Blog Tour + Giveaway: Higher (Hot for the Holidays #2) by Roz Alexander


Higher - Roz Alexander

Roz Alexander has a new FF holiday romance out: Higher. And there's a Giveaway.

Where do dreams go to wait?

Tali Blue is definitely going back to finish her last semester of rabbinical school...eventually. When she moved back to her hometown seven years ago to help her grandparents raise her younger sisters, she planned on it being temporary. Now though, she has a stable job and a stable life surrounded by the people she's known forever. It's all just fine - and then there's the incredibly annoying surprise of Maple.

Maple never meant to be successful. She just wanted to make weird art and practice her Ladino. And just like that, 15 years of adulthood has built a solid career, a great reputation as an art instructor, and a lackluster love life. It doesn't help that she's been spending all her free time consumed with making it as a Sephardic Jew into the Jewish art world that never seems to have space for her. And it definitely doesn't help that she's strictly a butch-for-butch queer. And then comes a sex goddess in the form of short, chunky, smoking hot, and incredibly nervous, butch, Tali Blue.

When Tali's love of family, Maple's art ambitions, and a Rosh Hashanah effort to #savethebees force these two together, both of them may learn that the only way out is up, together. This new year the honey is dripping on a lot more than apples. Higher is a steamy, butch-for-butch, grump-sunshine sapphic romance about what happens when you choose to take your dreams higher.

About the Series:

This entire Hot for the Holidays series is about queer Jewish people (and the people who love them) falling in love and having hot, explicit sex that can be read in any order and all year round.

Universal Buy Link | Goodreads


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Higher meme

Forty-five minutes later Tali was done ha-cha-cha-ing down the hot oatmeal, scrubbing every inch of her body, and blow drying her short hair into something resembling a nice coif. She exited the bathroom into her bedroom, not unlocking the bathroom door into Anna’s room. Let her have to walk around as payback! It was a holdover from childhood when Beth and Anna played pranks on each other and Tali.

She was about to whip off the towel and dive into her closet for an outfit when she realized Maple was sitting on her bed. Looking at her.

She gripped the towel tighter, conscious of how it barely met across her hips. “What are you doing in here!”

“Want me to avert my gaze?” Maple’s tone was pure hunger, even while a teasing glint shone in her eyes.

“Why are you always early to everything? It’s ridiculous! Did Anna send you up?”

“Why are you always so late? And, yes. Both of your sisters did. I’m sure they’ll find this amusing that I made it just in time.” She stood and took a step toward Tali, who backed up, her shoulders and ass meeting the doorframe. “You don’t look embarrassed though, so maybe you’re as amused.”

“It’s a towel, why would I be embarrassed?” Tali swallowed around a surprising lump in her throat. And had it suddenly gotten much warmer in the room? She glanced over to double check she’d remembered to close the windows that morning. Yep, shut tight. The AC must be off or something.

“What is this look then? Is it your tell?” Maple was practically purring, a sound Tali didn’t realize humans were capable of until that moment.

“I’m great at poker. No tells here.” But her voice was growing faint, which indeed seemed to be a tell all on its own.

“No? What about me?” Maple was almost on top of her now, and Tali was torn between putting a hand out to stop her, and gripping her floral button-up to pull her closer. So many of their conversations took place over the phone and through text. Having her there, in front of her, reminded her how handsome and tall she was. How strong her arms looked. How irritating that smirk was. “If I wanted to kiss you, for example. What would my tell be?”

“Uh.” Tali felt herself at a crossroads. Maybe one they’d been at for some time. “You lick your lip.”

Maple startled at that, the smooth top energy sliding away for a moment while she considered that information. “In a sexy way?”

And here was the moment Tali knew it was up to her to choose what path they’d take. She wasn’t sure how to move forward in either direction, so she chose honesty. “Yes.”

Maple’s smile was staggering before it turned dangerous. She placed a hand on the wall above Tali’s shoulder and leaned in until they were a whisper apart. And then she slid her tongue slowly across her bottom lip, staring into Tali’s eyes.

“Yes,” was all Tali could manage. Yes, like that. Yes, please kiss me. Yes, I want this. Yes, yes, yes.

Maple’s other hand slid up the side of the towel, reaching the top and tucking her fingers under its edge. The look she gave Tali turned to one seeking permission. And Tali was going to give it, was going to enthusiastically consent to whatever came next, was going to…

“TALI!” Beth shouted as she swung the bedroom door open. “You locked the go—”

Tali moved faster than she could ever remember moving in her life. She meant to spin back into the bathroom and slam the door behind her, but Maple’s hand was still tucked into the towel.

So, instead, she pulled herself free of the fabric, falling naked onto the cool blue tile. Maple, eyes round as the moon, spun away from her, holding up the towel to block the sight from Beth while she managed to move forward and shut the door with her foot.

Forget every embarrassing moment before this. This is how I die of embarrassment. There’s no coming back from this. Beth will literally never let me live this down. And Maple…

Tali groaned and rolled around on the floor helplessly. She was stuck in here without her towel and with no clothing. Maybe she’d take up sewing and emerge one day in a beautiful button-up and slacks made out of the Moomins shower curtain.

Author Bio

Roz Alexander

They are a physically/progressively disabled, white, trans person with ADHD and have more interests than time in the day. You can find them spoiling their three terrible cat-beasts; connecting to their Jewish culture through moon-worship, plantcraft, and cooking traditions; and making weird art when they're not writing or stewarding a native pollinator garden with their beshert.

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Release Blitz + Giveaway: Trusting Tennyson (Out in Austin #3) by KD Ellis


Trusting Tennyson by KD Ellis

General Release Date: 9th August 2022

Word Count:  92,524
Book Length: SUPER NOVEL
Pages: 363



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Book Description

Tennyson thought this would be just another undercover assignment. Catching feelings for two traumatized men wasn’t part of the plan.

When FBI Agent Liam Tennyson was embedded in the La Familia cartel, he didn’t expect to meet not one but two young men whose terrified eyes haunt his dreams—and stir up feelings he thought long buried.

Asher Downs left his homophobic family behind the day he earned his high school diploma. With little more than a bus ticket to his name, he moves to Austin to meet his online boyfriend, Devon. Unfortunately for Asher, life doesn’t always go according to plan.

Misha might have been born as Dimitri, but now he answers to whatever name Master gives him. Snaring another innocent young man into this life is the last thing Misha desires. But Master gets what Master wants—and Master wants a matching set of toys to play with.

When a mole in the justice department compromises Tennyson’s identity—and jeopardizes his plan to rescue Misha and Asher—Tennyson is left with no choice but to go on the lam. Can the two traumatized boys learn to trust him to keep them safe?

Reader advisory: This book references child trafficking, abuse and Daddy play. It is best read as book three in a series.


The boy on the screen was pretty. Blond, with copper-lined blue eyes—cornflower, not steel—and pouty lips made shiny from gloss, he looked like a doll. Men would pay thousands to fuck him and even more to fuck him up. It wasn’t hard to see why Master was enamored.

Misha hated him. Misha hated everything the boy stood for on the other end of a computer screen, thousands of miles away. He probably lived in some nice suburb with a white picket fence, with parents who paid for braces without complaint, drove him to swim classes and sat down for family dinners consisting of more than just oatmeal and water.

Misha hated his amateur videos that taught boys how to apply makeup, his comparisons of drugstore makeup brands and his mock fashion shows as he strutted around in skirts and heels and lacy blouses.

If the boy weren’t so pretty, if his videos hadn’t gotten so popular, he could have stayed under the radar and Misha would still be Master’s favorite.

The best whore.

The prettiest.

The most obedient.

The good boy.

Instead of sitting there, Master’s breath damp on the back of his neck while Misha crept his fingers over the keyboard to lure in his replacement. The pretty boy must get thousands of messages a day. Maybe Misha’s wouldn’t register, buried beneath the rest. Maybe he’d get it but not reply, and Misha would be safe.

Master’s attention, and his hands on Misha’s body, might terrify him, but not as much as the idea of losing it.

* * * *

Asher Downs rattled his bedroom doorknob for the third time, just in case it had somehow come unlocked. Then, and only then, with his heart pounding in his chest, did he drag out the old Nike shoebox from under his bed, the one that used to hold his soccer cleats. Now, it hid his makeup case.

It was plastic and cheap, much like the makeup inside, odds and ends he’d bought discounted at the drugstore on the corner with change he’d picked up from the sidewalk and pilfered from the ashtray in the Buick, one lonely quarter at a time.

With reverence, he carried the case over to his desk-turned-vanity. The mirror was a cheap thing, bought on sale because it was cracked, the glass spiderwebbed from the top of the frame down one side. When his parents were home, he kept it tucked in the back of the closet, under a ratty baseball jersey he’d outgrown as a preteen.

His phone was already secured in his makeshift tripod—leaning against a book, the bottom half-inch tucked behind a two-pound dumbbell so it wouldn’t slide forward. As soon as he laid out his makeup, he could start the video.

His lipstick was barely a nub of pink in the cracked tube, his eyeshadow more dust than pigment. Even his foundation wasn’t quite right—a bit too dry and a little too light for his sun-kissed, boy-next-door skin, tanned from playing football each summer with the church youth group.

These broken beauties were his prized possessions, worth more to him than the collectible baseball cards in their little plastic sleeves on his bookshelf or the signed poster of Kobe that his dad had been so excited to hang up when Asher had started high school.

Before Asher had gotten caught kissing the captain of the basketball team under the bleachers.

Before the mandatory after-school meetings with Pastor Luke twice a week to ‘examine his soul’.

Now, his little brother Ryder wasn’t even allowed in the same room with him, his dad could barely look at him without scowling and his mother locked the cabinet doors in the bathroom as if she needed to hide her feminine products from his perverted eyes. She should have locked her makeup away instead, back when he’d been a boy and had first discovered the magic it held.

The way a bit of shadow could make his eyes piercing, soften his jaw or sharpen his cheekbones… How a little color could make him look happy, even when inside he felt like dying.

He’d come a long way since the first time he’d decided to film himself doing this, a silent protest against his parents that he’d devised under the influence of Dad’s bitter liquor, pilfered from the expensive stash he kept on top of the fridge. He hadn’t expected the video to go viral.

Now, he filmed sober, but nerves still birthed butterflies in his stomach. The fear of getting caught, which had him rattling his doorknob again, mingled with the excitement of watching his view counter tick steadily upward. He had almost a hundred thousand subscribers now, enough to put a little money into the secret bank account he’d opened as soon as he’d turned eighteen.

He could use it for better makeup or a ring light, but he was saving it to escape, maybe move out West, somewhere he wouldn’t have to hide anymore. He’d dipped into it once already for a better laptop after his old one had crapped out. He was going to need to upgrade his phone soon, too—an expense he couldn’t avoid but was delaying as long as he was able. His subscribers were already starting to comment on the graininess of the videos, and those wouldn’t take long to become complaints.

Mom promised he could stay with them until he graduated, but that was it, leaving him with just over a month to get a plan in place. College was out of the question. Unlike his younger brother Ryder, he wasn’t a computer genius who already had a dozen scholarships to choose from, and unlike they would for Ryder, Mom and Dad would never cover his expenses.

If he wanted out, he was going to have to do it on his own, a thought that finally motivated him to draw in a breath, plaster on a smile and push the red circle to start filming.

“Everything sucks and we’re all dying, but I’m going to look pretty doing it. Who’s ready to play with the pretty paint and give themselves a plus ten to their charisma check?” Asher jumped in with his quirky and somewhat nerdy greeting, smothering his real-world concerns beneath the joy that he got from doing makeup.

It wouldn’t last long—only until the video ended—but for now, for these handful of minutes, he was going to enjoy it.

Buy Links

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About the Author

KD Ellis

KD Ellis is a professional cat wrangler by day, and an author by night. She moved from a small town to an even smaller village to live with her husband and wife and their two children. She loves reading—anything with men loving men. She writes queer romance in between working her two jobs and cuddling her pets—all six of them, which confuses the turtle.


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Release Blitz + Giveaway: Horribly Harry (Bad Boyfriends, Inc. #2) by Lisa Henry & Sarah Honey


Horribly Harry by Lisa Henry & Sarah Honey

Book 2 in the Bad Boyfriends, Inc. series

Word Count: 65,288
Book Length: NOVEL
Pages: 253



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Book Description


Bad Boyfriend, Inc—when you can’t find a good boyfriend, why not hire a bad one instead?

To supplement his income while he’s completing his Early Education degree, Harry Townsend hires himself out as a terrible date—for a set fee, he’ll horrify parents and family members in all sorts of interesting ways. But when it comes to actual relationships—and sex—Harry doesn’t get the appeal. He doesn’t get the same tingly feelings everyone else seems to when they meet someone attractive, and he’s fine with that. He’d rather spend his evenings watching TV anyway.

Jack Windsor abandoned his uni degree to do an apprenticeship as a mechanic, much to his parents’ dismay. He’s happy with his choices, but leaving uni meant losing his accommodation, and now he’s crashing on his sister Mia’s couch. It isn’t ideal, but it’s only until he finds something else—which is proving difficult in Sydney’s brutal rental market.

When Jack almost kills Harry with a strawberry smoothie, he discovers that not only was Harry’s disastrous date with Mia a set up, but that Harry is looking for a roommate. Moving in with Harry is great, if only he wasn’t so distractingly cute—and totally uninterested in Jack. Except as they grow closer as friends, for the first time in his life, Harry tells Jack he’s developing feelings for him—tingly ones.

But how can Harry and Jack be together when Jack’s family thinks that Harry is the worst human being in the universe? And how can Jack convince them that his Bad Boyfriend is the best boyfriend he’s ever had, without admitting that Mia hired him to be terrible to them? When an approaching family event brings everything to a head, Jack’s going to have to step up to prove to Harry that he wants him in his life. And it might just take some bad timing, some good luck and the ugliest suit known to mankind.


“Hello, Beryl,” Harry said through clenched teeth as he slid the garish Hawaiian shirt onto the counter.

Beryl narrowed her one good eye at him. “Mr Townsend. I believe you’re banned from this shop.”

Harry stared her down as he lifted his chin. “No. I spoke to Agnes, and she said that you’re not in charge so you can’t ban anyone. And she said, ‘looking at someone funny’ wasn’t grounds for a ban anyway.”

A flicker of fear passed through her good eye and, he thought, something almost like admiration, too. She clearly never would have thought he’d have the balls to go above her head to Agnes, but she’d underestimated him and his need for this incredibly ugly Hawaiian shirt. It was blue, with a typical background of islands and boats and palm trees and flowers, but what made it truly terrible was that, at one time, it had been someone’s custom gag gift. Harry had no idea whose grinning face it was that had been printed all over the fabric, but the second he’d seen it hanging in the slightly grimy front window of the Newtown Op Shop, he’d known he had to have it. The guy on the shirt had a combover. It was perfect!

Beryl’s mouth pressed into a thin, wrinkled line as she tugged the shirt over and inspected the tag. “Twenty dollars,” she announced.

“It says five.”

Beryl reached up and adjusted her not-even-close-to-flesh-coloured eyepatch. She told people she’d recently had cataract surgery, but Harry suspected she was hiding an evil eye. The sort that would melt people’s faces off if she looked at them. “Agnes might be the manager, but I’m in charge of pricing, and this shirt is twenty dollars.”

She picked up a pen from the jar beside the cash register and changed the price.

“I need that shirt!”

Her sour mouth turned up in a grin. “And you can have it, for twenty dollars.” She tapped the handwritten sign taped to the side of the register—No arguing with staff.

“That sign wasn’t there last week.”

Beryl’s grin widened. “I wrote it when I saw you at the door.”

Harry gasped. “But I really need that shirt, Beryl! Please!”

She unpeeled the sign from the register, wrote Or begging on it, then stuck it back up.

Harry drew a deep breath, then wished he hadn’t, because, like all op shops, this one smelled musty and weird. He pulled his wallet out of the pocket of his jeans. It was depressingly thin. He tugged out a twenty, watching Beryl’s eye light up with victory, then hummed and put it back. “Actually, I think I’ll save my money.”

Beryl glowered at him.

“Yeah,” Harry said, even though she hadn’t asked him anything. “I came past the bakery on the way here, and they were just icing the coffee scrolls. I might have to buy a couple. They’re so good. They always sell out really quickly, don’t they? Like, there probably won’t be any left at all in about twenty minutes, once word gets out on the street.”

Beryl’s sweet tooth was legendary, and it was the only sweet thing about her. She looked at her watch.

“Oh, well,” Harry said. “I guess I’ll just…browse some more. Maybe find something in my price range.”

He stared at her and she stared back at him.

He sighed. “It’ll probably take me a while. A good, long while.”

Beryl vibrated with murderous rage.

Four minutes later and five dollars poorer, he was stepping outside the op shop with the ugly Hawaiian shirt in his backpack.

When he wore it, it was going to feel like victory.

* * * *

Harry met Angie Lau outside the old geology building where she was sitting with a group of friends. She was short and button-nosed, and wearing a bright pink sweater with a cat on it. Harry was tempted to show her his amazingly ugly Hawaiian shirt, then thought he’d better not, just in case she wasn’t wearing the sweater ironically.

“Hi, I’m Harry.”

Angie’s friends looked him up and down speculatively. Angie sighed and shoved her lunch containers into a tote bag before climbing to her feet. “I’m Angie. Let’s go talk over here.”

Harry walked with her to the shade of a large tree. “When we talked on the phone, you said you were interested in a lunch date? With your parents, right?”

Angie chewed on her bottom lip and bobbed her head in a nod.

“Tell me about them,” he suggested. “What are you looking for out of this? Do you have a boyfriend they don’t approve of?”

Her eyes grew large. “No! I don’t have a boyfriend. I don’t want a boyfriend. I want to do my Master’s, but my dad is super old-fashioned and thinks that if I study any more my womb will shrivel up and fall out, and my mum agrees with him, and last week we were arguing and I said I was sick of them trying to set me up with every nice Chinese boy they meet, and Mum said that wasn’t true, and they’d be happy with literally any boy I dated, as long as I found one.” She stopped at last and drew a breath. “I’m babbling, aren’t I?”

“It’s fine,” Harry assured her. “So you want to test that theory?”

Angie rolled her eyes. “It’s so stupid! But they’re driving me nuts, and my friend Anna said she knew this girl who hired this fake boyfriend who was a theatre kid, and…” She shrugged. “And here I am.”

“That would be Ambrose,” he said. “I took over from him. Okay, so basically you want to turn up to lunch with a boyfriend who is so awful they’ll be happier you’re single, right?”

She flashed him an anxious smile. “Right.”

“Okay,” he said. “So, the deal is, you pay for my lunch and also my fee on top of that. I have like a sliding scale thing, depending on how big you want me to go, or if I have to get anyone else involved.”

Her brow crinkled. “Anyone else?”

“Yeah, for an extra fifty my housemate will turn up and say he’s my parole officer and remind me that I can’t be within two hundred metres of a school.”

Angie’s eyes grew even larger.

“For an extra hundred, he’ll pretend to be a detective and arrest me on a warrant.”

“Oh, wow. I don’t think any of that is necessary.”

“Okay, then. What flavour of awful did you want? Ambrose specialised in ‘hot but an asshole’ but, well”—Harry gestured to his distinctly un-muscled physique—“I’m built in a way that lends itself more towards awkwardly terrible. Bad clothes, bad past, ‘society’s out to get me’ kind of thing. Would you prefer me to be unemployed, or working at something really questionable?”

Angie gave a grin that was ever so slightly evil. “Definitely unemployed. And if you could turn up late and drunk, that’d be ideal.”

“Easy done.” Harry nodded. “I do a great sloppy drunk. Now, let’s talk rates.”

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About the Author

Lisa Henry

Lisa likes to tell stories, mostly with hot guys and happily ever afters.

Lisa lives in tropical North Queensland, Australia. She doesn’t know why, because she hates the heat, but she suspects she’s too lazy to move. She spends half her time slaving away as a government minion, and the other half plotting her escape.

She attended university at sixteen, not because she was a child prodigy or anything, but because of a mix-up between international school systems early in life. She studied History and English, neither of them very thoroughly.

Lisa has been published since 2012, and was a LAMBDA finalist for her quirky, awkward coming-of-age romance Adulting 101, and a Rainbow Awards finalist for 2019’s Anhaga.

Find out more at Lisa's website and blog. You can follow her on Bookbub and sign up to her newsletter.

Sarah Honey

Sarah started life in New Zealand. She came to Australia for a working holiday, loved it, and never left. She lives in Western Australia with her partner, two cats, two dogs and a life-size replica TARDIS.

She spends half her time at a day job and the rest of her time reading and writing about clueless men falling in love.

Her proudest achievements include having adult kids who will still be seen with her in public, the ability to make a decent sourdough loaf, and knowing all the words to Bohemian Rhapsody.

Awfully Ambrose will be her fifth published novel in collaboration with Lisa Henry.


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Blog Tour + Giveaway: Again: Fox Hollow Zodiac Novel 2 by Morgan Brice



Book Title: Again: Fox Hollow Zodiac Novel 2–MM Shifter Romance Suspense

Author: Morgan Brice

Publisher: Darkwind Press

Cover Artist: Adrijus Guscia, cover wrap by Natania Barron

Release Date: July 5, 2022

Genres: Urban fantasy, MM shifter romance suspense

Tropes: Shifters, one true pairing (OTP), reincarnation, fated mates, mating bites, psychics, magic, curses, hurt/comfort, found family, 

Themes: Long-distance relationship, having faith in each other, knowing you can depend on each other, navigating a new relationship

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 247 pages

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


Buy Links - Available in Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK 

The fast, furry, and furious! A lynx shifter, pursued by a cryptid trophy hunter. A wolf shifter desperate to rescue a lover who's not just his fated mate—but his one true pairing across past lives. And a love that transcends time.


The fast, furry, and furious! A lynx shifter, pursued by a cryptid trophy hunter. A wolf shifter desperate to rescue a lover who's not just his fated mate—but his one true pairing across past lives. And a love that transcends time.

Lynx shifter Noah Wilson narrowly escaped being captured by the Huntsman. While recuperating in Fox Hollow, he meets his fated mate, wolf shifter Drew Lowe.

Noah has to return to Canada to finish filming his TV projects, so he and Drew visit when they can and come up with creative solutions to their long-distance relationship. Noah and Drew are sure they're meant for each other and start making plans.

Drew's dreams make him wonder if he and Noah are more than fated mates—could they be a true pairing, destined to find each other lifetime after lifetime?

Then Noah accidentally records a murder, and the killer is on his trail. Can he elude a master tracker and reach the safety of Fox Hollow, or will he and Drew have to wait to find happiness in another life?

Again is a thrill-packed MM shifter romance adventure full of sexy shifters, hurt/comfort, one true pairing, reincarnation, sincere psychics, hunky mechanics, first responders, a sexy wildlife photographer, found family, and fated mates.


“I wish you could see this view in person—except for how cold it is.” Noah snapped a photo that didn’t do the colors of dawn justice, and sent it with his text to Drew.

He waited for a reply and realized Drew probably wasn’t awake yet. No one in their right mind is up at this hour.

He’d made the best of the cramped hotel room, knowing from experience to bring an extra blanket, good pillow, books, and power strips. Hotels never had enough outlets to charge his cameras. Fortunately, travel wasn’t a constant, but staying overnight to get the right light or have time to set up cameras happened fairly often.

Will that be a problem with Drew? Will he resent my photography? It’s a demanding job.

Noah cleaned his lenses and checked his batteries as he packed his day bag. Travel made it easy to find overnight company without entanglement, and he’d long ago grown tired of waking up alone. He’d had a serious relationship back in film school, which fizzled after graduation. There were a few boyfriends who lasted more than a month or two, but his irregular hours always ended up being more than anyone wanted to deal with for long.

Can it be different with Drew? We felt such an immediate bond—I’ve never had a connection like that with anyone. It’s like we’ve known each other forever.

“Of course. We’re fated mates,” his lynx reminded him, as if Noah could forget.

He smiled, thinking of their conversation that ended only a few hours ago. It wasn’t just the sex—although that was combustible in a way Noah had never experienced before. Everything took on a different light when it involved Drew. Talking about the trivial activities of the day wasn’t boring. Sharing a movie or even reading the same book and talking about their reactions now felt satisfying and fun.

I’m a Cancer—we’re protective and defend our family. Except I don’t really have any. 

Noah didn’t have many living relatives. His father had vanished when he was young, and his mother died two years ago from a bad heart. He had a brother and sister, but they drifted apart, and Noah hadn’t heard from them in years. He wasn’t sure he even had valid addresses for them. 

Drew is my mate. He’s my family now. And he has Russ and Liam and their friends. A pack. Someday, they’ll be my pack.

Clowder, his lynx sniffed. Lynxes have a clowder, not a pack.

Sounds like soup.

Clowder is not chowder, silly human. But we could vote to let Drew be an honorary lynx and join.

Vote? Who—you and me? 

We are the only ones in our clowder now. It would be nice to add our mate—even if he is a dog.



I’ve fallen hard. And it should scare me. But it doesn’t. When I worry that he might not feel the same, I can’t breathe

About the Author

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

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

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

Author Links

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Read a copy of my Badlands short story Restless Nights here for free


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one of two ebooks of Huntsman (book 1 in the series)

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Release Blitz + Giveaway: Captured (Cold Love #1) by Scarlet Blackwell



Book Title: Captured (Cold Love, Book 1)

Author: Scarlet Blackwell

Publisher: Scarlet Books

Cover Artist: B4Jay

Release Date: August 8, 2022

Genre: Contemporary small-town m/m romance, crime/thriller

Tropes: Enemies to lovers

Themes: Forced proximity, hurt/comfort, angst

Heat Rating: 4 flames   

Length: 46 000 words

It is book 1 in the Cold Love series, but does not end on a cliffhanger. (HEA)


Buy Links - Available in Kindle Unlimited 

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK

“I’m not going anywhere until I’ve slept in your nice warm bed. If you haven’t got an electric blanket, I’ll expect you to warm me up personally.”


Who is the man with the gun? Friend or foe? Enemy or lover?


I saw my way out and took it. I never dreamed it would be complicated by someone as distracting as Gabriel.


I thought my cabin was safe in a snowstorm until he arrived. Shivering, blue with cold and armed with a gun. The hottest thing to ever happen to me.

Horror writer Gabriel’s worst nightmare is about to come true…

Alaska is home to Gabriel Black two months of the year when he retreats to his isolated cabin to write. But with his relationship on the rocks, life is treating him badly. He doesn’t think things can get any worse when a storm strikes, keeping him snowed in, but he’s wrong. 

His solitude is invaded by armed intruder Ethan, his origin a mystery. Ethan is an enigma, a man surely on the run, maybe a dangerous criminal, but Gabriel is drawn to Ethan’s broken spirit and damaged soul. Ethan is so much more than he first appears and Gabriel wants to know what he hides.

Heat ignites between Gabriel and Ethan and the lines between captive and captor soon start to blur. What secrets is Ethan keeping and will Gabriel be prepared to risk all for him?

Trigger warnings: Scenes of violence and murder. Mentions of rape. Homophobic language. Strong language and sexual scenes. 


 Dense, fat snowflakes fell from the dark sky. Caught by a raging wind, they were whipped up into a vicious storm. Gabriel Black glanced out the kitchen window into the night. He wasn’t too concerned about being snowed in. He had plenty of food and the cabin was snug. It was par for the course here and conducive to his work. He had a sentence whirling around and around inside his head like the snowflakes outside. He tested it aloud, changing the words, listening to the sound on his tongue.

Gabriel cursed, startled out of his reverie as the toaster coughed up two slices of blackened bread and the smoke alarm kicked in with an ear-piercing shriek. He grabbed the key to the French window and fumbled a moment before he yanked it open. A blast of freezing night air chilled him instantly to the bone. Shivering, he waved a dish towel under the smoke alarm. 

A flash of movement registered at the periphery of his vision, black against the snow lying thick on the porch outside. Startled, he turned just as a tall figure sidled through the window and levelled a gun at him.

Gabriel froze. Icy fingers crept down his back as he stared at the man in his home. The intruder was in his late thirties, a couple of inches taller than Gabriel and broader across the shoulders and chest. He wore a thin shirt, jeans and flimsy canvas shoes, despite the weather outside being at least ten below. His untidy black hair was wet with snow. His pale, attractive face was dominated by large green eyes. A few days’ worth of dark stubble lined his jaw. His lips and nose were blue and he trembled violently, his teeth chattering together.

“Knock that off.” He raised his voice over the annoying shrill of the smoke alarm.

Gabriel glared at him. He wafted the towel again and again until the alarm shut off, leaving sudden silence broken only by the sound of the intruder slamming the window shut and pocketing the key.

The two men faced each other across the kitchen. Gabriel’s heart surged with terror. All the heat had deserted the kitchen after being open to the elements of the frozen north for only a few seconds. He wasn’t sure if it was fear or cold that made him shake. He looked down the barrel of the gun and wondered if tonight would be his last. It was almost funny. He’d expected south central Alaska in the middle of a howling snowstorm to be the safest haven you could find. Who could have predicted a half-dressed man to suddenly hijack Gabriel’s perfect solitude? Who in their right mind was out in this?

He found his voice and spoke far more bravely than he felt. “What the fuck do you think you’re doing?” 

The man stepped closer, right into Gabriel’s personal space. His face was like stone, but still he couldn’t stop his shivering. “You don’t get to ask questions. I want some dry clothes.” He prodded Gabriel hard with the gun in his chest. “Move.”

Gabriel turned around. He led the intruder through the living room. The crackling fire warmed him again. He reached the stairs and climbed on wooden legs, wondering if he could turn suddenly and surprise the man, kicking the gun from his hand. But his uninvited guest followed so closely behind him, their bodies were almost touching and when he reached the top, Gabriel felt the gun digging into the small of his back.

When they entered the bedroom, his guest gestured at the wardrobe.  “Come on. I want the thickest sweater you got.”

Gabriel chose some lounge pants and a hooded fleece-lined sweater that he wore to chop logs for the fire.

“Underwear and two pairs of socks,” the man with the gun said. 

Gabriel plucked the items from a chest of drawers. He threw the lot into a heap on the bed and glared once more at the intruder. The guy didn’t look remotely intimidated. If anything, he appeared amused.

“Stand over by the window while I change. Don’t even think of trying anything because I swear I will shoot you in the head before you can move.”

Gabriel positioned himself as directed so the man stood between him and the door. He watched as the guy placed the gun on the nightstand. The key to the kitchen window joined it. Then he pulled something from the back pocket of his pants and laid them down too. A pair of handcuffs.

What the fuck?

About the Author 

Scarlet writes mainly contemporary m/m love stories that usually deal with dark themes. Her trope is enemies-to-lovers and there’s often a hot cop thrown into the equation. She likes unusual settings and atypical, flawed heroes. Her work is X-rated and her themes are not for the faint-hearted, but a HEA is always assured.

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Release Blitz + Giveaway: Playing the Player (Miami Piranhas #2) by Beth Bolden



Book Title: Playing the Player (Miami Piranhas, Book 2)

Author and Publisher: Beth Bolden

Cover Artist: Cate Ashwood Designs

Release Date: August 3, 2022

Genres: Gay contemporary sports romance

Tropes: Fake boyfriend, bisexual awakening, friends to lovers

Themes: Found family, trusting yourself, trusting others, finding confidence

Heat Rating: 4 flames    

Length: 91 000 words


Buy Links - Available in Kindle Unlimited

Universal Link  |  Amazon US  |  Amazon UK 


Center Logan Banks didn’t come to Miami looking for a best friend.

He came for football and for a chance at freedom—the freedom to live out of the closet.

But after a water main break, he lands an unexpected roommate, the new Piranhas kicker, Dylan Leonard. Between practices, games, and too many late nights on the couch, a best friend is exactly what he gets.

When Logan’s past rears its ugly head and threatens to destroy the freedom he’s hoped for, Dylan becomes more than just a friend. He becomes a lifeline.

But then their friendship gets incorrectly labeled as something more, and Dylan shocks Logan by suggesting they play along with a fake relationship.

Logan knows it’s off limits to fall in love with Dylan. He’s supposed to be straight, he’s his best friend, his roommate, and his teammate. But the closer they grow, and the more he and Dylan fake falling in love, the more real it feels.

The more real Logan wants it to be.

Making a play for love is the biggest risk he’s ever taken, but he wants it all and he wants it with Dylan.


Dylan’s jaw dropped. “You’ve never seen Star Wars?”

“Guilty as charged.”

“Well, first, we’re gonna remedy that ASAP,” Dylan said with relish. “I can’t believe I get to pop your cherry.”

Logan froze, his hand still on the controller. “Uh,” he said. “Hate to break it to you but that’s been done . . .”

But I could pop yours, that voice that didn’t want to cooperate, inserted slyly. And now Logan was fucking thinking about it. A dark head, between his heads, tongue flicking out uncertainly. A hand pressed to the middle of his chest, as Dylan squirmed on his dick.

Stop. Do not cross Go.

“Your Star Wars cherry, silly,” Dylan said, laughing, punching him lightly in the arm.

“Is that a thing?” If it was, then Logan wanted it to be Dylan who did it. Logan wanted him to do all kinds of things.

It was a problem, even though he kept trying to pretend it wasn’t.

“Sure, it can be,” Dylan said, one of those quicksilver grins lighting up his whole face.

“So why this game?” Logan asked, trying to pluck the game from Dylan’s fingers, but he was too quick, and pulled it away. “’Cause it’s easy?”

“Well, it’s simpler, sure, but it also requires less hand-eye coordination,” Dylan said, and Logan shot him a glare. But Dylan only laughed. “We’re being honest here, dude. Set you on a football field, and you’d destroy most everyone, but with a video game controller in your hands?”

“Fine, fine, fine,” Logan said with a resigned sigh. He grabbed for the game again, and Dylan wasn’t quite fast enough this time, and when Logan got ahold of it, he didn’t let go.

Yanked both it and Dylan over the side of the couch, and Logan froze as the other guy landed basically in his lap.

He 100% did not mean to freeze. It wasn’t in his nature to freeze.

After all, they had a touchy-feely friendship. Logan had never shied away from touching Dylan and vice versa. It worked for them.

But now he was in his lap.

And he wasn’t moving.

Logan could count every shade of green in Dylan’s eyes as they stared at each other. His hand hovered right over Dylan’s back. He wanted to push him in, pull him close, but no matter how touchy-feely they were, they weren’t in the habit of embracing. Not like this.

Not with Dylan straddling him, not only wearing a pair of athletic shorts each.

Then Dylan reached out, pressing a palm against Logan’s chest. Right where his rose tattoo sat, right over his heart. Not pushing him away. Not using him to get up. Just resting it there.

Like he couldn’t help it, he just wanted to touch.

You’re wrong. He doesn’t want to. Not like that. Not like you want him to.

Logan opened his mouth to make a joke, but his brain was empty, and nothing came out.

Dylan leaned forward a fraction. Licked his lips.

There was something soft and hazy and affectionate in his gaze. Something curious.

And then he spoke. “Guess,” he said, voice low, “that your reflexes really do suck, Banks.”

About the Author 

A lifelong Pacific Northwester, Beth Bolden has just recently moved to North Carolina with her supportive husband. Beth still believes in Keeping Portland Weird, and intends to be just as weird in Raleigh.

Beth has been writing practically since she learned the alphabet. Unfortunately, her first foray into novel writing, titled Big Bear with Sparkly Earrings, wasn’t a bestseller, but hope springs eternal. She’s published twenty-three novels and seven novellas.

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Release Blitz + Giveaway: Kinked Up (It's a Kink Thing #1) by M.C. Roth


Kinked Up by M.C. Roth

Book 1 in the It's a Kink Thing series

General Release Date: 2nd August 2022

Word Count:  75,115
Book Length: SUPER NOVEL
Pages: 283



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Book Description


Can Trick choose between the love of his life and the sub of his dreams?

Nav can’t count the number of times he has wished he could close his eyes, hand over the reins and let someone take care of him. It’s a dream that none of his exes have been able to fulfill—not that he really understands what he needs.

At least, he doesn’t until he stumbles into a dark alley to get away from the bustling noise on the dance floor where he doesn’t belong. He’s not alone in the alley, and the stranger who gives him everything he’s longing for isn’t a stranger at all but Trick, his gorgeous neighbor who has a body that models would kill for and the softest blue eyes that Nav has ever seen.

Trick has everything he could ever wish for, including his kinky fiancé, Theo, who has been by his side for ten years. So when Trick sets up an intense scene in an alleyway that pushes their boundaries beyond anything he could have imagined, his life seems perfect. But when the alley lights flicker on, he discovers the man against him isn’t his fiancé at all.

One perfect mistake will change their lives forever.

Reader advisory: This book contains pain play and consensual non-consent.


Nav’s apartment key tumbled from his hand as his phone vibrated, rattling his change and his plastic swipe card from work. He fumbled in his pocket, pulling his phone out and groaning at the name on the display.

“This is not a good time,” he said as he accepted the call, sighing at the laughter that burst against his eardrum. He glanced down, searching for his key that had somehow made it halfway under his apartment door, only the jagged edge visible beneath the crack.

He really needed to get a keychain so the thing didn’t disappear on him again. He’d already gone through three keys in the last month, and the hardware store was starting to get suspicious as to why he needed so many spares. There just didn’t seem to be much point to getting a sparkly keychain if he wasn’t going to keep it for all that long.

“How did it go, Nav?” asked Sasha through the speaker.

No matter how many times Nav lost his things or moved, Sasha always seemed to track him down. He was Nav’s self-appointed best friend and number one annoyance.

Nav let out a sigh, leaning his back against the door as he looked down the hall. There were a dozen doors that were identical to his, with grungy numbers barely clinging onto their hastily painted surfaces. At one point, the doors must’ve been a dreadful forest green, but someone had decided to paint over them with a thin layer of white primer. The results were pale lime rectangles with dark corners where the primer had been rubbed raw. The red apartment numbers completed the nightmarish Christmas look with tacky gusto.

“It went great. Better than great, actually. Everette never wants to see me again, and he got his brother to throw me out of the house.” Nav rubbed at his shoulder where he was sure there was a bruise. They’d taken the throwing part a touch too literally, and Nav had found out first-hand how hard concrete sidewalks were.

“Ouch. Not unexpected, though,” said Sasha, his laughter booming through the tiny speaker. “Maybe you shouldn’t have hit on their dad?”

Nav ran a hand through his hair before he leaned back and let his head rest against the thin door. It sounded hollow to the touch, and it nearly bowed under his weight. “Maybe their dad shouldn’t have been so hot. I mean, who the hell walks around in just their boxers then gets offended when they get hit on? I didn’t know guys his age could even have abs like that. His body was just rocking.”

“Gross… I don’t need the details,” said Sasha, the phone rustling. “How many is that now, though?”

“This year or this month?” asked Nav, sliding down the door until his ass met the thin and filthy carpet. A light flickered overhead, and somewhere a baby screamed. His neighbor down the hall was making their weekly batch of boiled cabbage, if the smell was anything to go by. And who the hell had crushed packets of ketchup at the end of the hall?

“You’re such an asshole,” said Sasha. “I’ve never met someone who has as many ex-boyfriends as you have. You must run into one at every bar.”

Nav laughed, letting the grief of the situation roll off his shoulders and down the ratty hallway to find a sewer out on the street somewhere. There was hardly any grief there at all, if he were honest with himself. He’d only dated Everette for three weeks, which was two weeks longer than his usual attention span. The guy had been cute, but nothing compared to his dad.

“Most bars are out. Restaurants, too. I ran into Josh the other day, and I swear to God he spit on my salad,” said Nav. He’d still eaten the salad, of course. A little spit never turned him off a good meal.

“So, you won’t come out for drinks with us tonight?” asked Sasha. “Katie already did her hair up real nice, and I can’t wait to fuck it up.”

“Your straightness disgusts me,” said Nav, letting his eyes drift shut. It had been a long week of too many hours at work and even more wasted on another guy he knew would never work out. His shower was calling to him, and he could definitely hear the cries of his lonely pillow.

“I dunno. I’m really tired, Sash.” He leaned his head to the side to cradle his phone against his ear. A noise at the end of the hall made him startle, but he kept his eyes closed. It was probably just one of his asshole neighbors getting home after their day job. They would be able to step by him just fine.

“All the more reason to come out with us. You’re in a rut, Nav. You need to relax and stop trying to fuck your way through every gay bedroom in the city. Come out with us tonight for drinks, keep your dick to yourself and I guarantee you’ll feel better.”

“Drinks do sound good,” said Nav, pulling his feet closer when the squeak of shuffling footsteps approached him on the carpet. “Okay, I’ll be there tonight. Don’t let me fuck up again, okay?”

“Deal.” Sasha chuckled. Nav could almost see his best friend’s smirk through the phone. “I’ll keep you surrounded by women so your dick shrivels up and dies. Then I’ll get you so wasted that you forget about Tray.”

“Tray was last month, before Scott and Paul, remember? Everette was the guy whose dad I just fucked,” said Nav, lowering his voice as the footsteps came closer. He already got enough flack in his life for being gay and he didn’t need any more shit from anyone.

“You are fucked up, man. I’ll see you tonight. Nine sharp at Pinty’s. Bring your long underwear and a chastity belt.” Sasha ended the call with a click and Nav sighed, letting his phone slide to the ground with a hollow thump. He could sleep against the door, even with the floor jamming into the bruises on his ass.

Who actually threw someone? Concrete was not a fun place for his skinny ass to land. At least they had tossed him his pants.

“You okay?”

Nav’s opened his eyes and cursed to himself, scrambling to get up to his feet.

Of course, the person to see him crumpled outside of his door had to be his smoking-hot and totally unreachable neighbor. He was gorgeous, with short blond hair that models would die for, and the softest blue eyes Nav had ever seen. Top that with thick shoulders, strong arms and thighs that could kill and he was everything Nav dreamed of.

The guy was also completely and totally unavailable. His boyfriend was the most average person in the world but had something that Nav couldn’t even fathom—commitment. Every time Nav saw his him, the boyfriend was usually close by.

“Sorry… I just lost my key,” said Nav as he pushed back against his door, his knees wobbling as his neighbor got closer. His mouth went dry, his throat constricting like nobody’s business. His palms went damp as he suddenly began to sweat, his face flushing. Hunger evaporated in his gut like he’d just gotten a whiff of fresh ass, and his priorities had spun one-hundred-and-eighty degrees.

He was also the only one who did that to Nav. The beautiful blond specimen transformed him from a bonified slut who was proud of it into a blushing virgin.

Nav had fucked and been fucked by more guys than he could remember, but something about that tall, built frame and those crystal-blue eyes sent him back to his high school days when he’d seen his first cock and decided he was gay for life.

“Oh crap, that sucks,” he said, running a hand through his blond locks that were probably softer than actual silk. “Did you call the superintendent?” He shifted a brown paper grocery bag in his hands, reaching into his pocket for something.

Of course he was environmentally aware, too, which made Nav want to drool. There was nothing worse than a hot guy who used plastic bags and drove a car that guzzled more fuel than a loaded transport truck. Can you be any more perfect?

Nav shook his head. “N-not yet. I think I probably just dropped it somewhere.” Nav wanted to crumple into a ball. His voice was so soft and weak that he probably sounded like a virgin, too.

Virgins were the literal enemy. Clingy, flustered and nervous, Nav always steered well clear. He’d been there, done that and returned the T-shirt.

Knowing how thin the walls were in the building, Nav guessed the guy had probably heard his sex adventures from across the hall, which was probably why he was looking at Nav with confusion and concern etched onto his perfectly sculpted face. Statues were probably made of this guy—hopefully the ones with the big dicks and not the little ones.

Nav slid his foot sideways to where he remembered dropping the key, hopefully concealing it. He was such a fucking idiot, but he couldn’t even think straight with his neighbor staring at him, his gaze piercing straight through his defenses.

“Did you need a hand? Just let me put my groceries in the fridge and I’ll help you look for it.” A soft smile settled on his lips as he pulled his own key out before opening his door with one hand.

“No, it’s okay,” said Nav, his face burning. He slapped his hands to his cheeks as the guy looked away, hoping to draw the heat out with his frigid fingertips. The sight of his wide, strong back had Nav flushing all over again. He looked away and into the apartment instead, his jaw dropping as something caught his eye.

There, on the wall, and hidden in the most unlikely of places, was a painting that he’d never thought he would see again.

“Oh my God, you have one of Brian Maeckery’s paintings?” He stumbled across the hall, his key and his bag forgotten as the art drew him through the open door.

Seeing it again was the same as seeing it for the first time. The piece was one that had caught Nav’s eye when it had been in the studio. His breath stuck in his throat as his cock swelled against his will, his groin pulling tight.

He couldn’t help it. The brushstrokes were perfection, each one laid with such sensual purpose that Nav could almost feel them against his skin. The lovers on the canvas were wrapped around each other in an intimate embrace that made Nav’s blood boil. They looked at each other in the peak of their pleasure, love and commitment frozen on their features. It was as unreal as a dream.

But what was his favorite painting of all time doing in a run-down apartment building? Sure, his neighbor had spruced up his place from what Nav could tell, but the painting didn’t belong.

“Yeah.” He set his grocery bag on the counter, before turning to Nav. “He’s actually a friend of mine. He owed me a favor, so he gave this to me as payment. It’s a beautiful piece.” He shifted, flickering his gaze over Nav once before he turned and started unloading his groceries.

Butterflies erupted in Nav’s belly. Brian Maeckery was nearly famous—like a shiny, untouchable doll on television. Nav would have worshiped the ground that he walked on, if only he had been able to find his house.

“I’m so jealous. I’m such a huge fan of his.” He let out a sigh, reaching for the muddled color where the lovers’ legs met. He hovered a few inches away, his hand trembling. The last price tag he’d seen on it was over one-hundred-thousand dollars. “It must’ve been one hell of a favor.”

It still smelled fresh, the flavors of the paint rolling over his tongue as he inhaled sharply. The wooden frame was pristine, without a hint of dust or fingerprints, but how long would that last? It was something that should have been hanging in a temperature-controlled gallery for the rest of its life behind a pane of thick glass, not in a shitty apartment building soaking up the faint smell of cigarettes and cat piss.

His neighbor paused, a tray of chicken breasts clutched in his fingers. He furrowed his forehead before he let out a small laugh, his eyes lighting up. “Not really, no. My fiancé and I modeled for the painting, so Brian thought it was best if we were the ones to get it.”

“Wait…what?” Nav took a step back, his gaze flashing between him and the painting. The faces on the canvas were in shadow, with only their lips visible and a hint of their partially closed eyes. But it did look like them, and the hair color was spot-on. And their bodies…oh God. Was that really hiding beneath the guy’s T-shirt and jeans?

“Shit, I’ve jerked off to this painting,” said Nav, flushing as he smacked his hand to his forehead. “I-I mean, shit. You’re Theo?”

His boss had relayed the entire story as they’d hung the painting in the gallery together—how Brian had claimed that Theo was his muse and how he had called to him with each brush stroke. Nav had agreed from the bottom of his balls. That had been the first time the painting made him hard—but not the last.

Nav dropped his gaze, flushing so fiercely that he wasn’t sure his cheeks would ever cool again. He couldn’t look at him. In fact, it was probably best if he turned around and crawled back to his apartment before begging for forgiveness through the door.

Nav started as his neighbor chuckled. His gaze was dragged back to the gorgeous blond, his heart thudding as he stared at the man with his head tilted back and his lips curled and open as the beautiful sound emerged.

“Theo’s my fiancé,” he said, wiping the gathering tears from his eyes as he continued to chuckle. “I’m Maverick, but everyone calls me Trick. Thanks for the compliment.” He let out another laugh, his body shaking as his chest heaved.

“I’m so sorry. I’m just really tired, and I always say things I’m not supposed to when I’m tired.” He bit his tongue as Trick laughed even harder. Trick was stunning when he was silent, but when he laughed, he transformed into an actual Adonis.

Nav looked at the painting again, something new surging from the base of his gut.

As much as he had longed to be the one in the painting in the past, it had always remained an unattainable figment of Brian’s imagination. It had been fitting that the only thing that he would ever love was an imaginary scene with a fictional man.

But they were real…and the man he’d been fantasizing about was Trick. His heart rate picked up, his chest rising and falling like he’d just run a marathon.

Trick was obviously in love with Theo. He’d smiled, the corners of his eyes crinkling when he’d said Theo’s name. And the painting…? Nav hadn’t known what true love looked like until he had seen the canvas.

An ugly green monster twisted in his gut, leaving a foul taste in his mouth. It seemed that everyone could fall in love except him, even the not-so-fictional characters in a painting. He was going to be cursed to chase brief hookups for the rest of his life, ditching them before they lost their new boyfriend smell and shine.

“Sorry. I didn’t mean to upset you by laughing at you. I was just surprised,” said Trick, his humor falling away. “You sure you don’t want me to help you find your key? Or I can get you a drink if you want to call the super and wait here.”

“No, it’s okay. I don’t want to intrude,” said Nav. He looked back to the painting, but the magic that had enthralled him for months was gone. His stomach lurched as he took a step back.

I’m just overtired. Alcohol required STAT.

“Well, it was nice meeting you…” Trick paused as if he were waiting for something.

“Nav.” He shrugged, filling the uncomfortable silence.

“Nav. Just knock if you need something or if you change your mind.” He smiled, parting his full lips to reveal white teeth that were perfectly straight. His smile was dazzling, pulling a wave of fresh heat from Nav’s core.

“Thanks. Bye.” Nav rushed into the hall, shutting the door before Trick could say anything further. His heart was still pounding, and for some strange reason, he felt the first prickling of tears at the corner of his eyes.

He took a deep breath and pinched the base of his nose. He must’ve been more exhausted than he’d thought if he was already starting to get teary-eyed. He usually didn’t hit that level until he’d worked sixty hours in one week. He’d only done fifty-five hours in the last five days, so he should have still been in the glaringly frustrated and angry phase.

He reached for his key, easing it out from where it had squirmed through the crack under the thin door. He grabbed his bag, hauling it over his shoulder and turning the key in the lock before pushing inside.

Unlike Trick, he hadn’t spiffed up his floors or counters in his apartment. There really was no point if his stay was going to be brief.

The paint was the original faded ivory with a few cracks around the corners and a smudge of purple along one baseboard. The floors were roll-on linoleum with a few holes in the kitchen where someone had repeatedly dropped a sharp knife. It could have been anyone’s apartment.

Except for the art that he’d hung on the walls. The art was all his. Most of the paintings were little pieces he’d picked up in estate and garage sales in the city, with a few originals from up-and-coming artists. His work in the studio gallery put him in reach of a few artists who hadn’t hit it big yet and had prices that were within his reach.

He stepped up to one of his favorites. The artist was known simply as Rachel, and they had a way with traditional techniques that wasn’t too common anymore. A frog on a lily pad would have made most artists scoff, but Rachel had elevated the simple idea and done something beyond anything Nav could have imagined himself. The frog was made of stars, and the lily pad was the cosmos, according to the gods. It always managed to take his breath away.

All the works he had managed to collect were beautiful and unique, but nothing like the scandalous and sensual canvas of Brian’s work. It was so far beyond his price range that he didn’t deserve to be close enough to touch it.

His throat clogged as he thought of the painting in its dismal setting across the hall.

“Christ, I need a drink.” He pulled his clothes from his body, letting them trail on the ground on his way to the shower. As the water cascaded over him, he tried to push the painting and Trick from his thoughts.

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About the Author

M.C. Roth

M.C. Roth lives in Canada and loves every season, even the dreaded Canadian winter. She graduated with honours from the Associate Diploma Program in Veterinary Technology at the University of Guelph before choosing a different career path.

Between caring for her young son, spending time with her husband, and feeding treats to her menagerie of animals, she still spends every spare second devoted to her passion for writing.

She loves growing peppers that are hot enough to make grown men cry, but she doesn’t like spicy food herself. Her favourite thing, other than writing of course, is to find a quiet place in the wilderness and listen to the birds while dreaming about the gorgeous men in her head.

Find out more about M.C. Roth at her website.


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