Release Blitz + Giveaway: Our Shellfish Desires (Sucker For Love Mystery #6) by K.L. Hiers



Book Title: Sucker For Love Mystery #6: Our Shellfish Desires

Author: K.L. Hiers

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Tiferet Design

Release Date: July 19, 2022

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Tropes: MMM, First Time, First Time Threeway, First Time Throuple, Grumpy One Loves the Sunshine Ones

Themes: Learning to trust, Healing from trauma, Overcoming addiction 

Heat Rating: 5 flames     

Length: 65 000 words    

It is a standalone story, BUT the author would highly recommend reading the rest of the series.

The book does not end on a cliffhanger.


Buy Links - Available in Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK 

You don’t need a body to have a heart.


People talk about the marriage of true minds, but Alexander doesn’t think this is what they meant.

After a cruel experiment binds him to the soul of Rota, an old god, Alexander has one mission: find Rota’s body. Having a godly boyfriend is great, but it would be better to have one that he could actually touch. Unfortunately, even Alexander’s ability to command Rota’s divine power hasn’t helped.

A rare book of poetry may finally provide the answer. The expertise they need translating it brings them to Oleander Logue, a young man with plenty of problems that seem at odds with his cheerful nature. Ollie is happy to help, but he’s in trouble with a gangster who demands that Alexander and Rota solve a series of murders first.

Desperate, Alexander and Rota accept the case… but it’s not that simple. The gangster’s threats to Ollie’s safety disturb them both, but is that because they’re both growing more attracted to Ollie… or because he’s a potential host for Rota? If they can’t solve these murders, they may never find out.


“Thank you!” Ollie gushed. “That was so cool! You totally just kicked Nathaniel’s ass!”

Alexander swallowed a squeak and forgot how to work all of his muscles. Ollie was so warm, and he smelled like alcohol, cigarettes, and patchouli oil with a hint of vanilla.

“Seriously, that was amazing!” Ollie turned Alexander so he could beam down at him, still hugging him close. “I mean, okay, it’s kinda your fault he got in here, but thank you.” He smiled wider. “Whoa. Your eyeballs are turning all pink.”

Alexander was torn between pushing Ollie away and melting into his arms. The simple affection was making his knees weak, having for so long only experienced physical touch that was designed to hurt. His brain refused to cooperate, and all he could do was stutter, “Y-yeah, they do that.”

Who was that man, Ollie? Rota asked.

Alexander slipped away from Ollie, mourning the loss of contact the second he did. He scrambled to get another cigarette. “Yeah, and what was he? I’ve never seen magic like that before.”

“His name is Nathaniel Ware.” Ollie fidgeted and dipped back into the kitchen, still talking. “He is so not fuckin’ human. He’s, like, a troll dude with tusks and a long tail.”

An Absola? Rota sounded intrigued. Here on Aeon?

The gods had created many monstrous creatures before mortals, including a troll-like race of beings called the Absola. They, along with the other so-called everlasting people, were said to have gone with the gods into the dreaming, and neither Alexander nor Rota had heard of any living in this world for thousands of years.

“Yeah, but not, like, all the way?” Ollie mused. “He’s like a diet Absola.”

“But the Absola don’t control time or space,” Alexander pointed out. “The Faedra do.”

“Whatever! Look, he’s a freaky monster guy, and he works for Sullivan Stoker. Do you know who that is?”

“No.” Alexander grabbed the book to put back in his pocket and followed Ollie. Unsurprisingly, the kitchen was as much of a disaster as the rest of the apartment.

Ollie was pouring red wine into two glasses as he explained, “He’s a crime boss. Like, this big drug lord. And okay, so I may have had a tiny drug problem before. When I first got the eyeballs of Yeris, I had trouble dealing with it.” He thrust a glass at Alexander.

“No thanks.”

Ollie poured it into his glass and sipped off the excess. “I made okay money translating, but it wasn’t enough to keep up with my habit, so I started taking product on credit. Like, so much. And I kinda owe him a lot of money, and he’s very unhappy with me. I’ve been trying to make payments, and he’s been chill ’cause my uncle is a cop, but—”

“He’s tired of waiting and he’s sending goons after you?” Alexander finished.

“Yeah. Damn. You should be a detective.”

“How about this?” Alexander crossed his arms. “I’ll keep the criminal scum from hounding you in exchange for you translating the book?”

“I, I guess that could work.” Ollie frowned. “Will you…. Will you stay here? I need some time to figure out how to deal with Stoker, and, and I’ll find a way to make the translating work, okay?”

“Okay. I’ll put new wards up, and if anyone is stupid enough to come back, I’ll—”

“Where are you gonna sleep?”


Ollie scratched his head. “My bed is kinda small, but I guess we could share—”

“Your couch is fine.” Alexander blushed miserably. He could not handle the mere thought of being anywhere near a bed with Ollie right now. He had to be going insane. That’s all it was. “Once it’s cleaned up, of course.”

You should take better care of your home, Ollie. It’s quite a mess.

“I know.” Ollie sighed. “It’s so damn bad. I just never have the energy, and I’ve been really depressed. Like, forever depressed. I died a little, my ex is getting married… it’s been a whole thing.”

Alexander had the inexplicable desire to reach out for Ollie. It was obvious he was upset, and Alexander wanted to feel his arms around him again. He stayed where he was, taking a step back for good measure, as if the distance would quell the urge.

So, you’re single?

“Rota!” Alexander barked, angrily chanting inside his head, Shut up, shut up, shut up!

“Yeah. Duh.” Ollie snorted and slurped more of his wine. He swayed and leaned against the counter, eyeing where Rota was hovering behind Alexander. He grinned. “Okay, wait. Are you hitting on me?”

I believe we are, yes. We’re not very good at it, but we’re making an effort.

“No, we’re not!” Alexander gritted his teeth. “Hey! You look good and drunk. Book. Now.”

Say please.

“Please,” Alexander hissed.

“Okay, okay, sure thing.” Ollie was still grinning. “You know, if you were hitting on me, I would have to tell you—”

A portal opened up and a hand slid through, snatching Ollie so fast that he dropped his wine. The glass hit the ground, shattering as the portal closed.

Just like that, Ollie was gone.

About the Author 

K.L. “Kat” Hiers is an embalmer, restorative artist, and queer writer. Licensed in both funeral directing and funeral service, they worked in the death industry for nearly a decade. Their first love was always telling stories, and they have been writing for over twenty years, penning their very first book at just eight years old. Publishers generally do not accept manuscripts in Hello Kitty notebooks, however, but they never gave up.

Following the success of their first novel, Cold Hard Cash, they now enjoy writing professionally, focusing on spinning tales of sultry passion, exotic worlds, and emotional journeys. They love attending horror movie conventions and indulging in cosplay of their favorite characters. They live in Zebulon, NC, with their husband and their children, some of whom have paws and a few that only pretend to because they think it’s cute.

Author Links

Blog/Website  |   Facebook  |  Instagram  

Twitter  |  Newsletter Sign-up  |  Patreon 


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Release Blitz + Giveaway: Much Ado About Lady MacBeth by Rebecca Cohen


Cover Design: Garrett Leigh - Black Jazz Design

Jacob Milner might have the face of an angel and the legs of a sinner, but his poisonous tongue would taint even the prettiest visage.

A Shakespearean era enemies to lovers MM Romance

David Bell has risen from the London slums to be one of the up-and-coming stars of the King’s Men, the company of players at the Globe theatre. On the cusp of being too old for female roles, he yearns to play one more part before he leaves the skirts behind: Lady Macbeth. But he is not alone in that desire, and his nemesis, Jacob Milner, a soft-bellied popinjay who has never known day’s work in his life, is also vying for the part. 

Sparks have flown between them before, but the fiery barbs and risqué name calling are hiding a different passion. But even if they do manage to put their animosity behind them, Jacob has another problem, his father is trying to marry him off to the daughter of Baron Runcorn.

REBECCA COHEN spends her days dreaming of a living in a Tudor manor house, or a Georgian mansion. Alas, the closest she comes to this is through her characters in her historical romance novels. She also dreams of intergalactic adventures and fantasy realms, but because she’s not yet got her space or dimensional travel plans finalised, she lives happily in leafy Hertfordshire, England, with her husband and young son. She can often be found with a pen in one hand and sloe gin with lemon tonic in the other.

With contemporaries, historicals, sci fi and fantasy in her back catalogue, there should be something for every taste in Rebecca's work.

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Release Blitz + Giveaway: Origami War by Toni J. Spencer


Title: Origami War

Author: Toni J. Spencer

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 07/19/2022

Heat Level: 1 - No Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 65900

Genre: Sci Fi, LGBTQIA+, YA, lesbian, pansexual, alternate universe, dystopian, dark, coming-of-age, hurt/comfort, sleepwalking, angst, family drama, graphic violence, martial law

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Haunted by her mother’s death, sixteen-year-old Penny sleepwalks by night. By day, she peddles bootleg vodka to rich kids looking for kicks on the wrong side of Brooklyn Bridge, a place reeling in total economic meltdown, strict curfew laws, and violent disarray.

Penny’s chance meeting with Quinn, a rabble-rouser dabbling in counterculture graffiti, sets in motion a deep love affair and the start of a seemingly impossible revolution. Inspired by a childhood memory, the two of them craft powerful messages hidden in the folds of hundreds of paper airplanes. They plan to launch them from the rooftops of derelict buildings even as the unforgiving militia hunts them from below.

Will hope take flight in a crumbling world, or will their efforts devastate them all?


Origami War
Toni J. Spencer © 2022
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One
The streetlights that ran the length of Brooklyn Bridge had long since been defunct, and the nights had become so black even the city in the distance gave nothing away. A scattering of blocks in shadow, like a once-prized Lego set, accumulating dust atop the bookshelf. Occasionally, a spotlight broke from a cloud and ran the gauntlet of alleys and nooks before disappearing from whence it came.

Penny perched precariously on the edge of the bridge gazing across the bay, waiting for her mind to sway back into the present and catch her up on the events of the night. An inhale of breath, her own, sharp and cold, jump-started her brain. The brick in her hand, nuggety and rough, was tied in the middle with twine. Cheap and thin. She fingered it with shivering hands and followed its coil as it snaked around her leg and ended in a bow at the ankle.

The sleepwalking had been escalating in distance and danger over the last few weeks. Where she had once woken in the lobby of her apartment building, sleepy-eyed and drowsy, she now found herself miles from home with knives in hand and blood on her knees. Her present predicament, though, was a new and dark incarnation of her nightmares. To find herself harnessed to a ledge, with wobbly knees and the plight of a harrowing demise, chilled her to the bone. A blush of heat warmed her forehead, trickled down her cheeks, and spread like a fire in her belly. A tear rolled off the end of her nose, and regret overwhelmed her entire being.

She crouched, dropping the brick beside her. The knots, having been tied in a daze, were easy to untangle, and the pain in her fingers, riddled with cuts, was easy to ignore, given the circumstances.

Her breath broke the silence of the night and ushered in an orchestra of sounds that moments ago she had been unaware of. The waves lapped far below. A military chopper thundered in the distance. A footstep slapped the sidewalk. She sprang to her feet and scanned the walkway. Brick in hand. Weapon if necessary.

She heard the voice before she saw the person. Another footfall, a rush of breath.

“Hey,” said the shadow.

Penny jumped. Fear engaged.

The silhouette lifted its arms. “Don’t shoot; I’m harmless.”

Penny raised her brick as the shadow morphed into a human with a perfectly symmetrical face, framed by a mop of unruly hair. The girl was certainly not old enough to be a serial killer, possibly Penny’s age, maybe a year older. Seventeen, eighteen? Her face was kind, and the girl smiled in the darkness. Well, what passed for a smile in these times. How long had this girl been watching her; how much had she seen? Penny lowered her brick before spotting the shopping bag. Did the pretty girl have a severed head in there? She lifted the brick back up.

“You know it’s past curfew,” said the stranger. “You shouldn’t be out here alone.”

“No kidding.” Penny stepped backward, toward Manhattan. Toward home.

“So, what’s with the brick?”

“Protection.” Penny thrust it in her direction, satisfied only when the girl flinched. Not a serial killer after all. She dropped the brick, all the way down.

“Can I have it?”

“No,” said Penny, stupidly possessive. “Get your own brick.”

“I’m not going to kill you with it. I promise.”

There was that smile again.

“What do you want it for?” asked Penny.

The girl lifted her bag and jiggled it. Metal on metal, the sound of a broken bell. “Got some evidence I need to dispose of.”

Penny raised an eyebrow.

“Nothing sinister. Take a look.” The girl tossed the bag at Penny who stepped out of the way so it crashed to the ground. “Nice catch.”

“Wow. A comedian.” Penny hoped the girl registered her sarcasm.

“See,” the girl said, pointing to the spray paint cans that littered the bridge walk. “Not a threat.”

Penny rolled a paint can beneath her shoe. Pink-colored paint. Nothing sinister. “So you’re a vandal, then?”

“Of sorts, although I prefer the term campaigner of freedom.”

“Ha, good luck with that.” Penny handed over the brick despite her obvious disapproval.

The girl crouched at Penny’s feet, shoving the cans back in the bag. She placed the brick on top, tied the package fast, and walked to the edge of the bridge. “So, you’re one of those ‘resistance is futile’ types, then?” she asked.

“I sure am,” Penny said, following her.

“Good luck with that.” The girl grinned as she dropped the bag into the gloom below. Penny shivered as it fell, heard the impact, felt its pain, and when she lifted her eyes, her close physical proximity to the girl surprised her. She should be more careful.

“So you’re just going to pollute the Hudson with empty paint cans?” said Penny.

“Not usually, but I went on quite the bender tonight. If I get busted with these things, it’s lights out for me.”

“That sounds a bit dramatic.”

The girl laughed and offered Penny the palm of her hand. “I’m Quinn.”

Penny hesitated. She was determined to impress upon this girl two things. One, that she had manners enough to not leave this stranger hanging, and two, despite those manners, she was a reluctant participant in this introduction and would protest by way of the limpest handshake known to mankind.

“I’m Penny,” she said, finally accepting Quinn’s handshake.

An unmistakable bolt of electricity shot through Penny’s fingers, and the world spun, just for moment.

“Penny like the coin?” said Quinn.

“Sure. I guess.”

Quinn shook Penny’s hand, apparently unaffected by both the dead-fish salutation and the obvious warmth that emanated from their joined fingers. “Well, Penny like the coin, it’s nice to meet you.”

“I guess,” Penny repeated. “Considering you’re not a serial killer, it’s nice to meet you too.”

Quinn laughed. An authentic, untainted-by-the-crap-of-the-world guffaw.

Something like peace settled inside Penny. A tingle. Was this happiness? It had been so long she couldn’t even remember how it felt.

“Shit.” Quinn shuffled backward, looking skyward. “You hear that?”

A rhythmic pulsing cut through the air, and Penny stiffened. A military chopper hovered somewhere beyond the fog. Stupid idiot. How had she been so careless? The peacemakers had no love for curfew breakers. If she and Quinn were caught, they’d be thrown into a displacement camp and processed for unruly behavior. Rumors of cruel and unusual punishments were rife in those places, the stuff of nightmares. The ripping off of fingernails, plucking out of eyes, scalping of heads. Yet the truth of it all was irrelevant. Gossip or not, Penny’s trick was simple enough—to not get caught and to never find out.


NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

o jump on the couch, eat wiToni J Spencer is an avid daydreamer and eternal optimist. When she’s not encouraging her two children tth their fingers, or understand the power of using swear words in context, she writes. Toni has several award-winning short stories under her belt, and once the procrastinating is done and dusted, plans to turn most of them into novels.

Despite calling New Zealand home, Toni considers herself a citizen of the world and dreams about the day when she can once again stuff her backpack full of short-shorts and furry jackets and head out in search of adventure and friends unmet.

Origami War is Toni’s first published novel and was mostly written in the witching hour during a serious bout of insomnia. She figures she’ll have plenty of time to sleep when she is dead.

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Release Blitz + Giveaway: Cock and Bull by Megan Slayer


Title: Cock & Bull

Author: Megan Slayer

Publisher: Changeling Press LLC

Release Date: July 16, 2022

Heat Level: 5 - Erotica

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 16 pages

Genre: Erotica, Gay, BDSM, Kindle Unlimited, Multiple Partners

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Warning: This is a Razor's Edge Monster Erotica Story. Expect limited plot and character development, and lots of paranormal heat. If you're looking for a lengthy plot driven erotic romance, this is not it!

After two years as an exotic male dancer-slash-fetish entertainer, Flynn’s ready for his last night at the Randy Stallion Men’s Club to be over, but someone’s got a special surprise in store for him. More than one someone.

Can Flynn handle the heat, or will it burn him alive? Anything is possible in the club.


All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2022 Megan Slayer

"You've got a customer."

Flynn stopped short, bumping into another dancer. "Customer?" He shifted his hips. The plug in his ass moved as well and rubbed against his prostate. Fuck. Wearing the damned toy all day just about killed him, but he'd do whatever the Master wanted.

Avery fisted his hands on his svelte hips. He cocked his head and set his jaw. "It's Saturday night, Bull Durham. Really. Don't tell me that toy up your ass made you forget, or are you thinking about what's gonna happen later on tonight?"

"I didn't think you could see it." Flynn's cheeks burned. He'd worn a G-string to disguise the toy lodged in his butt.

"It's hard not to see that huge red stone shining in your ass. Deryck's a lucky man. And yes, I check out your ass. It's a nice ass to look at. Sue me."

Gritting his teeth, Flynn pushed past Avery and marched to the hallway lined with private rooms. Yes, Avery was his friend and knew a lot about him, but double fuck. He'd rather be at home with Deryck than at the club. And anyway, what kind of stage name was Bull Durham? It was a movie, not a name for a stripper at a fetish club. Served him right for wearing the damn baseball cap when he applied for the job of exotic male dancer-slash-fetish entertainer. And what did he have to show for his exotic job? Some days, it felt like nothing at all.

The money was usually worth it, but not today. Deryck had said he had a surprise. Said Flynn needed to wear the plug all day. And who was Flynn to back down from one of Deryck's commands?

Flynn shivered. Deryck was the love of his life. As soon as he could quit the Randy Stallion Men's Club, Flynn would be outta there.

"Flynn?" Avery stopped beside him and waved his hand in front of Flynn's face. "You in there?"

Flynn nodded. He should've asked which room he needed to go to, but for the past two years he'd worked at the Stallion, he'd only ever used the last playroom -- Room 6 -- and only with select clients who didn't want something extra. Flynn growled. Since he'd hooked up with Deryck, he didn't play the field. He wasn't in the mood to dance for some drunk or a gaggle of women wanting to grope him. He wanted a particular set of hands on his body, ones with the power to bring him to his knees and make him come harder than ever before.

But Deryck was at home, probably up to his eyeballs in legal documents. The man worked way too hard for his money. One day they'd have a house, and Flynn would be home to do all the domestic things he loved while Deryck practiced law. Flynn shivered and bit back a groan.

Just thinking of Deryck in his tailored suit made Flynn rock-hard.

Purchase at Amazon

Meet the Author

Megan Slayer, aka Wendi Zwaduk, is a multi-published, award-winning author of more than one-hundred short stories and novels. She’s been writing since 2008 and published since 2009. Her stories range from the contemporary and paranormal to LGBTQ and white hot themes. No matter what the length, her works are always hot, but with a lot of heart. She enjoys giving her characters a second chance at love, no matter what the form. She’s been nominated at the LRC for Best Author, Best Contemporary, Best Ménage, Best BDSM and Best Anthology. Her books have made it to the bestseller lists on various e-tailer sites.

When she’s not writing, Megan spends time with her husband and son as well as three dogs and three cats. She enjoys art, music and racing, but football is her sport of choice. She’s an active member of the Friends of the Keystone-LaGrange Public library.

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Review: Pack of Lies (Monster Hunt#1) by Charlie Adhara

Werewolf meets human. Werewolf snubs human. Werewolf loves human?

Julien Doran arrived in sleepy Maudit Falls, North Carolina, with a heart full of hurt and a head full of questions. The key to his brother's mysterious last days might be found in this tiny town, and now Julien's amateur investigation is starting to unearth things the locals would rather keep buried.

Perhaps most especially the strange, magnetic manager of a deserted retreat that's nearly as odd as its staff.

Eli Smith is a lot of things: thief, werewolf, glamour-puss, liar. And now the manager of a haven for rebel pack runaways. He’s spent years cultivating a persona to disguise his origins, but for the first time ever he’s been entrusted with a real responsibility—and he plans to take that seriously.

Even if the handsome tourist who claims to be in town for some R & R is clearly on a hunt for all things paranormal. And hasn't taken his brooding gaze off Eli since he's arrived.

When an old skeleton and a fresh corpse turn a grief errand into a murder investigation, the unlikely Eli is the only person Julien can turn to. Trust is hard to come by in a town known for its monsters, but so is time…

A satisfying spinoff to the Big Bad Wolf series, but by no means is this recommended to read as a standalone only because one would be missing out on a rich paranormal romantic suspense with a top notch couple who set the stage for this new saga.

Here, Eli, a werewolf with secret shifting abilities even among his own kind, has been granted a huge responsibility by Cooper and Oliver from the aforementioned series. He’s been made manager of a mountainous resort designated as a safe place for rebel wolves who are trying to make a new start. Eli personally has a lot to prove, and it seems that many different parties do not want him to succeed.

Then there’s Julian. His dead brother left him a cryptic message leading him to the very area where Eli resides. Julian simply wants to soothe his guilt and find some answers, but strange things are afoot and he discovers that he has no choice but to ally himself with the charmingly enigmatic and alluring Eli. Make no bones about it, Eli is a self proclaimed island, and though he finds Julian intriguing, he deflects like nobody’s business, but that’s because of reasons. So many reasons.

Be reassured that Adhara doesn’t shy away from what drives these two men - the traumas of their pasts (especially) Eli), their hesitance to trust and/or believe that they actually matter, and the drive for validation. The author also always succeeds at delivering a complex mystery with plenty of suspects, compelling characterizations and motivations, and a slow burn that shows off impeccable signature wit and banter.

Action, suspense, and emotional vulnerability run rampant, and thus, this was a definitive win. Adhara has quickly made herself a top favorite author of mine, and though Eli and Julian are no Cooper and Oliver, reassuringly they don’t fall very far from the mark. Thankfully, the conclusion sets up a new mystery that hints at being long in the running, and I’ll be sure to return to find more answers and to see this new duo get their happy ending with each other as well!

Release Blitz + Giveaway: Double Exposure (Pōneke Shadows #1) by Anne Barwell



Book Title:  Double Exposure

Author: Anne Barwell

Publisher:  LaceDragon Publishing 

Cover Artist: T.L. Bland

Release Date: July 11, 2022

Genre: Paranormal, Mystery, Detective, MM Romance

Tropes: Found family, fated mates, romantic suspense

Themes: Family, acceptance

Heat Rating:  4 flames 

Length: 73 000 words/179 pages

Although it’s part of a shared world, it can be read and enjoyed alone. 

It’s the first in a spin-off series of The Sleepless City and does not end on a cliffhanger.


Buy Links - Available in Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK  |  Universal Link 


Pōneke Shadows Book 1

Vampires and werewolves live long lives. The Sleepless City saga might have ended but the story continues…

Someone is hunting supernaturals. 

Vampire Simon Hawthorne and his human partner Ben Leyton’s plans for a peaceful holiday with family are hijacked by the New Zealand Supernatural Council.  

Tensions are on the rise in Wellington. Supernatural councillors are disappearing. Werewolves are suspicious of anyone human or vampire. If they don’t work together, their enemy has already won. 

And no one with a connection to the supernatural world is safe. 


Rupert looked mildly affronted. “I am not in hiding. The council were trying to get me involved, and I make a point of not getting mixed up in their politics, whatever the cost, considering that cost is usually too high for anyone but them.”

“You’re hiding from the council?” Ben asked. “I can understand that. They hijacked Simon’s delivery at Auckland airport, then blackmailed him into helping them.”

“If this is supposed to surprise me, you’re a few centuries late with that titbit of information,” Rupert said. “I have yet to meet a council I enjoyed doing business with. Though there was that group of werewolves in rural Japan a couple of hundred years ago that—”

“Why are you here?” Simon cut Rupert off before he could start on one of his stories. Although neither he nor Marion would admit it, they shared a predilection for embellishing stories about their pasts.

Rupert fished a large envelope from his pocket and handed it to Simon. “This is the information I have, but it’s not a lot. They cover their tracks well, apart from that massacre in Brisbane nearly ten years ago. There is someone in Wellington who provides a safe haven to anyone in our community who asks for it. Nothing much happens in the area that Elard doesn’t know about. You should talk to him.”

“You’re not going to help?” Ben asked

“Heavens, no.” Rupert raised an eyebrow. “At least Simon knows better than to ask that.”

“Rupert’s better at staying in the shadows and orchestrating things from afar. If we need help, I’m sure he’ll be there...” Simon glanced at Rupert. “… but only on his own terms. I’d ask him to join our team, but it would be a waste of time.”

“Totally a waste of time.” Rupert grinned and nodded towards both of them in turn. “Now, I must be off. I’ll be in touch. Watch yourselves, gentlemen. I don’t enjoy funerals.” He blurred towards the door. It opened, then closed behind him, and then he was gone.

“He’s kind of how I remember him, but not,” Ben said slowly.

“The not, would be because you didn’t know what he was then. He’s not hiding it now, though he’s never completely upfront about anything.” Simon emptied the envelope, took a pile of neatly typewritten sheets to read, and gave the rest to Ben to look through. “Rupert’s always had his own agenda. It’s how he’s managed to survive so long.”

“Uh-huh.” Ben shook the papers he held. “There’s something loose in here.” A small card fell to the floor. He picked it up and his eyes widened. “It’s a business card, so guessing it’s Elard’s.”

“And?” Simon asked, knowing there must be an ‘and’.

“He’s a Catholic priest.” Ben read the words on the card out loud. “Fr Elard Reith, St Ansgar’s Parish, Newtown. We help those who ask.” He groaned. “Oh great, I was hoping to avoid Uncle Martin while I was here.”

“Uncle Martin?” Simon asked. Ben had mentioned him once or twice, but he’d got the impression Ben’s father’s brother wasn’t that close to the rest of the family.

“Yeah. He lives across the road from St Ansgar’s and always acts like he knows stuff the rest of us don’t.”

“Perhaps he does.” Simon got up to pour some more tea.

“I hope not.” Ben didn’t look happy. “It’s starting to feel like however hard we try to keep my family out of all this, fate is making damn sure they keep barging in.”

About the Author 

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with a cat with “tortitude” who is convinced that the house is run to suit her; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date it appears as though Kaylee may be winning. Anne works in a library, is an avid reader and watcher of a wide range of genres, and is constantly on the look-out for more hours in her day. She likes to write in series and even so called one shots seem to breed more plot bunnies. Her writing is like her reading - across a range of genres, although her favourites are paranormal, fantasy, SF, and historical. Music often plays a part in her stories and/or her characters are musicians.

She also hosts and reviews for other authors, and writes monthly blog posts for Love Bytes.  She is the co-founder of the New Zealand Rainbow Romance writers, and a member of RWNZ.   Her books have received honourable mentions five times, reached the finals four times—one of which was for best gay book—and been a runner up in the Rainbow Awards.  

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