Release Blitz + Giveaway: Uncovered by Noja Lina

Author Noja Lina and Pride Publishing share new release of Uncovered! Read more and enter in the First Romance gift card giveaway!

Uncovered by Noja Lina

Word Count:  32,008
Book Length: SHORT NOVEL
Pages: 123

Genres:

BISEXUAL
CONTEMPORARY
EROTIC ROMANCE
GAY
GLBTQI

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Book Description


People keep themselves covered in many ways. But, sometimes, it’s not possible—and someone’s looking.

Jake postpones buying curtains for his new apartment. At one point, he notices that a man from the building across keeps watching him every morning. Jake then confronts the guy, whom he considers a stalker.

Thomas is not actually a stalker and is put off by Jake’s aggressive tendencies. Even so, they continue interacting and a bond starts forming. Jake develops romantic interest in Thomas but refuses to admit it and struggles with getting them to be closer. Along the way, he discovers that Thomas hates aggression because he had dealt with domestic violence in his past.

They both need to overcome their respective fears and change. Will they succeed—or fail and fall apart?

Reader advisory: This book contains discussion of stalking, mention of suicide, descriptions of physical, emotional and metal abuse, and discussion of a main character's history of abuse.

Excerpt

Jake liked the new place he had rented at the start of his first year in the master’s program. It was a small, one-room apartment with a kitchen and a bathroom on the fourth floor of an old building on the eastern side of Thornburg. The neighborhood was packed with tall buildings, narrow streets and large supermarkets, but Jake was among the lucky residents whose view included a yard with a couple of trees among all the other concrete structures.

His new place was only five bus stops away from Thornburg’s center, where Jake would get off and walk an extra ten minutes to get to his college. Buses ran frequently in his new neighborhood and, even when Thornburg experienced the levels of traffic it was renowned for, it still wouldn’t take more than twenty minutes for Jake to get to the city center.

Thornburg was also famous for its high rent and housing prices, but Jake had managed to score a living space with a lower-than-average rent for the type of place it was. So, with his current budget and needs, the newly rented lodging was ideal for him.

Since he had lived in the student dorms up until that point, he didn’t have many things. Cleaning supplies and utensils, dishes, some appliances and other such things had been shared with his previous roommates in the dorm. As such, they were currently missing from his apartment. He really needed to go shopping.

Jake also didn’t have curtains, so he needed to add those to his shopping list, too. But, since buying all the stuff at once would leave him starving until his next paycheck and there wasn’t really any certainty when that would be, he prioritized buying only the things he really needed and only when he really needed them.

And so, one month after his university year had started, Jake still did not have curtains.

The building opposite from his was fifty meters away, separated by the yard where people walked their dogs and kids played hide and go seek. That building was positioned in such a way that Jake could easily see inside the homes on the third, fourth and fifth floors. Of course, the reverse was also true, and someone from the opposite building could see inside Jake’s apartment, especially with him not having any drapes or curtains.

This didn’t bother Jake, and he changed clothes in his room with complete disregard to the fact that someone might see him during this daily activity. Whenever the thought entered his mind, he immediately dismissed it, thinking that most people had better things to do than watch a random guy changing and doing stuff inside his own place.

That was, until one morning when he was proven wrong. Jake had just taken off the T-shirt he had slept in and gone over to the windowsill to get the camera he had left there. Looking out through the window, he saw a guy around his age, sitting on the threshold of his balcony on the fourth floor of the opposite building, smoking a cigarette and looking directly at Jake as he was doing so.

Jake challenged the other guy with his gaze, but the latter seemed completely unaffected as he continued to look at Jake, barely even blinking. If the other guy had shown some kind of aggravating reaction—or even any reaction at all—Jake was ready to shout, show the middle finger or do something else that would aggravate the other guy in return. But, as there was no reaction, Jake had nothing concrete to go on. For all he knew, the man could just be staring into space and it only seemed like he was looking at Jake. So, Jake stepped away from the window to finish his business, forgetting the incident had ever happened by the time he reached the bus stop.

The next morning, he remembered it and, out of curiosity, looked toward the opposite building to see if the guy who had been potentially staring at him was still doing it. He was.

Again, he was sitting on the threshold, smoking a cigarette and looking straight at Jake. Again, Jake itched to do something to make him back off, but he was running late, so he postponed doing anything about the matter.

On the third morning, the guy wasn’t there, and Jake thought he may have jumped to conclusions too soon. So, he made a mental note to better control his aggressive reactions until he was sure he had good reasons for having them.

The fourth morning came, and Jake saw the other guy again, staring at him with a blank expression. Jake forgot about the mental note he had made, went out on his balcony shirtless, crossed his arms and glared at the guy. He was confident in his ability to be intimidating and to keep it up until either the other person lost their nerve or until Jake lost his cool. However, the guy proved to be a considerable opponent, as he never once turned his gaze away or changed his expression. Three minutes passed like that, and the annoyance building up within Jake was going to soon make him drop the glaring for something more impactful. But, then, the other guy showed a faint smile, looked at his wristwatch, put out his finished cigarette, stood up and waved to Jake before entering his apartment.

That motherfucker!

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About the Author

Noja Lina

New writer on the romance block, Noja Lina likes writing uplifting contemporary romance stories. These stories are centered around engaging male characters, usually dealing with personal struggles alongside love struggles.

Noja lives in Romania, specifically Transylvania. When she’s not working at her full-time job or working on one of her stories, she enjoys her one-sided love relationship with various forms of Asian media, enjoys adding another cooking fail to the collection and hanging out with friends over a cold beer.

Find Noja on her website, on Facebook and on Twitter.

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Release Blitz + Giveaway: Changeling (Outcast Mates #2) by Lee Colgin

 Author Lee Colgin and Gay Book Promotions celebrate the release of Changeling (Outcast Mates #2)! Read more about the paranormal romance and enter in the giveaway for a chance to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card and Direct-to-kindle copies of Mongrel and Changeling!

 

RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title:  Changeling: MM Paranormal Fantasy Romance (Outcast Mates)

Author: Lee Colgin

Publisher: Colgin Enterprise

Cover Artist: Natasha Snow

Release Date: February 10, 2022

Genre: MM Paranormal/Fantasy Romance

Tropes: Enemies to Lovers, found family, grumpy/sunshine, forced proximity

Themes: Finding yourself

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 65 000 words/ 260 pages

It is a standalone story and does not end on a cliffhanger.

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When a fae changeling on the run is forced to hunker down with a grumpy incubus, will enemies become lovers or is an ancient curse too much for them to bear? 


Blurb

Dominus—an incubus who runs a brothel called The Twig & Berries—is bored with his life and customers alike.

Sebastian—a changeling faerie swapped at birth for a human infant—is reeling with the knowledge of his true heritage. Unsafe among humans, he travels north to meet others of his kind.

But danger lurks, and when Sebastian is forced to hunker down with Dominus for safe harbor, the tension between them flares hot.

Sebastian is the only person that’s piqued Dominus’s interest in ages, but he’s fae. And Dominus has reason to despise faeries.

Forced together as trespassers infiltrate the territory, will enemies become lovers or will a curse keep them apart forever?

Changeling is an MM Paranormal Fantasy Romance featuring enemies-to-lovers, forced proximity, a steamy love story, lamb on a stick, and surprise visitors from other novels. If you enjoyed Beneath the Opal Arc, this book's for you.

Excerpt 

A creature strolls into the room so stunning I must blink to be sure he’s real.

Aside from the massive horns and gently swaying tail, he doesn’t look like any demon I’ve ever imagined. He’s gorgeous, with gray-dappled lavender skin, and he’s huge—taller than me even without considering the coiled horns that add another foot to his already astounding height.

His sapphire blue eyes, sparkling with an interest that rivals my own, catch my gaze. Silver brows—the same color as his long braided hair—arch to elegant crescents high on his forehead.

“What treasure has arrived at my door this morning?” A sly smile forms across lush pink lips. His skin is simply otherworldly, shining with an aromatic oil spread from neck to toes.

I inhale the fragrance of a bouquet of fresh spring blossoms plucked to gift a lover.

“Dominus, meet Sebastian, who finds himself in need of safe harbor.” Ivaz makes a sweeping gesture from him to me. “Sebastian, meet Dominus, who’s agreed to take you in.”

I let my gaze wander over the length of him. Practically naked, he wears only a sheer shift of shimmering fabric the color of ripe plums. It’s pulled tight over each hardened nipple, crossing just above his pierced belly button, then draping loosely around his lean waist and bulging thighs. Silver strappy sandals adorn his otherwise bare feet, the toenails painted purple to match the shift. Amethysts dangle from each ear.

Dominus is a glittering jewel of a man—of an incubus, I suppose. His attention brushes over me like a touch, grazing my skin and bristling the little hairs on my neck in its wake. We stare at each other until I remember my manners.

Clearing my throat, I extend my hand. “Thank you for offering me shelter.”

Dominus takes it within his larger one, his grip soft and warm. “My pleasure.” He brings my hand to his lips and presses a kiss to the backs of my fingers.

I’m baffled by the boldness of the gesture, wondering how he knows I prefer men. It’s usually a back-and-forth dance of daring mixed with self-preservation to determine whether another fellow might be like-minded, but Dominus doesn’t hesitate in the slightest.

To my chagrin, heat sears across my cheeks. Surely they’re pink as petals. I’m not often so taken by another person, but Dominus is a magnificent presence. His energy steals all the space in the room, spins it to his will, and returns it much improved upon for having been under his control.

My tongue is thick and heavy in my mouth, but I force it to work before I look like an idiot ogling him. “I’ve never met an incubus before.”

“And I’ve never met such a charming…” He studies me, eyes raking over my lean form.

I open my mouth to answer, my flush deepening under his scrutiny, but he shakes his head.

“No, let me guess. It’s more fun. Wood sprite?”

His guess brings a grin to my face. “There are wood sprites?”

“Ah, so not a wood sprite, then.” He leans in close to me and reaches for my hair. “May I?”

I bite my cheek and give a little nod. He takes a lock of my hair and curls it through his fingers. Then he sniffs.

“Hmm, not a shifter. At least not one I recognize.” His eyes sparkle with a new idea. “A jinn? But are you benevolent or malevolent?”

“I’m not that either. What’s a jinn?”

Dominus purses his lips, still twirling my hair. “Not a jinn. Hmm.”

Ivaz groans before Dominus can answer my question. “Glad to see the two of you hitting it off. Now where do we sleep?”

“Has our new guest worn you out already, old man?” Dominus says to Ivaz.

“Hardly,” Ivaz scoffs. “But I have a letter to write before dawn.”

“This way.” Dominus extends his elbow to me, and I take it. His muscles flex beneath my fingertips.

We head down a narrow hallway with decorated silk drapes hung crisscrossed over the ceiling and pass several doors on each side. Just how big this place, and how many people sleep within these rooms? In the quiet, I hear only the thumping of my heart and our soft steps muted by layers of thick rugs.

We stop by one of the doors. Dominus uses his free hand to push it open. He glances to Ivaz. “Here you are.”

“Thank you.” Ivaz steps over the threshold.

I gasp as Dominus’s tail circles my waist and tugs me closer to his side. It’s not unwelcome, but it’s quite surprising.

“Sorry,” he says, sounding anything but. “It has a mind of its own sometimes.”

About the Author 

Lee Colgin has loved vampires since she read Dracula on a hot, sunny beach at 13 years old. She lives in North Carolina with lots of dogs and her husband. No, he's not a vampire, but she loves him anyway. Lee likes to workout so she can eat the maximum amount of cookies with her pizza. Ask her how much she can bench press.

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Series Tour + Giveaway: Witchbane series (Books #1-6) by Morgan Brice

Author Morgan Brice and Gay Book Promotions visit with the Witchbane (#1-6) series tour. read more about the urban fantasy series, including new release, The Devil You Know. Discover more and enter in the giveaway to win one of 6 copies of a book from Morgan Brice's backlist!

WITCHBANE SERIES REVIEW TOUR

Witchbane is a supernatural, second chance at love thrill ride packed with hurt/comfort, deadly magic, immortal witches, determined hunters, spells and curses, true love, impressive explosions, spooky chills and sexy thrills!

Genre/s: Gay romance, MM romance, supernatural romance adventure, urban fantasy

Trope/s: Hurt/comfort, skeptical strangers to lovers, found family, second chance at love, ‘I would risk anything for you’

The stories are stand alone with no cliffhangers, but you’ll understand the world better if you read them in sequence.

Overall Heat Rating for the series: 4 flames

BOOK DETAILS

BOOK 6 - NEW RELEASE

Book Title: The Devil You Know: MM Supernatural Romance Adventure

Length:  240 pages

Release Date: February 8, 2022

Themes: Evolving established relationship, acceptance of differences, healing, learning to trust, letting go of the past, dealing with old betrayals, gaining skills, learning to ask for help, facing old fears

Goodreads

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 It all comes down to trusting the devil you know!

Blurb 

Seth and Evan met “on the job” when Evan was the intended sacrifice of a dark coven, and Seth came to the rescue. Now, they’ve teamed up to stop a century of ritual murders and get justice for Seth’s brother Jesse and the other victims.

Seth and Evan have a plan to stop the next witch disciple, plus new allies and magic. But this time, the warlock knows they're coming, and he has plans of his own. When Seth disappears and is trapped in a spell that gives him his heart’s desire, can he free himself in time to help Evan?

And when Evan’s younger brother shows up unexpectedly, can Evan trust Parker to have his back? It all comes down to trusting the devil you know!

The Devil You Know is a thrill-packed urban fantasy MM paranormal romance with plenty of supernatural suspense, hurt/comfort, hot sex, found family, and dark magic and features an evolving, established romantic relationship with all the feels.

***

BOOK 1

Book Title: Witchbane: MM Supernatural Romance Adventure

Length: 246 pages

Release Date: February 19, 2018

Themes: revealing a hidden magical world, acceptance of differences, healing, learning to trust, 

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Seth is used to risking his neck. He never intended to risk his heart.

Blurb 

Seth is used to risking his neck. He never intended to risk his heart. Seth Tanner swore to avenge his brother’s death. But when his quest for vengeance brings him to Richmond to stop a dark coven’s next ritual murder, he’s hell-bent on keeping Jackson Evan Malone from becoming the warlocks’ next victim. He just didn’t expect to fall in love with the man he’s sworn to protect.

Evan thinks Seth is crazy. Maybe that’s true—but Seth could still be right about the danger. Evan doesn’t believe in witches, and he’s still healing from past betrayals. He might trust Seth with his life—but what happens when he starts to fall for his handsome, dangerous protector?

Witchbane is a supernatural, second chance at love thrill ride packed with hurt/comfort, deadly magic, immortal witches, determined hunters, spells and curses, true love, impressive explosions, spooky chills and sexy thrills! 

***

BOOK 2

Book Title: Burn: MM Supernatural Romance Adventure

Length: 120 pages

Release Date: September 26, 2018

Themes: Evolving established relationship, acceptance of differences, healing, learning to trust, letting go of the past, dealing with old betrayals, gaining confidence

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Fate and danger threw them together. But once the adrenaline fades, will love last? 

Blurb 

Fate and danger threw them together. But once the adrenaline fades, will love last? Seth saves Evan from a dark witch, and they go on the run together, on the trail of a coven of ritual killers. But when the dust settles, will Evan regret his choice? Seth’s life as a hunter is dangerous, and he’s constantly on the road. He’s fallen in love with Evan and he wants him to stay, but Seth is afraid Evan would be better off without him.

Evan’s whole world has been turned upside-down by the dangerous stranger who saved his life. Evan made a split-second decision and teamed up with Seth when just days ago, he didn’t even believe magic was real. Now Evan’s worried that he might not be able to hold his own, but he’s determined to have Seth’s back. He’s sure of only one thing—his love for Seth.

If they’re going to survive, they need to learn to fight like a team. And if they’re going to make it as a couple, they need time to heal old wounds, confess secrets and fears, and risk trusting each other—body and soul.

Burn is a supernatural, learning-to-trust-again thrill ride packed with hurt/comfort, deadly magic, immortal witches, determined hunters, creepy ghosts, scary monsters, true love, impressive explosions, spooky chills and sexy thrills.

***

BOOK 3

Book Title: Dark Rivers: MM Supernatural Romance Adventure

Length:  238 pages

Release Date: October 23, 2018

Themes: Evolving established relationship, acceptance of differences, healing, learning to trust, letting go of the past, dealing with old betrayals, learning to work as a team

Trigger warning for mention of past abusive relationship and dealing with a stalker

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If the skills they possess aren’t enough to protect them and their bond can’t keep them together, the ancient evil will remain unchallenged, and more people will die...

Blurb 

Seth Tanner and Evan Malone are learning to navigate their new partnership—as lovers and as monster hunters—while hot on the trail of a coven of dark warlocks. Seth has never been in love like this before, consumed by white-hot passion and willing to risk his life to protect Evan. His quest to avenge his brother’s murder used to be an obsession, one he was willing to die for. Now, Seth worries that his reckless pursuit of vengeance might get Evan—or both of them—killed. But he can’t walk away—the witches’ century-long killing spree has to stop. Seth prays that both he and Evan make it alive and together to the finish line, when the fight is done.

Evan’s normal world turned upside-down the night a dangerous stranger rescued him from being sacrificed in a bloody ritual. Now he knows that magic and monsters are real, legends and lore are true, and fighting for his life has become an everyday event. He’s learned to hold his own. But when a vengeful ex-lover stalks him while they’re on a case, Evan has to confront his past and confess an ugly truth. His love for Seth had been strong enough to get them this far, but he fears that the stalker or the warlock could tear them apart forever.

If the skills they possess aren’t enough to protect them and their bond can’t keep them together, the ancient evil will remain unchallenged, and more people will die...

Dark Rivers is a supernatural, daring-to-love-again thrill ride packed with hurt/comfort, deadly magic, immortal witches, determined hunters, creepy ghosts, haunted houses, a developing established relationship, impressive explosions, spooky chills and sexy thrills.

***

BOOK 4

Book Title: Flame and Ash: MM Supernatural Romance Adventure

Length:  208 pages

Release Date: September 5, 2019

Themes: Evolving established relationship, acceptance of differences, healing, learning to trust, letting go of the past, dealing with old betrayals, learning to ask for help, facing old fears

Goodreads

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When their lives are on the line, will love be enough?

Blurb 

The hunters become the hunted. When their lives are on the line, will love be enough? Seth Tanner and Evan Malone are hot on the track of a coven of dark witches responsible for a century of ritual murders. Seth saved Evan’s life, and Evan joined him on the road, getting a crash course on magic and the supernatural, learning how to fight and hunt. Seth worries that Evan’s going to get hurt, or that he’ll realize this crazy, dangerous life isn’t for him—and break Seth’s heart.

Evan Malone has fallen head over heels for Seth, despite the danger and chaos. Their relationship is new, their emotions are raw, and every hunt could be their last. Evan wants to prove that he’s committed to their relationship, despite the rushed and rocky beginning. He’s pushing himself to learn new skills so he can have Seth’s back—and his biggest fear is that Seth might get hurt because Evan isn’t good enough.

Their next hunt takes them to the Blue Ridge Mountains, but this time, the dark witch knows they’re coming—and has plans of his own. Then Seth vanishes, and everything Evan has learned and his belief in their bond as lovers is put to the test. 

He’s got to prove he’s up to the challenge and Seth’s faith in him, before the whole situation goes up in flames and leaves nothing but ash.

Flame and Ash is a fast-paced supernatural thrill ride packed with hurt/comfort, deadly magic, immortal witches, determined hunters, creepy ghosts, haunted tunnels, a developing established relationship, impressive explosions, spooky chills and sexy thrills.

***

BOOK 5

Book Title: Unholy: MM Supernatural Romance Adventure

Length:  224 pages

Release Date: February 5, 2020

Themes: Evolving established relationship, acceptance of differences, healing, learning to trust, letting go of the past, dealing with old betrayals, learning to ask for help, facing old fears.

Goodreads

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A deadly curse on Seth and Evan means time is running out. Can they find a way to turn the tables, or is Charleston their final destination?

Blurb 

A deadly curse on Seth and Evan means time is running out. Can they find a way to turn the tables, or is Charleston their final destination? Seth Tanner swore vengeance on the dark coven that killed his brother, Jesse. He rescued Evan Malone from one of the witches, and they’ve fallen in love despite the danger and chaos, going on the road to end the cycle of ritual murders. Their relationship is still new, tested at every turn by danger and magic.

Seth and Evan head to Charleston to stop the next warlock and save his intended victim. But this time, they’re too late. The warlock has already powered up, and he’s determined to destroy the two hunters one way or another.

Unholy is a thrill-packed urban fantasy MM paranormal romance with plenty of supernatural suspense, hurt/comfort, passion, found family, and dark magic, and features an evolving, established romantic relationship with all the feels. 

Excerpt from The Devil You Know

We just might die tonight, and it won’t even be monsters that kill us.

Seth Tanner hunched low over the handlebars of his black Hayabusa motorcycle and urged the roaring engine to eke out a bit more speed.

Behind him, his partner Evan Malone wrapped his arms tight around Seth’s midsection and tucked his helmet against Seth’s shoulder blades.

The rev of a truck close behind them told Seth their pursuers weren’t ready to give up. Then a shot fired, changing the whole game.

“Fuck,” Seth muttered and wove from one side of the lane to the other, desperate to keep the goons from getting a clear shot.

The gunman fired a second time and a third. Seth’s luck wasn’t going to last forever, and then one of the bullets would hit Evan, the bike, or him. Seth had a good idea who had hired the hitmen, and he doubted they showed up on a dark Ohio road just to send a warning.

A light ahead drew Seth’s attention, and he skidded into the gravel lot of a cinder block roadhouse. Neon beer signs cast a crimson glow that attracted a row of pickups and Harleys. Red paint on white walls proclaimed it to be Charley’s Place.

I’ll take my chances on a bar fight over being shot in the back.

The charcoal Ford truck chasing them never slowed, rumbling past the bar too fast for Seth to get a good look, and then it was gone, swallowed by the night.

He faced the motorcycle toward the road, sheltered between a beat-up green F-150 and a red Silverado with a gun rack in the back window. Seth felt sure that he and Evan would be no more welcome inside than they’d been with the guys who chased them, so when their attackers didn’t return, Seth hit the gas and headed back the way they came.

His heart didn’t stop pounding until he slowed at the entrance to the campground where they had parked their RV. While it wasn’t late, Seth was hyper-aware of the rumble of the motorcycle’s engine, not wanting to draw attention. When they pulled up in front of their site, he breathed a sigh of relief.

“Doesn’t look like anyone’s been here,” he said to Evan as he climbed off the bike and secured it. His body still hummed with adrenaline, and Seth scanned the area for danger as Evan followed him to the RV’s door.

Locks and security alarm aside, the fifth-wheeler and black pickup that towed it were also protected by magical wardings, courtesy of friends with supernatural abilities. The protections recognized Seth and Evan but were designed to keep out intruders.

Seth turned on the lights and gasped when he saw the blood on Evan’s jacket and realized his boyfriend was leaning heavily against the wall.

“You’re hit.” Seth helped Evan to sit at the table and went to fetch their medic kit.

About the Author

Morgan Brice is the romance pen name of bestselling author Gail Z. Martin. Morgan writes urban fantasy male/male paranormal romance, with plenty of action, adventure and supernatural thrills to go with the happily ever after. Gail writes epic fantasy and urban fantasy, and together with co-author hubby Larry N. Martin, steampunk and comedic horror, all of which have less romance, more explosions. Characters from her Gail books make frequent appearances in secondary roles in her Morgan books, and vice versa.

On the rare occasions Morgan isn’t writing, she’s either reading, cooking, or spoiling two very pampered dogs.

Series include Witchbane, Badlands, Treasure Trail, Kings of the Mountain and Fox Hollow. Watch for more in these series, plus new series coming soon!

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Release Blitz: Heart of Stone (Juxtan #6) by Tricia Owens

Author Tricia Owens and Gay Book Promotions share info on the latest release in the fantasy series, Heart of Stone (Juxtan #6)! Read more about it!
 

RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title:  Heart of Stone (Juxtan 6)

Author: Tricia Owens

Cover Artist: Tricia Owens

Release Date: February 4, 2022

Genre: Fantasy M/M Romance

Tropes: Enemies to lovers

Themes: Redemption

Heat Rating: 5 flames   

Length: 60 000 words/285 pages

It is book 6 in the Juxtan series.

The story does not  end on a cliffhanger.

Goodreads - Juxtan series

Buy Links - Available in Kindle Unlimited

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Love can move mountains

Blurb 

Hadrian and his friends may have survived the encounter with Theon, but they paid a heavy price in the end. They need time to heal, both physically and emotionally. Unexpectedly, while recuperating in a small mountain town, they encounter the most powerful man in the land, who offers them protection and much-needed medical aid. The timing is fortuitous, but what secrets does this mountain palace hold? Is it truly a refuge, or is it soon to become their stone prison?

Excerpt 

"My tongue wants to be inside your arse," Caled whispered hotly.

"What?!" Hadrian looked around, panicked. "Stop it. Don't say another word." He pushed blindly through the street, trying to put the mercenary behind him but Caled hounded him like a shadow.

Fingers brushed the hair off the back of his neck and were quickly replaced by soft, warm lips. Hadrian moaned and struggled to keep walking, ignoring the few curious looks they garnered.

"You're causing a—scene," he warned, squirming beneath Caled's kisses.

A hand caught his shoulder and spun him around. Hadrian stumbled, but only fell back against the wall of a nearby building. Caled immediately loomed over him, both hands planted on either side of Hadrian's head.

"I want you." The mercenary’s blue eyes were the color of the edge of night. He wedged his thigh between Hadrian's and pushed it against his crotch. "I want you in every manner I can have you."

Hadrian clutched the other man's shoulders, wanting to push him away in shock, but unable to loosen his fingers. Caled’s passion was infectious.

But at the back of Hadrian’s mind a voice questioned the mercenary’s overwhelming ardor. Why would it spring up now, in the middle of the afternoon on a crowded street?

“Where did you go this morning?” he asked.

Caled paused only for a moment before resuming his slow rub between Hadrian’s legs. “Doesn’t matter. Nothing matters now except getting us naked.”

Hadrian straightened his arms, moving Caled back. “Please don’t lie to me. I need to trust you.”

Pain flitted across Caled’s features before he looked away. “I was looking for something.”

“What?”

A muscle rippled in Caled’s jaw. “A gift. For you.”

“For me? But why—” Hadrian caught himself.

Until now he’d not wanted to acknowledge the change he’d sensed in Caled. It was a softening. No, it was a soft spot within the mercenary that the man was evidently terrified of recognizing within himself. Hadrian could trace its formation—the night they believed Gam and Lio had been killed.

“I’m not going anywhere,” Hadrian told him. He cupped a cheek that sparkled with golden stubble. “Not ever.”

Caled shifted his weight from foot to foot, unusually restless. “I didn’t think you were.”

“I don’t require a gift to stay by your side.”

He frowned. “That’s not why I wanted to give you one.”

Hadrian leaned up and lightly touched his lips to the older man’s. “I know that you love me, Caledon ni Agthon.”

The mercenary closed his eyes and held Hadrian’s gloved hand to his cheek. “No. Don’t use that name,” he whispered. “Not until it’s over. I can’t be that man until then.”

Hadrian kissed him again. “You will always be the man I fell in love with, then and now. Deep down, you haven’t changed at all. That’s why I’ll never leave you.”

“You can’t leave me, Hades.”

The soft entreaty stabbed Hadrian through the heart. “I’d be a fool to do so. Are you calling me a fool?”

A smile curved Caled’s lips before he opened his eyes again. "Not a fool. Perfect. Sweet and delicious." He took the initiative to brush his lips over Hadrian's. "Which is why I must taste you this instant."

About the Author 

Tricia Owens has been writing m/m fiction since 2000, after stumbling onto the term ‘slash’ and thinking it referred to horror stories. She is the author of the Sin City, A Pirate’s Life for Me, and Juxtapose City series, among several others. She lives in Las Vegas.

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Review: Devil's Dance (Rebel Kings MC #1) by Garrett Leigh

Opposites attract. The outlaw biker and the accountant. Straightlaced vs straight to hell. Or heaven, depending on how you look at it.

And you can look at it any way you like, doesn’t mean it’s true. Either way, falling for snarky Alexei Ivanov is the lightbulb moment I’ve been waiting for my whole damn life. Or at least since my head got turned by someone else. A man I call brother, but he's so much more than that.

I’ve loved Saint Malone for years. My loyal wingman has owned my heart so long I figured it had died of yearning for him. But Saint is as fragile as he is deadly. I don’t know how to help him until Alexei brings me to life in ways I can’t describe.

He opens my eyes, and I see them both.

I love them both.

With the weight of the underworld bearing down on me, I just gotta stay alive long enough to tell them.

Devil’s Dance is the first in a hurt/comfort, dark romance, MMM duet from the world of the Rebel Kings MC. Expect: tattoos and leather, an enigmatic Russian hitman, and dark and dirty themes.

*Trigger warnings: childhood abuse, sex work, graphic violence, death.



Cam finds himself between two men - the man he’s pined after for years but can’t have, and the man who was supposed to be a one night stand but that he can’t stop thinking about. On top of it all, rivals are threatening his territory and his MC family.

It’s been a while since I read an MC book. It was interesting to see the politics and interpersonal dynamics play out. And of course, that extra rough and wild adds some fun to the mix.

Cam was easy to understand and to root for - he’s dedicated to his club, their dependents, and building legitimate above-board operations. The occasional throwdowns with rivals notwithstanding.

Alexei’s the mysterious dangerous type, so his story is only revealed gradually. But underneath that sharp exterior, he’s vulnerable and fiercely protective.

Both men are used to going it alone, that is until one night together changes everything. They’re smitten, and want more.

I really liked their dynamic - neither wanting or planning for it, but unable to stay away from each other. Alexei and Cam end up needing each other, and revealing parts of themselves that they’d kept buried.

Also the sex - hot, hot, hot. Grade A material.

The other man in this story is Saint - Cam’s long-time friend and his most trusted wingman in the MC. Cam and Saint have skirted around their longing for each other for years, neither ever making a move.

From the moment Alexei and Saint meet, they prioritize looking after Cam together. And along the way, they even find themselves drawn to each other.

The three men, and their bond, are tested when shit hits the fan and puts the MC in direct danger. The action livened up the pace of the story.

Where things hit a snag for me was how little relationship development there was. Alexei and Cam jump to love pretty quickly, while we get the bare minimum on Saint and Cam’s backstory.

I was definitely rooting for the three and happy to see them coming together, but the why and how just wasn’t fully there. Maybe that will come in the next book.

In any case, I’m hooked enough to read on! Recommended if you’re looking for a gritty MMM book with interesting characters and a fun action plot.


A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.


Release Blitz + Giveaway: The Ballot Boy by Larry Mellman


 Author Larry Mellman and IndiGo Marketing share new historical YA fiction, The Ballot Boy! travel to 14th century Venice with this book! Enter in the NineStar Press credit giveaway!

Title: The Ballot Boy

Author: Larry Mellman

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 02/15/2022

Heat Level: 2 - Fade to Black Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 85300

Genre: Historical, LGBTQIA+, YA, historical, lit/genre fiction, gay, coming out, 14th century Venice, political rulers, political intrigue and plotting, wartime action and adventure, sexual longing, family drama, betrayal, bullying

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Description

Venice, 1368.

War hovers in the wings with the fate of the Republic at stake when the old doge dies. Fourteen-year-old Nico, a street urchin from the poorest Venetian parish, is chosen at random to tally votes in the upcoming election for a new leader. Uprooted from his old life and transplanted to the doge’s palace, Nico becomes an alienated outsider at the mercy of scheming nobles.

Andrea Contarini, sixtieth doge of Venice, wants the ducal throne less than Nico wants to be ballot boy. Both walk a golden tightrope over treachery and deceit. When he witnesses a court clerk burned at the stake for being gay, Nico despairs. His romantic attraction to men is as powerful as his fear of fiery death and an eternity in Hell.

Taking advantage of the fraught transition in the Doge’s Palace, the hostile duke of Austria pushes Trieste to rebel against Venetian domination, jeopardizing her mastery of the Adriatic Sea. The Venetian nobles split, trapping the doge between hawks rabid for war, and rich merchants desperate for peace. With his own life on the line, Andrea Contarini opts to attack decisively and end the crisis swiftly, but his gambit is sabotaged. Trusting only the boy at his side, Contarini sends Nico to Trieste to be his eyes and ears. As the Venetian commanders wrangle over tactics, Nico falls for Astolfo, the young, charismatic lord of Castle Mocc√≤, an indispensable but unreliable ally.

Will Nico return to Venice a celebrated hero? Or will he be forever haunted, guilt-ridden, and still concealing his deepest secret?

Excerpt

I’m running as fast as I can, but I can’t catch the thief. If I don’t, Alex’s life is over. The necklace the thief snatched from my hand gives away the game. Alex will be exposed. Locked up. Maybe even killed because Alex’s father, Francesco Barbanegra, has the temper and manners of a pirate. Alex’s family is rich. Very, very rich. Richer than most nobles. But they are common, like my family, which consists of my mother, who takes in laundry. She gets paid in pennies. I understand why she wants me to be ballot boy, but that’s her dream not mine. I don’t want to be ballot boy. I want to be me, whoever that is.

Only heartbeats ago, Alex and I had moored our boat to the wharf and staggered ashore, covered with mud. When Alex took off the necklace to give me—the gold dolphin on its golden chain, ruby eye glinting in the early light—the thief burst from the shed, yanked it from my hand, and took off like a demon down the deserted embankment.

“Go home,” I shouted to Alex over my shoulder, “before it’s too late,” and I tore after the thief.

The dolphin is fatal. If the thief tries to sell it at a Rialto pawnshop, the whole world will know. I can’t risk it.

Our feet slap on the mud, startling a flock of ducks. They flap their wings, burst up from the salt marsh, and take to the icy winter sky.

The thief is taller than most Venetians, with long spindly legs, no shoes, and a striped turban. He doesn’t look down; he doesn’t look back. He barrels down the embankment in the direction of the Customs House. My legs are a foot shorter than his, his stride worth two of mine. I suck air like I’m drowning and exhale prayers like I’m dying.

Queen of Heaven, hear my pleas. St. Nicholas, grant me thine aid.

When I manage to close the gap between us, he speeds up. No matter how fast I’m going, he goes faster. He clutches the gold chain in his fist, the dolphin dangling free, its ruby eye sparkling.

That dolphin is a pledge of brotherhood between Alex and me, the seal on our secrets, and a promise that I won’t be selected ballot boy because if I am, last night was our final meeting, maybe forever.

“Please, Nico.” Alex’s eyes had implored me, and I could never refuse. “You’ve been on the sea many times. I’m thirteen years old, and my father owns great galleys, but I’ve never seen the sea. This could be my last chance.”

“It’s not your last chance.”

“If you’re selected, it is.”

“Look at me. Do you think Ruggiero Gradenigo would pick me? I look like a muddy clown.”

“Anything can happen.”

Alex’s pleading eyes broke me every time.

Stars filled the sky, and the moon, hovering high above the mountains beyond the lagoon, sprinkled diamonds over the water. I’d been explaining the lagoon to Alex, showing off, I guess, paying no attention to the tide. I didn’t notice the moon pulling the lagoon out from under us until stranded fish danced a desperate tarantella on the exposed sandbars. A mile of mud separated us from the beacon fire atop St. Mark’s campanile. We jumped from the boat and sank up to our knees. We couldn’t walk, nor could we reach the shore until the morning tide swept back in and filled the lagoon. Alex would never get home without being discovered; I would never be in St. Mark’s Square in time for the selection, and my mother would kill me.

I breathe in, out, in, out, in, out, pushing myself harder and harder until I hit a wall and explode and pick myself up and keep going until it happens all over again. The thief took one look at the stupid costume Mama had sewn me for selection day, all torn and wet and muddy, and he must have figured me for a drunk noble, a pushover. Mama is convinced the costume will make Ruggiero Gradenigo select me. She believes in magic. Her eye is on the prize.

He’s waiting for me to collapse, this thief. He’s making a big mistake. He doesn’t know that every day since I turned eight, six years now, I row across the lagoon and back before the midmorning bells, and I will kill him if I have to.

He makes a move to outrun me on the straightaway in front of the old shipyard. We pound over rough planks, wobbly pontoons, and a muddy bog tangled with bramble. I’m glad he’s barefoot. It must hurt like hell. He can hear my sandals slapping the ground.

The buildings crowd close along the levee. The bogs and brambles disappear under wooden docks and wharves. Merchant galleys and cogs are moored all the way to the Customs House. The ground tapers to a point where the Giudecca Canal meets the Grand Canal. Keeping running and your turban floats.

He hasn’t lost me, so he squeezes between buildings with barely a foot between them, and I follow, the mortar between the bricks shredding my tunic.

The big bell at St. Mark’s, the Marangona, starts tolling to summon the Great Council to pray for God’s grace on the election of the doge. All 1,200 nobles are members of the Great Council. Their names are inscribed in the Golden Book. After Mass, Ruggiero Gradenigo, the youngest member of the Great Council, will walk out of the church, onto St. Mark’s Square, and pick the first commoner he lays eyes on, age fifteen or less, to be the ballot boy. That’s the law. The old doge is dead, and we can’t elect a new one until a ballot boy is selected at random to count the votes and make sure the nobles don’t cheat.

I squeeze out of the crawlspace and glimpse the thief’s turban disappearing down a dark lane the sun never reaches. Several lanes lead into this small square; all but one dead end at the water. He doesn’t know where he’s going and probably doesn’t care as long as he stays ahead of me. He’s as desperate as I am. My heart beats a battle tocsin.

I struggle to master my breath as Abdul taught me. I’m dog-tired from fighting the moon, the tide, the mud. Sweat floods my face. The salt burns my eyes. I wipe them with my muddy sleeve, squeeze them shut, and listen. This quarter is silent. Everyone is at St. Mark’s for the selection.

The thief’s bare feet, bloodied from running the embankment, leave a trail winding through a labyrinth that will lead him back to me. That’s how Venice is. Outsiders always go in circles, even we do occasionally outside our home parish.

The old doge died last week. He didn’t last very long; he was eighty-two when they elected him back in 1365. That’s old even for a doge. I was twelve then. Mama knew I was going to be selected his ballot boy. She’d worked it all out with the Blessed Virgin and St. Mark. She took to bed for a week when I wasn’t selected, but she never gave up. She started praying for the new doge to die before my fifteenth birthday. I heard her, every night. First, she prayed forgiveness for wanting him dead. Then, she begged heaven for him to die. Now, she believes a miracle has happened. I’m going to be ballot boy. She knows. The Virgin interceded.

If I’m not in front of St. Mark’s when Ruggiero Gradenigo selects the ballot boy, I will be dead to her. She will curse me for spoiling her miracle.

The thief backs into the little square. He doesn’t see me. He sees a glint of sun on water at the end of a narrow chasm of brick. He takes off toward the water, and I get there first, waiting, as he staggers onto the wharf. On the opposite bank, mothers and their sons clog St. Mark’s Square, tricked out like piglets at the Ascension Day fair, each one praying for the job I don’t want.

The thief ducks between the pilings of the empty ferry dock. None of the ferries, trapped on the water, can move for all the other boats. Nobody is going anywhere. Every eye will remain on the Doge’s Palace until a new doge is elected. Venice is the richest city of all; the stakes are high. Mama says anything can happen.

I charge, pin the thief against a striped pole stuck in the Grand Canal, and grab for the dolphin in his hand. But he twists free and hurls himself off the dock, crashing into a boat below. The boat rocks wildly, the passengers scream, he steadies himself. Before anyone knows what’s happening, he leaps into the next boat, and the next, and the next. As fast as he can, he bounds across St. Mark’s Basin toward the twin columns at the water’s edge framing the Doge’s Palace, St. Mark’s Church, and the greatest square in the world. Executions and burnings take place between the columns, and walking between them brings a curse upon your head, which is why we call them the Columns of Doom. I saw a murderer executed there when I was seven. They chopped off his hand first, in San Barnaba Square, where he’d killed someone, strung his hand around his neck, and rowed him back here. They hung him, quartered him, and left the pieces out to dry here between the columns.

I jump from boat to boat to boat after the thief. People squawk, but I’m out as fast as I’m in, never stopping, my eye always on his bobbing turban. He scrambles up between the columns and pushes his way toward St. Mark’s Square through the bodies packing the Piazzetta.

The church doors aren’t open yet. The thief towers above the mothers and sons, his turban threading through the Piazzetta toward the church. Arsenal men in leather armor hold the crowd back, creating some space for Ruggiero Gradenigo to come out and pick. Mothers fight for places directly in front of the church.

The big bell tolls.

Mass is finished. The crowd surges forward, a wave of anticipation silencing them. The stones beneath our feet vibrate with the wild clangor of bells.

He made a big mistake, and now he sees just how big. Bodies block him on all sides. I elbow my way through the crush as the church doors swing open. The crowd gasps. Out of the corner of my eye, I see Mama desperately looking for me. She’s furious I’m not up-front and center with her.

I leapfrog a tangled knot of eight-year-olds and their mothers, grasping for the thief’s throat. He panics and hurls the dolphin over the crowd. I vault, twist, and grab the dolphin out of the air by its chain. I can’t land on my feet. I come down sideways, rolling over bodies onto the cleared pavement. The guards can’t stop me.

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NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

Larry was born in Los Angeles and educated in literature, political science, and life at the University of California, Berkeley. He has worked as a printer and journalist in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, and St. Paul, Minnesota. Larry also worked with Andy Warhol and the Velvet Underground on the Exploding Plastic Inevitable in NY, Provincetown, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, was mentored by Dean Koontz, and shared a palazzo in Venice with international opera singers Erika Sunneg√•rdh and Mark Doss.”

While living in Venice for many years, Larry also taught English, led tours, and immersed himself in the history and art of the Venetian Republic. The Ballot Boy was born in Venice and completed in St. Paul.

Larry is a lifelong social activist and writer, a voracious reader and researcher, an opera fanatic, and devoted walker. He currently lives in St. Paul with his partner of twenty-one years and his ex-wife of twenty-five years. His son is a pianist devoted to blues and jazz.

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