Release Blitz + Giveaway: Cold Blood (Bound to the Spirits #2) by T. Strange

Author T. Strange and Pride Publishing share new paranormal erotic thriller, Cold Blood (Bound to the Spirits #2)! Read more and enter in the First Romance gift card giveaway!

Cold Blood by T. Strange

Book 2 in the Bound to the Spirits series

Word Count: 86,043
Book Length: SUPER NOVEL
Pages: 350



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Book Description

Ghost wards are failing. Mediums are vanishing. Someone—or something—is stirringup the ghosts of Toronto. It’s up to psychic medium Harlan Brand to find out why.

After defeating a serial killer who could control ghosts, psychic medium Harlan Brand is feeling much more confident in his abilities working for the Toronto Police Service with his partner, Hamilton, as they protect the city from dangerous spirits.

He is expanding his social circle, however reluctantly, to include the other police mediums and Morgan Vermeer, another graduate from the Centre—a school for training psychic children.

Harlan and his boyfriend, Charles Moore, are continuing to explore BDSM, their relationship and Charles’ strange ability to shield people from ghosts.

Hoping to find answers about Charles’ power and the serial killer, Harlan returns to the Centre only to find that one of its ghost wards—magical symbols that spirits can’t cross—is broken, and it’s a mystery as to how and why.

The calm and order that Harlan has been building up in his life are shattered when wards start failing across the city and mediums begin to disappear, including one of his new friends and a student from the Centre.

Someone—or something—is stirring up the ghosts of Toronto.

Reader advisory: This book contains scenes of violence and murder. It is best read as part of a series.


Hamilton sighed as he lowered himself into the driver’s seat of their police cruiser, settling in much more heavily than usual. “Matthew wants to meet you.”

Harlan was relieved that he was already struggling with his seatbelt. It gave him a moment to think about what Hamilton had just said.

Matthew? Do I know a Matthew? Hamilton’s—and, by extension, Harlan’s—sergeant was named Matthews, but Harlan had already met her.

The seatbelt clicked into place. He was out of time.

Hamilton sighed again, this time with an edge of laughter. “Matthew is my…” He mumbled something Harlan couldn’t make out. “You haven’t met him,” he added in his regular speaking voice.

Harlan waited, hoping Hamilton would elaborate, repeat himself or that the words would finally click into place as he ran them over and over in his mind.

Silence. Silence that he had to break if he was going to get anything else.

“Sorry… I didn’t quite—”

“Boyfriend!” Too loud this time, loud and sudden enough that it startled Harlan. “Matthew is my boyfriend. He wants to meet you.” Hamilton slid his gaze over to Harlan, a sly smile on his thin lips. “You can say no,” he added, making it clear he would prefer that.

Harlan would prefer that as well, so it worked out nicely.

Before Harlan could assure him that he was, of course, in complete agreement, Hamilton shook his head and sighed for a third time that morning. “Nah, I think we’re past that. At this point, it would just be a delaying tactic. He’s made up his mind.”

Harlan glanced sideways at Hamilton. Is Hamilton actually blushing? He hadn’t thought Hamilton was physically capable of doing that, never mind imagined that it might actually happen.

“And I’ve met your boyfriend,” Hamilton shot back, even though Harlan hadn’t spoken.

Technically true, but they hadn’t exactly met over dinner or another social event. Did life-and-death situations count more or less than sitting down for a meal together?

“And, by the way”—the blush Harlan had probably imagined was gone, and Hamilton was definitely smirking now—”I knew I recognized him from somewhere.”

Shit. Harlan had been dreading this conversation, hoping it wouldn’t happen. He’d hoped that Hamilton wouldn’t connect Charles, Harlan’s ghost-repelling boyfriend, to Mr. Moore, owner of Rattling Chains, a formerly haunted BDSM club. Apparently, that had been too much to ask for.

Hamilton opened his mouth, started to say something then seemed to reconsider when he saw Harlan’s pained expression. “I’m glad you’ve got someone,” he said, just as gruffly as usual, but with a hint of genuine fondness and even warmth. “You don’t have a lot of people.” He looked away while he took a left-hand turn, then laughed. “Of course you’d meet someone on the job.”

Harlan looked down at his lap. Yeah. It was pretty pathetic. Sure, he’d started going to the occasional police-medium group—basically a coffee klatch, not everyone sitting in a circle sharing their feelings the way he’d been dreading—but that was still connected to the police. He hadn’t even realized that Charles had the same connection. Fuck. Somehow, without realizing it, he’d become one of those adults who only lived for his job.

He blinked. Maybe it isn’t just me.

“What does Matthew do?” he asked, fully expecting he already knew the answer.

He was wrong.

“He’s an advertising consultant.” Hamilton shrugged. “I don’t know what that means, either.” He paused, then added, as though he’d read Harlan’s mind—more likely his expression—“I did meet him through a case, though.”

Harlan wasn’t sure if that made him feel better or worse. He didn’t know exactly how old Hamilton was, but he guessed his police partner was at least a few years older than he was. Was that what he had to look forward to—all his personal connections coming from his work for the rest of his life? He wasn’t sure why it bothered him, but it did. Maybe it was like that for everyone, and he just didn’t know—not that there was anyone he could ask.

Maybe Charles… He’d met a few of Charles’ friends, more or less in passing. He certainly hadn’t sat down and had dinner with any of them, the way Hamilton seemed to be proposing that he do with Matthew. He’d always assumed it was because he and Charles were still fairly new as a couple and—knowing Harlan—Charles hadn’t wanted to overwhelm him with a bunch of people all at once—but maybe he’d been wrong. Maybe he just didn’t want to introduce Harlan to anyone else in his life.

Knowing he was starting to spiral, he was relieved when Hamilton continued.

“I told him you don’t do phone calls and you wouldn’t want to text someone you don’t know”—Wow, Hamilton really will make a great detective one day—“so you can just let me know when you decide. Here.” He fished a piece of paper out of his breast pocket and handed it to Harlan. “This is Matthew’s number so you can give it to Charles. He’s invited too, if he’d like.” His smirk was back. “I think he still has a choice, unlike you.”

“Where are we going today?” Normally Hamilton didn’t tell him, and he didn’t ask, but it was the only change of topic Harlan could think of. “Is it another one of Samuel’s ghosts?” Killing the warped medium and serial killer Samuel Harkness had released most of the spirits under his control, but even eight months later they were still finding stragglers, like the ones that had led Harlan to their killer in the first place.

Interestingly, Harlan and Hamilton had found—and freed—almost three times as many wanderers as the other three medium pairs put together. It was as if even though he’d never met them, these spirits felt a connection to him for killing the man who had been controlling them.

This part of the job was a lot less glamorous when the ghosts they worked with weren’t leading him to a serial killer.

Kid,” Hamilton had laughed after a sweaty, dusty and frustrated Harlan had snapped something along those lines after a very long, hot day crammed in the crawlspace of an old house, trying to coax an especially nervous ghost close enough for him to either grab or calm it down enough for it to cross over on its own, “that’s the job. It’s not bringing down bad guys and epic showdowns. It’s…this. Hey, you’ve got a cobweb on your face.”

Harlan couldn’t help feeling that he’d peaked too soon, experienced more police-medium excitement than most of his colleagues got in a lifetime.

Crucially, he’d survived. Most police mediums didn’t live long enough to retire.

He still liked his job and found it fulfilling, rewarding and blah blah, but he couldn’t help feeling a little…let down. Restless, maybe. Not that he wanted to face anything like Samuel ever again! But…something. Something more than finding ghost, freeing ghost, next. Day in, day out, week after week. Just a little.

“Nah. Well—not as far as I know,” Hamilton amended. “Though apparently this is kinda a weird one.”

Harlan couldn’t help brightening, sitting forward in his seat a little. In light of what he’d been thinking, ‘weird’ was good. “Really?”

“Yeah, yeah, keep it in your pants.” Hamilton laughed.

“You gonna tell me or is it gonna be a surprise?” Even a few months ago Harlan wouldn’t have dared ask for information about the scene they were going to, and he certainly wouldn’t have expected an answer.

Now, it was almost like a game between the two of them—if Harlan really wanted to know, Hamilton would tell him, and if Hamilton really wanted to keep him in the dark until they got there—and Harlan was beginning to think that, sometimes at least, walking in without any preconceptions was helpful—he wouldn’t. And, occasionally, Hamilton himself knew very little or nothing about the haunting situation. Harlan was starting to suspect that was one of the reasons Hamilton hadn’t filled Harlan in ahead of time in the past. Hamilton didn’t like admitting when he didn’t know something.

“Mmm, this time I think I’ll let you see for yourself. Besides, we’re almost there.” Hamilton pulled up beside a record store, one of those hipster places that had been popping up in the most gentrified parts of the city. He got out, coming around the other side of the car and opening Harlan’s door when he didn’t get out immediately.

Harlan stepped onto the sidewalk to take a better look around. Hauntings—the ones not related to violent crime, which he doubted was the case here—tended to be in residential buildings. People died where they lived, not where they bought vinyl.

He glanced across the street—more shops, and they didn’t look like they had apartments over them. Neither did the record store or the others around it.

“There’s a haunting here?”

“I can double-check the address if you’d like,” Hamilton offered, smirking a little.

“No. That’s fine.” As far as Harlan knew, Hamilton had never got an address wrong.

Maybe the dispatcher had been wrong?

A young white man stepped out of the shop, waving at them. “Are you with the Graveyard Crew?”

It was a nickname for Toronto police mediums that Harlan didn’t really like—and, by the look on Hamilton’s face, he didn’t care for it either.

Hamilton pointedly glanced down at his uniform and badge. “We’re with the police.”

“Oh, good! C’mon in. We’ve been expecting you.” He turned and disappeared into the shop.

Harlan shot Hamilton a questioning glance.

Hamilton shrugged one shoulder, extending a hand to say after you.

He was suddenly hit by a barrage of noise—apparently the door was surprisingly soundproof. Harlan always thought the music in these types of places sounded bad, but this was bad.

Hamilton, never one to fuck around, headed straight to the man who’d welcomed them. “Can you turn the music down? Or off, maybe?” He had to raise his voice to be heard over the din.

The man shook his head. “No! That’s the problem.” He didn’t have Hamilton’s loud ‘cop voice’ and he was practically screaming.

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About the Author

T. Strange

T. Strange didn't want to learn how to read, but literacy prevailed and she hasn't stopped reading—or writing—since. She's been published since 2013, and she writes M/M romance in multiple genres, including paranormal and BDSM. T.'s other interests include cross stitching, gardening, watching terrible horror movies, playing video games, and finding injured pigeons to rescue. Originally from White Rock, BC, she lives on the Canadian prairies, where she shares her home with her wife, cats, guinea pigs and other creatures of all shapes and sizes. She's very easy to bribe with free food and drinks—especially wine. 

Find T. Strange on Instagram.  


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Release Blitz + Giveaway: Bi-Furious by Chelsi Robichaud

 Author Chelsi Robichaud and IndiGo Marketing share new LGBTQIA+ contemporary romance, Bi-Furious! Read more and enter in the NineStar Press credit giveaway!

Title: Bi-Furious

Author: Chelsi Robichaud

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 03/08/2022

Heat Level: 3 - Some Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 76200

Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQIA+, Contemporary, romance, bisexual, coming out, illustrator, office romance, comic convention, stalking, cyber-bullying, biphobia, forced outing

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Jess, a young artist, has spent her entire life thinking she was straight. That is, until her long-term boyfriend leaves her for someone else. Single for the first time in years, Jess has time to think about what it is she really wants. And to express that, she paints a portrait of two women embracing. The painting goes viral overnight, and she gets approached by her favorite lesbian illustrator, Lily. The two become fast friends, but there’s one problem: Lily doesn’t know that Jess is straight. The more they talk, the more Jess starts to question her sexuality.

Once she realizes she is bisexual, Jess has to decide what she values more: the safety that heterosexual relationships afford her, or a real connection with someone she truly likes. As her infatuation for Lily grows, Jess has to make the difficult choice between keeping things as they are or accepting the risks that come with being openly bisexual.

Some of those risks involve being the target of cyber-bullying. Although Jess’ friends are happy for her, the Internet is not. One particularly spiteful fan does her best to ruin their relationship. It is up to Jess to find it within herself to reject the online harassment and inner doubts and embrace her new-found identity.


Chelsi Robichaud © 2022
All Rights Reserved

It’s over between us, he wrote. I’ve fallen in love with her.

And that was it. It was all over. Well, not everything was over. I still had my job, after all. Not all was lost, but the relationship was clearly and irrevocably damaged beyond repair. I didn’t even bother to try to fight his choice to end it or beg him to reconsider or debase myself in any way really.

I had found out about Mélodie, the other woman, a few days ago. We had been talking it out. I had been willing to let it slide, if he was willing to let her go. It seemed he had decided she was worth it more than me.

Okay, I wrote back, as if I were whispering it. I felt weak. Part of me had known the breakup was coming. But at the same time, I was furious. How could he have dared to do this? And while I was at work, for god’s sake? I had thought maybe we could work through our issues. I clutched at my chest. I was having difficulty breathing. The sensation was like having the wind knocked out of me. A panic attack?

I tried not to cry. I wasn’t even certain why I felt like crying, anyway. It was pretty clear he didn’t care about me. He had met someone else. Why bother being sad? Why waste my time? But despite my best efforts, the emotions broke the surface. I pressed my nails into my palm to distract myself. I thought maybe I was distressed because I was worried about getting my things back. Or because of the nasty things he’d said to me, or because I’d lost a best friend.

I decided to quietly wipe a few tears from my face and cry more later, in the privacy of my own home, when I had ice cream. Oh, yes. There would be a lot of ice cream eating.

I closed the chat. Not much left to say. He left no room for discussion.

“How’s the work going?” my co-worker Julia asked, peeking over at my workspace.

Julia was one of those women who had been raised by an affluent family and gone to the best art schools. She had the shiniest blonde hair I had ever seen, and she always wore it up in a tight high pony. She was always dressed to the nines (and when I say always, I mean always, even when she was relaxing at home). I had quickly discovered after meeting her during my first day at work that she spent money like it was nothing. I had seen her shopping online during her break, and the things she bought were not cheap.

But despite her spoiled nature, she was a friend. Well, more of a work-friend, but she still cared about me. And so, despite her flaws, I liked her (but only in tiny doses).

I smiled faintly. “Oh, fine.”

I worked as a background artist for an animation studio in Montreal, Quebec. Painting had always been a passion of mine, and I got to do it as a profession. I thought it would’ve been great to do what I loved for a living, and in a way, it had been great. In another way, though, it kind of spoiled things. It was difficult to find work-life balance with art. I tended to burn out pretty quickly. And after the message I had received from my ex… I cringed. It felt weird to think of him that way. But after his message, I wasn’t certain how much more work I could get done. My work wasn’t very glamorous. My name barely appeared anywhere. I was a nobody, even in geek groups. So, in the moment, I didn’t have much motivation to keep working.

Julia caught my mood.

“What’s going on?” she asked, peering over the top of the cubicle.

I pressed my lips together into a thin line. “It’s Clark. He dumped me.”

Her eyes widened. “What? When? I thought you were just about to move in together!”

“We were,” I said quietly, pressing my hands into my lap. I was wearing my favourite dress: white satin. It was his favourite too. Or at least, it had been.

“Know what you need?” she asked abruptly.

“A drink?”

“No, something better. Smashing.”

“I don’t think I’m quite ready to ‘smash’ yet. I literally got dumped like five minutes ago.” Uh-oh. Here came the tears. Soon I’d be ugly crying and my co-workers would think I was mental.

She rolled her eyes. “Not smashing as in sex. Breaking plates and cups and things. It’s therapeutic.”

“Is it?”

“Oh yeah. I’ve done it myself a few times. Really cathartic.”

“Okay, then after work, let’s break some plates.”

She gave me a sympathetic smile before sitting back down. “Don’t worry about it, hun. Everyone knew there was no future with him.”

But I had thought there was…

Since I had been ceremoniously dumped like all my old art Clark had thrown out to “make space,” I had to tell my parents. They had been eagerly awaiting a marriage proposal, and so I had to give them the bad news that that was never, ever happening now. I didn’t want to do it in person, and besides, I had already agreed to go break things after work with Julia. If I told them in person, they’d give me the face, and I wanted anything but the face right now.

I decided to text them. I pulled out my phone and opened the messaging app, my finger hovering over the chat. Did I really want to do this? Telling them would only cause trouble, after all. What if I just let them believe we were still together?

I put my phone face down on my desk and concentrated on the screen again. I was working on concept art for a new show we were putting on, kind of a fantasy type thing. Lots of forests and sunsets and hills. I did it all through digital painting. I tried to focus on shading, but my mind was whirling.

How could Clark have broken up with me like that? At work of all places? Thank god we didn’t have a place together yet, but I still had the whole trouble of retrieving my things from his place. He had a few of my best brushes over there, so I definitely wanted them back. I didn’t often paint traditionally, but it was soothing to paint watercolours in my free time.

I tried to pull my mind away from Clark. I needed to focus on work. But every little thing reminded me of him. Drawing hills reminded me of our trip to Iceland. Drawing horses reminded me of the time we went riding together (he loved to ride).

By the time I clocked off, I was emotionally exhausted from the torture I had been subjecting myself to throughout the day. I brushed my fingers through my hair and redid my makeup in the lobby, as if that would heal the emotional scars, and took a deep breath.

It was time to drink wine and break shit.


NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

Chelsi Robichaud writes and resides in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She publishes sapphic romance and fantasy novels. She has also self-published two comics. Find Chelsi on Twitter.


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Blog Tour + Giveaway: Dirty Work (Dirty Deeds #1) by TA Moore

Author T.A. Moore returns with a new blog tour for new criminal romantic suspense, Dirty Work (Dirty Deeds #1)! Not only does the author share new book info on today's tour stop, but also an excerpt from an exclusive short story, 'Clean Hands'! Plus, there's a giveaway! Don't miss it!


Title: Dirty Work (Book One of the Dirty Deeds series)
Publisher: Rogue Firebird Press
Release: March 4

Crime Scene Cleaner [kraɪm siːnˈkliːnə] - Cleans up crime scenes…before the cops know there is one.

People always say ‘you can’t go home again’. It turns out that doesn’t count as a guarantee…especially not during a global pandemic.

After the jobs in LA started to dry up, crime scene cleaner Grade Pulaski was forced to pack up and move home. He loves his family, but the last thing he ever wanted was to face the ghosts he’d left back in Sweeny, Kentucky.

Also, the place just sucks.

He certainly isn’t going to stay any longer than necessary. The plan is to save up enough money to move back to LA and give his business a kick-start. The problem is that, as previously mentioned, Sweeny’s a hole and the locals are anything but professional.

Now a body has gone missing, Grade’s reputation is being held hostage, and people keep asking whether his Dad really did run off with 100 grand of meth in the back of Dodge. Plus, even though you shouldn’t sleep with your employers, crime lord Clay Traynor is exactly the sort of bad idea that Grade can’t resist. Tattooed, bad news, and dangerous.

…oh, yeah. Grade’s job is to clean up the crime scene before the cops know someone’s dead. That’s why he needs to sort this out before he gets a bad review on dark net Yelp.


4th March - mmromancereviewed
7th March - Reading Reality
9th March - Two Chicks Obsessed
10th March - Boy Meets Boy
11th March - Love Bytes Reviews

Author Visit

Thanks for letting me pop in to talk about my latest book, Dirty Work, which comes out on March 4. This is the first book in the Dirty Deeds trilogy and I had a lot of fun with it! It’s available online - - and I hope you like it! I had a lot of fun writing it!

I also hope you enjoy ‘Clean Hands’ a short story prequel to the series.

Clean Hands - Chapter Four

Grade wished that Shannon had called him an hour earlier. When he could have stuck some of the protective gear from work into his bag on the way home. Instead he stripped down to his briefs and pulled on a cheap boiler suit.

The cold air made goosebumps prickle his arms as he turned to look at the car and the dead man. He scrubbed his palms over them and glanced at Harrison behind the wheel of Suzuki. He’d sullenly agreed to come down and help as long as he didn’t have to touch the body.

That was fine. As long as they were all implicated.

“Just roll back,” he said. “Just enough for us to get the body out.”

Harrison grimaced with the half of his face still working and hunched over to fumble with the keys.

“I’m fucking traumatized,” he complained, his voice thick as it shouldered its way out through swollen lips. “I’m injured. It’s not right to make me come down here. I don’t want to see this.”

Grade slapped his hand against the car door on his way past. “Then you shouldn’t have killed him,” he said flatly. “When I give you the signal, just edge back.”

He straddled the sticky pool of blood that had oozed out from under the car. The dead man smelt of BO and just the first hint of decomposition up close. Grade grabbed his arm--clammy and flaccid, but still warmer than the woman in the funeral home--and glanced over the crumpled hood at Shannon. They had on their own boiler suit, but so far they’d not come close enough to take the weight on their half of the corpse.

“Ready?” he asked.

Shannon screwed their face up in distress, took a deep breath, and took a very reluctant few steps forward. When they touched the dead man’s arm they audibly retched, mouth puckered up tight and cheeks distended.

“Don’t puke on him,” Grade warned them. “OK--”

Harrison started the engine and the jeep jolted forward against the fleshy buffer of the dead man. Blood splattered from the impact.

“Fuck!” Grade yelped as he jumped back, his heart in his throat and gore over the crisp fabric on his chest.

Shannon just stood where they were, clots of red squirted up over their face and into their hair. For a second it looked like they were going to handle it unexpectedly well. Then they blanched a greasy white and their throat worked.

“Not on the body!” Grade said urgently.

Shannon’s chest hitched and they lurched backward into the corner of the garage. They gripped the shelves with one hand and retched noisily onto the boxes stacked there. Booze and fried rice leftovers splattered over the odds and ends that the flat-mate who’d preceded Grade had left behind. Those were some old porn DVDs and plates that weren’t going to be the same anytime soon.

“Fuck. Holy shit,” Shannon spluttered as they gagged and spat. “It went in my mouth. What the fuck? What the fuck?!”

Harrison opened the door of the car and half-fell out, one arm clutching his chest. “It’s a stick!” he said. “I left it in gear. Fuck, I can’t breathe.”

He sagged down onto the floor, sweaty and pallid as he wheezed. Grade rubbed his forehead with the back of his wrist and resisted the urge to take a deep breath. Maybe this whole bloody mess really had been an accident.

“Just get out of my way,” he said grimly. “It’ll be quicker if I do it myself.”

Harrison gave him a sour look out of his one good eye. “I told you that.”

“I never liked you,” Grade said.

“Like I care?” Harrison said. He grabbed a shelf and pulled himself up to his feet. “I killed someone and they are looking at me. I don’t give a fuck what you think.” He limped back up the steps into the house, his weight braced heavily against the railing. The door slammed behind him, and Shannon cleared their throat.

“He’s just scared,” they said. “Freaked out. Fuck, so am I. How are you not?”

“I don’t know,” Grade said. He looked at the dead body and shrugged. “It’s not like I killed him, is it?”

That had been the wrong thing to say. Shannon stared at him for a second with a flat, unhappy look on their face, then they wiped their hand over their mouth.

“I’m going to go and gargle some whiskey,” they said. “Get changed. Then I’ll come back and help, I guess.”

Grade doubted it. He nodded anyhow and waited for Shannon to follow Harrison out of the garage. Then he wiped his exposed skin down fastidiously with baby wipes to get rid of any blood, before he climbed into the car. The fake leather seat was still sweaty warm from Harrison’s body.

It was still in first gear. Grade bumped it into neutral, started the engine, and backed it up a couple of inches. The dead body slid slowly down the wall as the pressure was taken off it. For a second the head lolled back and Grade got a good look at the guy’s face.

That made his throat tighten uncomfortably and he had to resist the urge to avoid the blind stare of still brown eyes. Guilt was hardly useful under the circumstances, but Grade couldn’t deny it was a bit reassuring. He’d always been a bit odd, even if he’d learned to hide it well, but it was comforting to know that he still had a soul.

Funny, really.

Grade turned the engine off and got out of the car.

One more body for the client list. That was all.

Author Bio:


TA Moore is a Northern Irish writer of romantic suspense, urban fantasy, and contemporary romance novels. A childhood in a rural, seaside town fostered in her a suspicious nature, a love of mystery, and a streak of black humour a mile wide. As her grandmother always said, ‘she’d laugh at a bad thing that one’, mind you, that was the pot calling the kettle black. TA Moore studied History, Irish mythology, English at University, mostly because she has always loved a good story. She has worked as a journalist, a finance manager, and in the arts sectors before she finally gave in to a lifelong desire to write.

Coffee, Doc Marten boots, and good friends are the essential things in life. Spiders, mayo, and heels are to be avoided.

Twitter: @tamoorewrites

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T.A. Moore is giving away a $10 Amazon gift card with this tour! Good luck!

Review: Unshackled by Cara Dee

Unshackled spares no one, and along the way, you’ll get everything from high-speed car chases, secret meetings in the dark, and the rawest hours of grief, to strong family ties, humor, and unconditional love.

In the wake of the bloodiest war the Sons of Munster had seen in a long time, we were supposed to celebrate our victory and move on with our lives. I wanted to see my brothers-in-arms dance and drink way too much. I wanted to hear laughter and Irish music. Instead, we were a syndicate crushed by grief.

Shannon O’Shea had lost more than most, and every fiber of my being screamed at me to pull him from the depths of his despair. As the father of my best friend, he’d been there for me when my parents kicked me out for being gay. Now it was my turn. I had to find the answers. I had to rescue him.

The day he asked for a favor and demanded discretion, the plan unfolded before my eyes, and I couldn’t resist the temptation. No names, no faces. He wouldn’t know it was me in the darkness. At the same time, the shackles around my wrists tightened as old enemies slithered back out of the gutters of my city, and my brothers and I were once again on the warpath.


It’s been a while since I read a Cara Dee novel but I’m glad I picked this one up, even though I haven’t read any of the previous novels in this series. It was pretty easy to follow and I believe it to be a Standalone as advertised.

I didn’t particularly fall in love with the Irish Mafia part of this story, but I did fall in love with Shannon and Kellan. If they were just two regular men who experienced tragedy together without all the added organised crime melodrama I wouldn’t have noticed the difference. I was completely here for the slow burn of this romance. I don’t usually enjoy this level of slow, but the burn was completely worth the wait.

Told entirely from Kellan’s point of view, I felt his helplessness when trying to be there for a lost and shattered Shannon, but it was enough distance for me not to fall into a depression fog, as I tend to do with this kind of story. I don’t know if it’s my age, or just where I am in life, but I can do a book full of physical torture, but heart pain and grief always knocks me around. This one I just enjoyed the hurt/comfort element of their connection, and the eventual romance building.

The Daddykink was hawt and even though the CW says age-play I’m going to say it is not. Certainly not like this author’s other age-play stories.

Overall a satisfying read from Cara Dee that I would recommend to those who enjoy Hurt/Comfort, slow burn romance and Mafia Romance.

A review copy was provided for an honest opinion.

Release Blitz + Giveaway: Ryld's Shadows by Angel Martinez & Bellora Quinn

Authors Angel Martinez & Bellora Quinn, along with Gay Book Promotions, host today's blog tour stop for urban fantasy romance, Ryld's Shadows! Find out more about the friends to lovers romance from Pride Publishing and enter in the $25 First Romance gift card giveaway! (2 winners)



Book Title: Ryld's Shadows: AURA 4

Author: Angel Martinez and Bellora Quinn

Publisher: Pride Publishing

Release Date: March 8, 2022

Genres: Urban Fantasy M/M Romance

Tropes: Fish out of water, friends to lovers, unlikely pair

Themes: Acceptance, growth, people aren't always what they appear

Heat Rating:  3 flames

Length: 74 000 words/ 276 pages

It is not a standalone story. It is book four in the AURA series.


Buy Links

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Ryld must learn to control his dangerous shadows before they kill someone he cares about or someone unscrupulous learns how to control him.


AURA’s offices have been quiet since the mage tower incident—as quiet as they can be for an agency dedicated to policing holes in reality—and the department heads have been free to turn their attention back to mundane matters. The return to quiet bureaucracy gives AURA’s Director of Research, Kai Hiltas, the time to turn his energy to a new issue—a young drow with unusual and dangerous powers named Ryld.

Though his shadows always lurk at the edges of his vision, Ryld does his best to live peacefully and not let them hurt anyone. He has his work, his apartment and a succession of minders assigned by AURA who are, ostensibly, there to keep him safe in his new world and to prevent him from causing any scenes with his shadows. Most of the time, the arrangement works. But one disastrous incident causes Ryld’s minder to leave him unattended and lost—the precise thing he was hired to prevent.

To replace the faithless minder, Kai suggests Hank, a half-goblin accountant recently in the middle of a string of terrible luck, while Kai works out how best to get Ryld the magical training he so desperately needs. For his part, Hank truly likes Ryld and insists he would be happier working as Ryld’s companion rather than as a controlling minder.

As Hank and Ryld slowly come to terms with sharing space—and eventually more—Kai’s search for a teacher for Ryld takes them out west on the invitation of the Elvenhome’s aelfe queen and right into the lap of inter-elven feuds, ancient prejudice, conspiracies and trafficking rings. What should have been a pleasant visit soon turns into more than even forever-scheming Kai can handle.


“Another one, Brady. I don’t have all night.”

The bartender sighed when Hank thumped his fist on the bar. That crack was already there. I know it was.

“One terabin per customer. You know the rules.”

“I’m not even close to drunk enough.”

Shaking his head, the bartender put a glass of water in front of Hank. The water swayed. Maybe the bar swayed. A single terabin would’ve taken down a human and sent them to the ER. A second one would even put a troll on the floor. Hank was pretty sure he could manage another.

Brady put his hands on the bar and leaned in. “What’s happened, Hank? This isn’t like you.”

Hank tried to answer, his short tusks getting in the way of his words. That hadn’t happened since he was a teenager.

“What was that?”

“They fired me today. Fired me.” Hank gave up trying to look menacing and put his head in his hands.

“Did you screw something up? Lose a decimal place or something?” What Brady knew about accounting probably wouldn’t have filled half a jigger.

“No.” Hank gulped a breath. “I did my job. I worked hard. But the new manager… She said I wasn’t commensurate with the company image.”

“Wait. Just ’cause of how you look? You could file a complaint?”

“Sure. Right. The pretty sylphs in the non-human rights office are gonna get right on that. Far as they’re concerned, the only place I should be is locked up.”

The bartender winced in an uncomfortable way and patted Hank’s arm awkwardly. “Not like you’re riding a varg down the street swinging a battle-axe. You’re, you know, civilized. Still can’t serve you another one.”

A bitter smile curled Hank’s mouth as he took the water and chugged half of it down. “Thanks, Brady. I feel so much better now. I’ll… I guess I’ll find something. Somewhere.”

Out on the sidewalk, Hank breathed in the relatively fresh air. Poisoned with exhaust fumes and all the reek of too many humans in too small a space—still it was cooler and not the close, claustrophobic smell of the bar. He probably shouldn’t have let Brady’s racist comments go, but tonight he was too damn tired to deal with it, and Brady needed to count his lucky pebbles that Hank wasn’t some thin-skinned goblin kid with a chip bigger than his head. You’re okay, Hank. You’re one of the few good goblins. Not like those other filthy barbarians. Pat the half-gobbo on the head and smile.

He wanted chilies, huge bags of them, wanted to drown in the capsaicin high they’d bring. But he had enough sense, even this drunk, to know he’d overdo it in his current state of mind and probably end up in the ER from a ghost pepper OD again.

Once was enough.

No. Go home. Get some sleep. Figure it out in the morning.

He’d manage. He always did.

It was just that this time he thought he had managed. Found a place for himself. Reached the spot where things could be routine, and he could be normal. Just another worker bee in the crowd.

The screech of tires on pavement yanked him out of his reverie and just about made him jump out of his skin. His reactions were muddled and slow, but the shot of adrenaline racing through him as he stared at the truck only inches away was almost enough to knock him sober.

The driver’s door opened, and a tall elf got out. His face was full of haughty arrogance and disdain, as was usual for aelfe, but his words were even and neutral as he asked, “Are you all right?”

Before Hank could answer the passenger door opened, and another elf got out, this one a drow. “You are walking where vehicles are supposed to be driven.”

“Get back in the truck, Ryld,” the first elf said sternly.

“But, he’s walking where vehicles are driven. That’s against the rules.”

“Get. In. The. Truck. Ryld.”



The drow cut his eyes away. He made some odd gestures but sat back down and closed his door. Even from behind the windshield Hank could pick out how unnaturally blue his eyes were. He’d only ever seen drow with red eyes or white.

“Are you all right?” the blond elf asked again.

Hank pulled in a slow breath, then two more. The rising nausea settled, and he leaned a hand against the lamppost on the corner. “Fine. I’m fine. You stopped in time.”

The elf stared at him, maybe thinking Hank owed him a thank you for not ploughing over him. Finally, he gave a sharp nod. “Okay. Good.”

That was it. He climbed back into the truck, shut the door, said something sharp to the drow and drove off.

Weird. That was…weird. Though maybe the terabin had made the whole interaction so strange. Maybe there hadn’t been any blue-eyed drow insisting on road rules. Hank shook himself, hurried across the street and reached his apartment building without any further bizarre incidents.

About the Authors

Angel Martinez

The unlikely black sheep of an ivory tower intellectual family, Angel Martinez has managed to make her way through life reasonably unscathed. Despite a wildly misspent youth, she snagged a degree in English Lit, married once and did it right the first time, (same husband for almost twenty-four years) gave birth to one amazing son, (now in college) and realized at some point that she could get paid for writing.

Published since 2006, Angel's cynical heart cloaks a desperate romantic. You'll find drama and humor given equal weight in her writing and don't expect sad endings. Life is sad enough.

She currently lives in Delaware in a drinking town with a college problem and writes Science Fiction and Fantasy centered around gay heroes.

Author Links

Blog/Website  |   Facebook  |   Facebook Group  

Twitter   |  Newsletter Sign-up   

Bellora Quinn

Originally hailing from Detroit Michigan, Bellora now resides on the sunny Gulf Coast of Florida where a herd of Dachshunds keeps her entertained. She got her start in writing at the dawn of the internet when she discovered PbEMs (Play by email) and found a passion for collaborative writing and steamy hot erotica. Soap Opera like blogs soon followed and eventually full novels.

The majority of her stories are in the M/M genre with urban fantasy or paranormal settings and many with a strong BDSM flavour.

Author Links

Facebook  |   Twitter


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Release Blitz + Giveaway: The Real Baxter (The Baxter Chronicles #1) by Lane Hayes

Author Lane Hayes and IndiGo Marketing celebrate new release, The Real Baxter (The Baxter Chronicles #1)! Check out today's book info and enter in the giveaway courtesy of the author!


Title: The Real Baxter

Series: The Baxter Chronicles

Author: Lane Hayes

Publisher: Lane Hayes

Release Date: March 4, 2022

Heat Level: 4 - Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 99K

Genre: Romance, Bisexual, Bodyguard, Fake Boyfriend, Humor, Hurt and Comfort

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The silver-fox and the faux bodyguard…


Who’s the true hero behind the Hollywood heartthrob, crime-fighting, adventure-seeking international man of mystery? Me. I’m the real Baxter.

Well, I wear the suit and let the action play out onscreen. You want to know the secret of my success? Sell the story you want to tell. Even if you have to bend the truth a little.

Okay…a lot.

Trust me, no one will notice. Except Trent, who seems to notice everything. And for some reason, I like that. I like him. I’m just not sure what to do about it.


Look, I’m not exactly killing it. I’m a typical struggling actor-slash-waiter, hoping for a break. And boom…in walks Sebastian Rourke. He’s a cutthroat, wickedly charming silver fox, a Hollywood legend in the making. No joke. You’ve got to sell a piece of your soul to get in this man’s orbit. Or fake a British accent, then take a job playing bodyguard to fool the press. As one does.

I know I should take advantage of the very strange situation I find myself in, but I’m not sure I’m cut out for it. However, I’m willing to take a chance, ’cause I want the real Seb.

Even though it might cost me everything.

The Real Baxter is a MM age-gap, bisexual romance featuring the man who has everything and the actor who’s willing to show him what’s real.


“Home sweet home, eh?”

Seb gathered his suit coat and his takeout bag with a strained smile. “Something like that.”

“Hey, for what it’s worth, I didn’t mean to offend you earlier. Under different circumstances, I might go for a guy like you.”

His snort-laugh oozed sarcasm. “Wow, I’m flattered.”

I shrugged, aware that I should probably stop talking. Of course, I couldn’t do it. “You’re real. I get that. It’s just that…observationally speaking, <em>real </em>you and <em>real </em>me don’t mix. We got nothin’ in common.”

Seb unfastened his seat belt and whirled to face me. I couldn’t read him in the shadows. It would have been nice to know if he was amused or irked…or both. “Okay, first of all, ‘observationally speaking’ is a terrible way to begin any sentence and second—and most important, you know nothing about ‘real me.’ ”

I held my hands up in surrender. “You’re right. I had no idea you were the rich, old dude in the ‘Who’s your type?’ scenario.”

“I never said I was, but now that you think I am…you suddenly want to date me, eh?”

“Date you?” I scratched my temple as if mulling over the idea. “No way. But I’d totally do you.”

Seb froze with his hand on the door lever, threw his head back, and guffawed.

He literally had the best laugh I’d ever heard—contagious, hearty, and kind of wicked. It bounced merrily off the old car’s interior, making everything feel shiny and new. Including me. I couldn’t help smiling.

I tried to think of something clever and somewhat humorous to keep his attention for another minute or two, but I got sidetracked, staring at his stubbled jaw, full lips, and the deep crinkles at the corners of his eyes. For a half a beat, I wished he were someone else—less in demand, less wealthy, less connected.

Crazy, I know. This was why I didn’t go for sophisticated types. I didn’t stand a chance with a guy like Seb.

And on that dose of reality…I inclined my head with a meaningful grunt as he composed himself.

“You have no idea how tempting that sounds. Thanks for the ride. Thanks for tonight. It was…exactly what I needed.”

“Happy to be of service.”

He pulled at the handle—once, twice… “The door is stuck.”

“It does that sometimes. You just have to wiggle the handle.”

Seb tried again. “No, it’s definitely stuck.”

I unfastened my seat belt and leaned across him. Bad move. I breathed in the scent of his cologne and felt scorched by his body heat.

And of course, the door didn’t budge. I turned off the engine and held a finger up, signaling a bright idea on the horizon.

“Hang on. We’ll do this the old-fashioned way.” I hopped out of the car and used my key to manually unlock the passenger side door with a flourish. “Ta-da!”

He unfolded his long legs, somehow managing to look like an A-list celebrity sliding from the back seat of a limo at a red-carpet event. He slung his suit coat over the crook of his arm, grabbed his to-go bag, and stepped aside.

“Thank you.”

“I’m the one who should be thanking you. So, thanks for taking me to pick up my wheels, thanks for drinks and the burger, and thanks for not laughing at my impromptu Baxter audition.”

Seb grinned. “You’re welcome. It was…fun.”

I nodded, shoving my hands into my pockets awkwardly before angling my head toward the house. “You really rattle around in that place by yourself?”

“Yeah. My kids are here a lot. I have Oliver tomorrow and…” He squinted as if looking for something or someone in the dark. “I have friends.”

“You do?” I teased.

He made a funny face. “One or two. I think.”

We smiled as if sharing a joke. But the punchline was a silent acknowledgment of temporary camaraderie. We weren’t friends or coworkers. He probably wouldn’t remember my name next week.

However, right this very moment, we had a connection. Maybe it was akin to making friends with your seatmate on a long flight, but it was something.

I held on to it fiercely, marking the ticking seconds to the soundtrack of chirping crickets and the rustle of leaves in the late summer evening breeze. I studied the sharp planes of his cheekbones, softened by the laugh lines at the corners of his eyes. I noted the hint of gray in his close-shaven beard when he licked his bottom lip and—

Oh, fuck.

Yeah, time to go.

“I should, uh…” I hiked my thumb behind me, then rested my hand on the open door. I was about to close it when I spotted his milkshake. “Do you want your shake?”

“Um…” Seb switched the to-go bag to his left hand and stepped toward me. “I think it’s gone.”

I pulled it from the cupholder and turned to find him closer than expected. As in…we stood grungy boot to Italian loafer.

I shook the cup. “Might be a little something in there.”

“No, I’m done. I can throw it away in the house. I don’t want to leave trash in your car.”

I scoffed. “Dude, have you seen my car?”

Seb chuckled…and I joined in.

When his laughter faded, we were back to staring at each other. Only now, it wasn’t awkward. It was…something completely different. A little unsteady and unsure, but somehow promising.

I didn’t move. I didn’t sidle past him with an absent good-bye or a bro high five. I didn’t try to draw him into more conversation. I didn’t want to break the spell…as if I had any power over what was happening.

And something was definitely happening. Maybe because it was so unexpected, it took me a few extra seconds to define it.

Lust. Hunger. Need.

He wanted me.

Purchase at Amazon

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/or were winners in the 2016, 2017, 2018-2019, 2020-2021 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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Release Blitz + Giveaway: Howl Down the Moon (Comet Lake Chronicles #2) by Layla Dorine

Howl Down the Moon (Comet Lake Chronicles #2) is out from NineStar Press! Join author Layla Dorine and IndiGo Marketing as they share the latest in the paranormal series! Read more and enter in the NSP credit giveaway!

: Howl Down the Moon

Series: Comet Lake Chronicles, Book 2

Author: Layla Dorine

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 03/01/2022

Heat Level: 3 - Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male, Male/Male Menage

Length: 96400

Genre: Paranormal, LGBTQIA+, shifters, bonded mates, doctor, hurt-comfort, anger management, resentments, handling grief

Add to Goodreads


Luka knows he screwed up the night he tried to help Raine. He always gets things wrong—one of many reasons he steers clear of the rest of the pack. Besides, he doesn’t deserve the fellowship of other wolves, not with how badly he failed when it mattered most.

Rand has seen a great deal during his time as pack physician, both good and bad. Helping others is his life’s calling, so when a wolf shows up with bitemarks from an altercation with another wolf, he’s quick to treat, but when he learns the name of the wolf bleeding on his clinic floor, he’s quick to judge, too. Too bad he fails to take the time to learn the whole story.

Speaking of stories, there’s one Slade has refused to listen to for years—so much so, he’s relegated himself to the borderlands to avoid having anything to do with those who caused the tragedy that cost him his twin and the vengeance he knows will damn him for life if he carries it out.

A series of decisions, good and bad, brings the lives of these three wolves crashing together. In Comet Lake, that’s called fate. The spark of a chance. Now it’s up to them to put stubbornness aside, stop answering questions with questions, and pause in their self-loathing long enough to listen to one another, put their pasts behind them, and learn how to love.


Where had the sun gone? Yes, it was fall, and the days had been growing shorter, but for it to be nighttime already, it had to be…well…damn. Scrubbing a hand over his face, Dr. Randal Forrester realized he’d once again forgotten to take a dinner break or lock up at a reasonable time. Standing, the pang of pain that shot through his lower back was a reminder that he’d also been sitting too long. So much for following the instructions he gave his patients. Leaning back, he stretched until he felt something pull, then bent to touch his toes. A series of pops ran down his spine, providing instant relief.

His stomach rumbled, so he shut down his computer and made sure a printed copy of tomorrow’s schedule was placed front and center on his desk. A light day. Provided there were no emergencies, maybe he could get some fishing in. A little sunlight, a little relaxation—it wouldn’t do for the pack’s only doctor to end up sick himself.

Times like these, when he was restless and eager to spend time in the woods, he wished Doc Washington hadn’t retired. Not that the elder hadn’t deserved it—he’d devoted more than forty-seven years to healing and tending to his pack—but lack of another doctor, or even a nurse practitioner, made it difficult to take a break when he was always on call.

One last walk through the offices, just to make sure he’d turned all the lights off. Moonlight streaming in through the window of his counseling space slashed across fur that didn’t belong there. Flipping on the light revealed a gray-and-white stuffed goose, which had been accidentally abandoned earlier in the day. Picking it up, he relocated it to his office before shooting Gabe a quick text message to let him know Raine’s goose was here. Knowing the wolf the way he was coming to, Gabe would beat him to the door in the morning to collect that goose for his mate.

Honestly, he wasn’t surprised Raine had forgotten it. They’d had a tough session, with Raine slowly trusting him enough to open up and talk about the conflicting emotions he was currently struggling with. His secretary had left hours before, shutting down the front half of the clinic, which was why Doc was almost startled out of his skin to hear rustling coming from there.

Irritation and outrage bubbled to the surface. He stalked toward the sound, intending to give some drug-seeking wolf a piece of his mind and an offer of counseling. Instead, he found Mister Meow batting around a crinkly cat toy, the fluffy orange cat fixing him a look like What? when Doc illuminated him with his phone. How many times, how many had he told Stephanie not to let that damned cat in, even if it was after office hours and all the exam rooms were closed? It didn’t matter that she vacuumed the carpet each morning either. A clinic was no place for a cat!

Sighing, he knelt, clucking his tongue at the cat, intending to catch it and put it back out where it belonged, when several raps on the front door drew his attention. Grumbling, he threw up his hands and marched across the room, yanking the door open only to have the wolf on the other side spill over the threshold. They’d have hit the floor if he hadn’t reacted quickly and caught them.

A low, rumbling groan escaped the dark-clad form as Doc carefully shifted them in his arms and carried them to the nearest exam room. Wavy strands of golden-brown hair, shot through with flaxen and white streaks, spilled out from beneath the black hood, half obscuring the wolf’s face. Doc brushed it back, the heat beneath his hand indicating a fever. Flushed and sweaty, their eyes were closed, their breathing heavy and labored. Doc ran a thermometer over their forehead, the instrument display reading 108.4. Dangerously high for a wolf, risking brain damage for a human, but the chances of it being human were near impossible.

The eyes beneath the closed lids were hickory-gold and dilated when he shone a light into them. Their clothes smelled of cedar, pine, and rot, like an infection raging out of control. Doc gently unzipped the hoodie and peeled up the T-shirt beneath, gasping when he saw the red, swollen bite on the other wolf’s side, oozing pus from places where it wasn’t packed with the remains of some kind of poultice. The skin around the wound had rotted away, making it clear to him this wasn’t recent, but the wolf itself wasn’t known to him.

Odd, but not necessarily alarming. In the six years he’d lived among the Pacific Northwest pack, he’d come to learn how spread out some members of the pack chose to live. It made sense that one who lived near the outskirts might not have had a need to seek him out until now. It was also quite possible that this was the new mate of a pack member, but a quick inspection of the wolf’s wrists revealed there were no bond marks on either one. So much for that theory.


NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

Layla Dorine lives among the sprawling prairies of Midwestern America, in a house with more cats than people. She loves hiking, fishing, swimming, martial arts, camping out, photography, cooking, and dabbling with several artistic mediums. In addition, she loves to travel and visit museums, historic, and haunted places.

Layla got hooked on writing as a child, starting with poetry and then branching out, and she hasn’t stopped writing since. Hard times, troubled times, the lives of her characters are never easy, but then what life is? The story is in the struggle, the journey, the triumphs and the falls. She writes about artists, musicians, loners, drifters, dreamers, hippies, bikers, truckers, hunters and all the other folks that she’s met and fallen in love with over the years. Sometimes she writes urban romance and sometimes its aliens crash landing near a roadside bar. When she isn’t writing, or wandering somewhere outdoors, she can often be found curled up with a good book and a kitty on her lap.

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Audiobook Blog Tour + Giveaway: Knight in Retrograde (The Dynamicist #3) by Lee Hunt

 Welcome author Lee Hunt and Other Worlds Ink as they visit on the audiobook blog tour for fantasy novel, Knight in Retrograde (The Dynamicist #3)! Read more about the Craig A. Hart narrated tale and enter in the $30 Amazon gift card giveaway!


Lee Hunt's epic fantasy book Knight in Retrograde is now available in audiobook format, in addition to eBook and paperback. And there's a giveaway!

Would you trade uncertainty for stagnation, chance for god, invention for inertia, thought for dogma?

Four years have passed since the events of Dynamicist and war is on the horizon.

Robert, Koria, Eloise and Gregory went to the New School, hoping to change the world. They thought that mathematically based dynamics, the enlightened age's answer to wizardry, would give them the power to make everything better. Their hopes were naïve.

Protestors are condemning the creation of a new vaccine. The city is seeing a series of hangings; is it murder or sacrament? The cloaked man is back stalking students. The long-absent demons Skoll and Hati reappear and begin slaughtering whoever they meet. But the real question is, will Nimrheal return? If he does, who will die first?

Uncertainty is inspiring fear, and inventions are not making the world better, only more complicated. The terrified civilians don't want dynamics and reason. They want the word of Elysium and the return of the Methueyn Knights.

Koria fears the world faces an awful conundrum: that if the Knights return, Nimrheal will stay.

Will Robert, Koria, Eloise and Gregory choose to transform into angelic knights or, at the cost of such heavenly communion, instead banish Nimrheal? What price will be paid? If a new Methueyn Knight rises, will the age of invention disappear forever?

About the Series:

The Dynamicist Trilogy examines the difficulties of change in a fantasy setting. This challenge manifests itself through a rigorous magic system where thermodynamic cost is accounted for, and an inventor killing god. Most realistically, the challenge of creating a better world is illustrated by the many mistakes and miss-steps of the well-meaning and intelligent characters. The power and importance of memory, love and hope are ever present.

Universal Buy Link | Amazon


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Knight in Retrograde Meme

As their eyes met, Heylor found himself abruptly pulled away from the handshake and whirled around by the strong hands of his mother on his shoulder. “What in Leylah’s long night happened to your face, Heylor?”

This again.

“It looks like he got trampled across the gizzard by a team of oxen,” said Herevor in a deadpan voice, rubbing his long narrow jaw with his right hand. His fingernails were black with dirt.

“He wouldn’t tell me what happened!” Shelley yelled from the kitchen table.

I don’t want to talk about it.

“Who’s there?” came a new voice from the couch. It was grandma’s broken, warbly twitter. Heylor peered into the den again and saw her slouched low on the half-collapsed couch. Beside her, perched primly with a straight back, sat Constable Lynwen, hands on lap. Heylor had not seen the young woman cross the room and sit down. He had forgotten about her completely, and now there she was beside his grandma.

“It’s me, Grandma. Heylor.”

The old lady squinted at him. She seemed little more than a bundle of thin, wrinkled skin, looking as if she had lost another two inches of height in the months since Heylor last saw her. Looking at her, spine hunched like a question mark and eyes rheumy and clouded with cataracts, felt like a stab in the gut.

“I thought you were out there across the line.”

“I was.” Heylor looked at Lynwen again, sitting beside his grandma. What is she thinking? “I’m back. Where are Heyden, Scrandeyn, and Helloise?”

Jesteyn crossed her arms. “They’re out farm-handing, Heylor. We told you that at the beginning of the season.”

“Sorry, I forgot about the farm work,” Heylor mumbled. “It’s probably a good thing they’re not here.”

“Why’s that?” Jesteyn asked, eyes narrowing. “They’d love to see you. You know that.”

“Why would they?” Heylor spread his arms wide in a surge of frustration. “They must be glad to be away from here. I can’t believe all the junk you have here.”

Herevor flinched for a microsecond before breaking into a mad grin that exposed every one of his missing teeth. “One knight’s junk is another knight’s armor.”

“Oh, for knights’ sake,” Heylor exclaimed, “why is there a wheelbarrow full of cats in the fireplace? What knight is going to make plate out of that? The cat would be better armor! And isn’t that Shelley’s sextant on the bookshelf? She lives in the orchid now. I do remember that. And isn’t that my old cooper’s kit spread out on the shelf yonder? And why do we have three busted telescopes? I’m sure I threw away the bronze one after second year. What isall this stuff doing here?”

“I needed a place to store my spare things,” Shelley replied evenly. “My room in the Orchid isn’t big enough.”

“Those rooms are huge!”

“Nope.” Shelley was not flustered in the least.

Heylor clenched both fists so hard his face hurt where Skoll had gripped it. “What about the cooper’s kit?”

“Heygard thought we should hold on to it for him until harvest is done,” his father answered nonchalantly

“Oh, of course,” Heylor whispered. “What about the telescope I know I threw away?”

“I think I can fix that,” Grandma piped up.

You? You can barely stand up!

“Well, that accounts for one telescope. How about the other two?”

“That’s me,” jumped in Herevor. “I thought I would see if I could make a small version of an Eindarch Eye.”

Heylor blinked. “Did you succeed?”


Heylor shook his head. Of course you didn’t. “How about the old wheelbarrow?”

Herevor rubbed his jaw again. “Scrandeyn didn’t want it anymore. I figured it could come in handy. Someday.”

“Of course! Of course it could. Someday,” Heylor almost shouted, angrier than ever. Everything about his family reminded him of himself, of his own failings, of killing his friends. In that moment, he despised them like he despised himself. “It’s come in handy for the cat at least. Whose cat is that anyway? No, don’t answer, I know it came from a cousin or was thrown away by someone somewhere. Everything is useful, everything comes back. From everyone. Nothing is trash. It’s all worth something. My hand-me-down clothes probably got handed back and used for another cat’s nest.” He whirled around. “You know what this family is? Sick, crazy hoarders. It’s an illness. You’re so bad that, even when one of you finally throws something out, it gets thrown back by some other member of the family. When they throw something out, you take it. It’s a circle, a circle of junk, a knights-damned hoarding circle! We should study it in the New School. It’s a mathematical singularity for trash. Nothing ever leaves that doesn’t re-enter. There’s no escape from the entropic pull of the Style family’s hoarding circle vortex! No junk is abandoned, no mistakes are left behind, nothing is forgotten or moved on from.” Heylor held his hands up and whirled slowly around. “This might be a big new house, but we’re still just the same old peasants.”


Heylor’s jaw rung for the second time that day, this time from the big hand of his own mother.

“My face already hurts, Mom! Don’t hit me.”

“I love you, boy, but I know that hurts less than what you’re carrying.” Jesteyn had hit him, but she did not look angry. Her liquid eyes betrayed a different emotion. “What mistakes aren’t you leaving behind? What pain are youhoarding? What happened to your face? It’s your family here. The only way yer gonna get rid of whatever it is, is to share it.”

Heylor started laughing. “That’s so clever, Mom.” He kept laughing and didn’t stop until his nose started running because he was actually crying. Through blurry eyes, he looked over at Lynwen, sitting silently, watching. “I’m sure you want to leave now, Constable.”

“Nope.” Lynwen smiled.

Author Bio

Lee Hunt

Ever try to do things you were really not well suited to? Lee Hunt understands. He was born with only one working lung, but has gone on to be an Ironman triathlete, a sport rock climber, and a professional geophysicist. The poor lung function has been an excellent excuse for his unimpressive triathlon performance—he is among the worst of those able to complete the Ironman under his own power—and is of some service in eliciting a modicum of sympathy for his average at-best skills as a climber. Actually no one on a rock wall really cares about excuses. It’s a climb-or-fall kind of thing.

His marginal ability to breathe is of no use whatsoever in explaining his career as a geophysicist. He was good at that. Lee published close to fifty journal papers, articles or expanded abstracts, has been awarded numerous best paper awards, and was even sent on a national speaking tour to Canadian universities by the Canadian Society of Exploration Geophysicists. He was born on a farm but grew up near the giant oil sand mines of Fort McMurray and is interested in discussing the environment and the amorality of science. He is also useful at parties in explaining the physics around why, or why not, fracture stimulation might be a risk to manmade structures and the fuzzy cuddly things of nature. Lee’s career helped him appreciate the difficulty in predicting outcomes, the dangers of arrogance—such as thinking you can predict even the smallest thing—and the exigent need to try anyway. He was comfortable and happy being a geophysicist, so after twenty-eight years, he quit to go do the things he was less well suited to.

If you want to hang out with Lee, look for him hiking, cycling, floundering in a lake, clinging desperately to a wall, or at his desk trying to write an entertaining story.

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