. “He hurt me. He hurt my private places, then he cut me with his knife.”

A burst of anger flared bright and hot in Thomas’s face.

Rebecca cringed. “Please, don’t be angry, Mister.”

His grief at her condition and her fear fanned the flames of his asthma. He fought for a breath. A small wheeze escaped him. “I’m not angry at you. Not even a trifle. Tell me, Rebecca, tell me who he is.”

“His knife was the biggest knife I’ve ever seen. It was much bigger than his.... He hurt me.”

Raw fury tightened his chest more than asthma. He fought to keep his voice even, not wishing to frighten the child. A Bowie knife—that could have belonged to nearly half the men in Austin. He needed more information. “Did you know him?”

She shook her head negatively, curls bouncing. “I was playing with Sarah and Rose outside Rose’s house. Her house is next door, but Sarah lives on another street. He came up and wanted to tell us a Bible story. I didn’t like it. It was about Lot. He said I needed to come with him because my mother said so, but we didn’t go see my mother. We went to some place where cows are, and he did things to me. And chickens. There were chickens there, too. The black spotty kind. I like those.”

Thomas went ahead and helped himself to his tea. He drained his cup despite its coolness, and set it back down. “I’ll go see the Marshal,” he said gently. Maybe, if he was truly fortunate, the police would discover her corpse so her poor mother could bury her. “That was a terrible man, but no one is going to hurt you anymore, Rebecca. What happened to you in life didn’t happen to your spirit body. Think about how you usually looked.”

As she thought, her ghostly flesh righted itself, and she became well and whole, although she was still a specter, pale and flickering like a candle flame. She wore a pretty, lacy frock and was a lovely little girl. Thomas smiled at her. “There, that’s better, isn’t it?”

He was about to try to send her to the Great Beyond, when she chirped, “What about the boy?”

“What boy?”

“The boy in the barn. The man brought him there after he hurt me. Before he cut me. He hurt the boy, too. The boy was a tiddy baby, but I didn’t call him one. He wouldn’t stop crying. I don’t want the man to cut him, though.”

Thomas tapped his shoulder. Gracie, who had been quiet in his lap, leapt on his shoulder and balanced as he grabbed his cane from against the chair and stood. Even with the special boot, the clubfoot was a menace. It kept his bed empty and his heart forever yearning.

“What are you doing?” asked Rebecca.

We’re going to see the police.” He reached into his vest and pulled out his pocket watch. He opened it and showed it to Rebecca. “You can ride in here, and I’ll let you out when we talk to the Marshal.”

She tilted her head to the side. “It’s a special watch?”

He smiled. “It was my great grandfather’s. It’s very special to me. I don’t know why it works the way it does, but I can carry two spirits in it if they are so inclined.”

“And Gracie’s going, too?”

“Gracie goes everywhere I go. Always.” He actually went precious few places, preferring the quiet seclusion of his home.

Gracie blinked at the girl with a slow bat of her black lashes. A cat kiss. A blessing.

Rebecca’s face broke out in a huge grin. “Then I’ll go, too.” She turned to a white mist and disappeared into the watch. Thomas put it in his pocket and shuffled toward the foyer. Despite his confidence when speaking with the girl, a chill licked down his spine. He hoped they could find the boy before he became a specter as well.

Author Bio

Sionnach Wintergreen

I’m Sionnach (pronounced SHUHN ukh) and I’m a trans male author (he/him) of romance and fantasy. Most of my books are gay romances because they’re so much fun to write. Opposites attract is my favorite trope with hurt/comfort right behind it. Few things are as fun to me as bringing men to life and pushing them into each other’s arms. I love happily ever afters and believe true love is absolutely real.

Before I started writing full time, I volunteered as a grant writer for animal rescue nonprofits. I love animals, and they inevitably find their way into my stories. I share my life with my husband and seven spoiled cats. I’m also the emotional support human to a husky.

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