Release Blitz + Giveaway: The Hunt God's Hound (Of Gods and Men #3) by AT Lander


 

The Hunt God's Hound by AT Lander

Book 3 in the Of Gods and Men series

Word Count: 26,393
Book Length: NOVELLA
Pages: 113

Genres:

EROTIC ROMANCE
FANTASY
GAY
GLBTQI
GODS AND GODDESSES
HISTORICAL
WERESHIFTERS

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Book Description

Heroes aren’t real, and neither is love…right?

Conall, a snarky and cynical Irish goatherd, just wants a boring life—no quests, no heroes and definitely no curses. That all falls apart when a chance encounter with a Fomori sorcerer leaves him trapped in the body of a female wolfhound.

Arlen, a kind and noble hunter of the Tuatha de Danann, is tracking his most dangerous target yet, but his skills are not enough. To track this magical monster, he needs someone touched by its power…someone like Conall.

They strike a deal—to hunt their mutual enemy while Arlen bends the curse as much as he can. Now a hound by day and a human by night, Conall’s heart and instincts draw him to his handsome rescuer. When he goes into heat, it starts a tempest of passion and emotion that will either bring them together or tear them apart.

Can these two unlikely companions overcome an ancient evil, or will their story end in tragedy?

Reader advisory: This book contains scenes of animal slaughter, violence and injury. There is a cursed main character and mentions of breeding the shapeshifted MC.

Excerpt

Conall had definitely gotten fucked last night. Fucked and drunk. There was an unpleasant ache in his head, along with the lovely ache in his ass. He waited for his uncle’s shouting to pierce through his hangover, but it didn’t come.

That was nice. The bed was also nice, a warm nest of blankets with a firm mattress—a breathing, human mattress. That explained the ‘fucked’ part of last night, as well as the lack of yelling—he had to be in someone else’s house.

Or someone else’s tent, as Conall saw when he opened his eyes. The previous night came flooding back to him, and he grinned at the memory. The local lord had thrown a feast to honor some victorious mercenaries, and someone had remembered Conall’s skillful blow jobs. After that, there had been mead and song and some fun manhandling by a big fellow with delightful stamina.

Then memory gave way to realization. There was light filtering in through the tent-flap, the gray light of a misty dawn.

“Fuck!” Conall cursed. He should’ve been up an hour ago.

“Whazzat?” his bedmate groaned. “Stop yelling. It’s too early.”

”Goatherd’s hours,” Conall said, though he privately agreed. “Where’d you throw my clothes?”

“Why would you want clothes?” the man asked, rolling over. A hot erection nudged against Conall’s hip, making his resolve waver. “A few more minutes can’t hurt…”

“I-I have to get to work,” Conall said, fighting down his suicidal libido. After what had happened last night, he knew it wouldn’t be just ‘a few minutes’. “If I’m any later, my uncle will butcher me—”

“Your uncle, whoever he is, doesn’t scare me,” the man said breezily.

“Good for you,” Conall said. He spotted his robe and reached out of the blankets to grab it. “He’s not going to beat your ass.”

“Don’t worry about your pretty little ass,” the mercenary said with casual confidence and a pat on Conall’s rump. “I’ll keep him away from it.”

“I’m sure you will.” Conall scoffed—he’d heard that line a thousand times. “Right up until you ride off for the next war and leave me to his tender mercies.”

Conall ducked back under the covers to avoid the morning chill and did his best to wrestle the robe on without elbowing his large bedmate. It didn’t work—Conall was tall and gangly and the mercenary took up too much space. He almost jabbed the man in the face before a massive hand caught his arm.

“Why would I leave such a great piece of ass in a place like this?” the mercenary asked, like Conall was speaking nonsense. “You’ll come with me. When I’m rich and famous, you can stay in my big bed all day!”

He grinned like an optimistic idiot, and actually winked at Conall.

“So you’re going to be the next Cú Chulainn?” Conall asked dryly. “Make your name fighting and die horribly before you’re thirty?”

“Life’s short,” the man said, “but people will tell my legend forever. You’ll be in the stories too—‘the great hero’s honey-treat’.”

Conall couldn’t help it—he burst out laughing. The big lummox blinked at him in confusion, but didn’t resist when Conall tugged his arm free.

“Good luck with that,” Conall said, rolling out of the nest of blankets. The sharp chill of an Irish morning bit into his feet, and he grabbed his boots as fast as possible. “I’ll keep an ear out when the bards come through.”

The man blinked again, tilted his head as though trying to think, then shrugged. “Your loss.”

“Yep,” Conall said, and crawled out of the low tent.

It wasn’t until he felt cold air on his face that he rolled his eyes. Did the man really expect him to run off with a stranger after one good fuck and some grandiose promises? He couldn’t toss a rock without hitting a would-be hero in this part of Munster, and for every one that won cattle and glory, there were a thousand failures. Conall had survived twenty-five boring, safe years and fully intended to keep that streak going.

The mercenary camp was outside the hill fort and on the opposite side from the village, so Conall had to run. It was second nature by now—dodging between buildings, livestock and townsfolk.

He braided his shoulder-length hair as he went, pulling the black strands out of his face and tying them with a leather thong. A few of his regular bedmates threw out catcalls, and he grinned back.

At last, he came to his uncle’s house. It was built from stone, perfectly round and larger than many. The goat pen was out back, but Conall’s sling, staff and any chance at breakfast were inside. He had to run the gauntlet if he wanted to get them before his uncle caught him, but he’d been getting faster and his uncle slower every day.

He darted in and grabbed his weapons without even needing to look, then went for the cook-fire that a servant girl was sleepily poking.

“Hey!” she cried as he swiped three small flatbreads straight off the griddle. One went into his mouth and the other two into a fold of his cloak, the light burns worth each second of speed.

There you are, you son of a bitch!” his uncle yelled, but Conall was already out of the door.

“Son of your sister,” Conall muttered around his breakfast. He’d weather the inevitable storm after he took the goats out to pasture. It was almost boring—he could practically recite his uncle’s rant from memory.

Just another typical day in the life of Conall mac Cormac…

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About the Author

AT Lander

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

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

Follow AT Lander on Twitter and Facebook.

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Release Blitz + Giveaway: Like Real People Do (Breakaway #1) by E.L. Massey


 

Title:  Like Real People Do

Series: Breakaway, Book One

Author: E.L. Massey

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: 08/23/2022

Heat Level: 2 - Fade to Black Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 88800

Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQIA+, contemporary, gay, interracial, new adult, sports, ice hockey, uni student, ice skating, professional athlete, slow burn, rivals/enemies to lovers, physical disability, anxiety disorder, in the closet, coming out, service dog, cooking/foodies, Louboutin devotion, stanning, friends to lovers, social media, vlogging, hashtags

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Description

Nineteen-year-old hockey phenom Alexander Price is the youngest-ever captain in the NHL. With a polarizing social media presence and a predilection for dirty play, he typifies the stereotype of young, out-of-control athlete. But away from the cameras, Alex is a kid with an anxiety disorder and the expectations of an expansion franchise on his shoulders. And maybe he tries too hard to fit the part of asshole playboy, but it’s better than the alternative; in his line of work, gay is the punchline of an insult, not something he can be.

Eighteen-year-old vlogger Elijah Rodriguez is a freshman in college recovering from an injury that derailed his Olympic figure-skating dreams. Mixed-race, disabled, and out of the closet since he was fourteen, Eli is unapologetically himself. He has no qualms about voicing his disapproval of celebrity jocks who make homophobic jokes on Twitter and park their flashy cars in the handicapped spaces outside of ice rinks.

After an antagonistic introduction, Alex and Eli’s inexplicable friendship both baffles and charms the internet. But navigating relationships is hard enough for normal teenagers. It’s a lot harder when the world—much of it disapproving—is watching you fall in love with your best friend.

Excerpt

Like Real People Do
E.L. Massey © 2022
All Rights Reserved

There are admittedly worse things in the world than having to walk two blocks on a Wednesday morning in July.

Eli knows from experience there are worse things in the world.

Like being diagnosed with epilepsy at sixteen.

Like having heat-induced seizures and living in Texas.

Objectively, he knows there are worse things, but right at this moment, he can’t think of many because it’s 6:00 a.m., and he isn’t allowed to have caffeine because they’ve changed his medication again, and he’s had to park in the visitor’s garage because the only two handicap spaces at the north entrance of the Houston Hell Hounds official practice facility had been occupied by one parallel-parked Land Rover decidedly lacking handicap tags.

“Motherfucking hockey players,” Eli says to the empty sidewalk.

So now he’s running late because it’d taken him an extra ten minutes to find the visitors’ lot, and he’d still needed to stop and let his dog pee before they entered the complex. Because being the disabled kid whose service dog pees in the rink on the first day of practice will guarantee he never has a collegiate social life to speak of. Not that he holds out particularly high hopes for that anyway.

The security guard at the door barely glances at his newly printed student ID before waving him to the left with a tired, “Rink Three, end of the hallway on your right.”

She looks like she could use some coffee too.

“Right. Thanks.” Eli shifts his backpack, sparing a last hateful glance at the Land Rover outside.

“Hey, do you happen to know whose car that is out front? License plate AP23?”

She lifts one eyebrow. “You mean Alexander Price?”

Because of course. Of course it was Alexander Price. Eli tries to avoid too much familiarity with the hockey world, but there are some things you just know if you spend enough time around ice, and one of those things is the name of the youngest current captain in the NHL, who is apparently just as much of a douche off the ice as tabloids would suggest.

Eli takes a steadying breath. “You know where I could find him?”

The security guard considers Eli’s expression, then the dog at his feet, then the ill-parked vehicle outside.

“I take it you don’t want an autograph?”

“No.”

She gives him an apologetic smile. “I don’t think I can have his car towed, but I can file a complaint if you’d like.”

“That would be great, thanks.”

He starts to move forward again before pausing. “Do you know if Jeff Cooper is back from IR?” he asks. He doesn’t make a habit of following hockey, but when he’s potentially in the same building as a gold-medal-winning, world-junior-figure-skater-turned-NHL-player, he’d like to know.

“Yeah. As of this week, he’s cleared to skate no-contact in practices.” She grins. “He also parks in the players’ lot like he’s supposed to.”

Eli would expect nothing less.

“They’re in practice for another hour and a half,” she adds. “But sometimes Cooper does the meet and greet afterward.”

“Really?”

“Yeah, Rink Two.” She nods to the right hallway. “Price will be there, too, but he almost never comes out afterward.”

“Shocking.”

The doors open behind him and an entirely too-awake girl wearing a hijab that matches her leggings waves at them both and hands over her student ID.

“Morning,” she says, careful not to run over Hawk’s tail with her rolling skate bag. “Your dog is beautiful.”

“Thanks,” Eli says. “Are you a freshman too?”

Which is a stupid question because he knows the rest of the figure skating team isn’t supposed to start practice for another week. Obviously, she’s there for freshman orientation just like he is.

“Yeah!” she says, apparently immune to his idiocy. “I’m Morgan. Just moved in last night. Thank god for coffee, right? I’m so nervous I didn’t sleep at all.”

“Right,” he agrees wryly. “I’m Eli.”

She gets her ID back from the security guard, and they start down the left hallway together.

“It’s so cool the Hell Hounds share their facilities with the university,” she says. “Did you know their practices are open to the public? I think I might go try to get an autograph or two later if we have time.”

“Yeah,” he says. “I might join you.”

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NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

E. L. Massey is a human. Probably. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her partner, the best dog in the world (an unbiased assessment), and a frankly excessive collection of books. She spends her holidays climbing mountains and writing fan fiction, occasionally at the same time.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr

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Release Blitz + Giveaway: Crossing the Line (Jake's Bar #2) by AG Meiers


 

RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Crossing the Line (Jake's Bar Book 2)

Author: AG Meiers

Publisher: Painted Hearts Publishing

Release Date: August 25, 2022

Genre: Romantic suspense, Contemporary M/M Romance

Tropes: Lovers to enemies to lovers, second chance romance, race to uncover dangerous secrets

Themes: Fast-paced suspense, ex-cop with little left to lose, protective lawyer who loves too hard, hurt/comfort, broken trust, forgiveness (or not), family found, new start, Two men falling in love while dodging bullets and chasing bad guys

Heat Rating:  4 flames      

Length:  81 000 words

Crossing the Line is Book 2 in the Jake’s Bar series. It is a standalone romance with a satisfying end for the mystery. It does not end on a cliffhanger.

Goodreads

Buy Links

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK

Broken Trust doesn’t give Second Chances…

Blurb 

Holden Wright had it all—and lost it. Five months ago, he was on top: a decorated detective with a bright future. Then his father’s gambling destroyed everything. Left with nothing, Holden works nights at Jake’s Bar with no idea how to get his broken life back on track.

Brent Northwood has it all—except the man he loves. Brent made a deal with the devil to become a well-respected lawyer, but success doesn’t turn out to be all he ever wanted. His love for Holden started with a wild, crazy hookup in the rain, but it all came to an abrupt end when Brent lied—with best intention—but a lie is a lie and Holden can’t forgive.

Holden needs the successful lawyer back in his life about as badly as he needs the bullet hole his father put in his shoulder. But with secrets from Holden’s past threatening his future, Brent is the only one who can protect him. The two men forge a volatile truce to stay one step ahead of danger, but is it enough to mend the broken trust between them? Can they risk a second chance for love knowing what’s at stake?

But none of that matters if they can’t find out who is trying to take Holden down…

Series: Crossing the Line, Book 2 in the award-winning Jake’s Bar series, is a steamy, M/M romantic suspense featuring a rainbow-colored bar full of quirky characters, and all the romance you can handle. So, download today, and get ready to fall in love with Jake’s Bar.

Excerpt 

Holden topped off the beer and slammed it on the counter in front of Grey. The grungy mechanic tore his eyes away from a green-haired twink across the room. “What crawled up your ass tonight?”

JD’s was a gay bar and prime hookup spot, so there were a few dozen suitable answers, but Holden wasn’t feeling any of them. His mind was fucking with him—flashing lust-filled images from a past he’d buried deep in a box labeled “mistake.” For the past hour, while he was serving drinks and cashing out people as it got late, he had tried hard to ignore the man in a dark suit sitting at one of the high tables away from the crowds. It had been a good night until Brent Northwood showed up.

Grey took a sip and licked the foam off his lips with an exaggerated swirl of his tongue. On the other side of the bar green-hair rolled his eyes and turned away to follow his friends back to a booth. Grey had tried to get the guy’s attention a few times now and had consistently been shot down.

“You’re not Kyle’s type,” Holden said helpfully as he wiped down the beer taps. 

Grey pulled a face. “It’s a shit night. The place was hopping for a while, but lately it’s been slow. I think Jake is in trouble. He hit gold when that blogger made a big deal out of JD’s, but there was just no way that was gonna last. JD’s doesn’t offer enough. In the end, it’s just a dingy corner bar.”

Then what the fuck are you doing here every night? Holden swallowed his acrid reply. Grey was a bit of an ass, however Holden was pretty sure that nothing but an empty apartment waited for the guy at the end of the day. Five months ago, he would have been quick to judge and discard JD's regular, but these days, they had too much in common.

Before he could stop himself, Holden threw a glance across the room to the lanky man sitting motionless in the dim light. As always, Brent looked like he’d just stepped out of a courtroom. Impeccably dressed in an Armani suit. A face with square angles and full lips with a cupid’s bow. The dark five o’clock shadow was the only imperfection, but it enhanced his classic charms. Holden had always known he was bi. He’d experimented with both men and women, but Brent Northwood, almost ten years older, serious to the point of severe, wasn’t even his usual type. Still, nobody had ever been as irresistible. 

Elbows resting on the table, the lawyer nursed a whiskey in his hands. He seemed lost in his thoughts. Luckily, Grey picked up their conversation again before Holden was caught staring. “Somebody must have bought the rundown movie theater next door. They’re renovating. The dumpster takes up half the parking spots on this side.”

“Yeah, Jake’s been talking about them hammering all day long. He’s pissed about the noise,” he replied. 

“If that’s turned into a bar, Jake can bag it,” Grey said with gloomy delight. “I’m telling you, this is only the beginning.” He waved around the mostly empty place.

“Bullshit. It’s Tuesday. Tuesdays are slow.”

“And you’re stuck with Tuesdays.” Grey wasn’t done stirring shit up. “Maybe you should talk to Jake. You must be hurting for money after losing your cushy detective job—”

A hand came down on Holden’s back. “Grey, shut your mouth,” Jake growled at the mechanic. “Nobody needs your poison. Told you that before. If you can’t be civil, get the fuck out of my bar.”

It wasn’t an empty threat. Jake had zero tolerance for hate or stupidity, and he was fiercely protective of his staff. Jake grabbed a few empty bottles and tossed them into a crate under the bar. “Where is Jazz?”

“It was slow, so I sent them home a few minutes ago. They’ve got an exam tomorrow. Talked about it all night. I’ve got it covered and thought they could use a few extra hours of sleep,” Holden replied.

“Makes sense to take advantage of a nice, peaceful night,” Jake said with a happy sigh. He was the only bar owner Holden knew who got into a pissy mood when his place was packed with people. Jake loved peace and quiet, and most nights, JD’s Bar was anything but.

Jake stopped abruptly and squinted into the dimly lit taproom. “What’s the damn fixer doing here?”

“Northwood?” It was petty, but Holden took some perverse pleasure in the fact that Jake didn’t like Brent.

“Yeah, Brent fucking Northwood.”

About the Author

Eighteen years ago, AG Meiers came to the US for adventure and stayed for love. Currently, she lives in New England with her husband and two awesome kids—balancing work, friends and family, and writing.

When she has some free time, her favorite thing to do is travel and visit new places. Her past trips have already brought her to a variety of countries on four continents. She never passes up an opportunity to experience different cultures, diverse people and amazing locations.

Even though she has been dreaming up stories all her life, she has only recently started to write them down and share them with the world. As a writer she loves to put her characters through a lot of challenges, conflict and heartbreak, before she allows them to find their happy-ever-after.

Author Links

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Book Blast: The Refuge Bid (County Durham Quad #8) by Jude Tresswell


 

BOOK BLAST

Book Title: The Refuge Bid (County Durham Quad 8)

Author and Publisher: Jude Tresswell

Release Date: August 1, 2022

Genre:  Contemporary crime/mystery, gay male protagonists

Tropes: Cold case investigation, self-awareness journey

Themes: Asexual/sexual relationships, respect and working together

Heat Rating: 2 flames

Length: 64 000 words

The crime/mystery stands alone. 

The story does not end on a cliffhanger.

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Buy Links - Available in Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK

You’re tellin’ me that if this shiter buys St Stephen’s, there’s a chance we won’t have access to the graveyard! Over my dead body!

Blurb

The Refuge Bid is a gay mystery and relationships tale set in fictional Tunhead, northeast England.

 Is there a link between a woman who has been missing for ten years and the people bidding to buy and redevelop Tunhead’s decommissioned church and graveyard? Can the County Durham Quad and their special friend, Nick, find out and stop the sale—one grave is special—and can they raise the cash to counter the bids with an offer of their own? Success involves their drawing on Tunhead’s quarrying industry past and on employing their very different skills but, also, they must acknowledge what it is that they really want from their unusual liaison.

Trigger Warning: references to a teenager’s suicide and to conversion therapy.

Check out the other books in the County Durham Quad series:

Mike Angells is an openly gay CID inspector based in North East England. There are three men in his life: Raith Balan, Phil Roberts and Ross Whitburn. Mike is particularly close to Ross.

Goodreads  |  Amazon US  | Amazon UK 

Excerpt

Anxiety, but mounting relief. Those were his feelings as he stamped down the final clod of earth and smoothed the surface. Some stones and bricks would lie around but who would pay attention to a scattering of those in a place like this? You wouldn’t give them a second glance. So, he’d done it! Literally buried a problem and no one would be any the wiser.

And nobody was until, years later, a group of men from County Durham started digging up the past.

***

The Beck on the Wear Arts Centre, known for ease and for effect as BOTWAC, and the brainchild of Ross Whitburn-Howe. Ross lay in bed and mentally ticked off items linked to BOTWAC’s Easter re-opening. People could visit all year round if they wished to, but the Centre’s location at the end of the lane that wound steeply up to Tunhead in the Durham hills was an icy deterrent during winter. Come spring, though, Tunhead shook off winter’s cold discomforts and looked and sounded full of life—even where it harboured death, for Tunhead had a church with a graveyard.

It might be asked why a tiny village that had never been home to more than a hundred people at any one time should boast a church, let alone a graveyard. The church was a gift from the family who, two centuries past, had owned the limestone quarry that led to Tunhead’s existence. The workers should have Sundays off, provided they prayed and listened to sermons instead, and as the nearest church was a ten mile walk from the row of terraced houses, it seemed sensible to offer an alternative on-site as it were. So, called St Stephen’s after the patron saint of stone masons, the church was used by the quarrymen, their families, the tenant farmers and farmhands who worked the fields adjoining the lane and by the old landowners themselves. St Steve’s was still consecrated although, now, disused. That didn’t mean that the graveyard had become a dismal ruin. Like the rest of the village, it looked neat and tidy, spring flower-full and ready to welcome visitors.

“Yes!” thought Ross. “Everything sorted. Publicity placed with the tourist board, leaflets ready for distribution, programme of events arranged, social media angles covered, and bookings already coming in for the workshops and for August’s week-long pottery festival.”

The man who lay beside him stirred, opened and rubbed two sleepy eyes and said, “Mornin’, Gorgeous.”

“Morning, Mike.” Ross smiled and returned the squeeze that followed the greeting. He snuggled down to enjoy a few more minutes’ warmth in bed. A hair dryer whirred into action from the bedroom across the landing.

“That Raith doin’ his hair? Better get a move on before he’s down and nickin’ me breakfast sausages.” Mike got up, pulled on a pair of boxers and went downstairs.

The ‘Raith’ was Raith Rodrigo Roberts-Balaño—known as Raith Balan: sculptor of erotic art and wearer of exotic clothing. The ‘Roberts’ section of his name was the surname of his husband, Phil, who in comparison with Raith was extremely conventional, and a surgeon. Phil was breakfasting on yoghurt, fruit and wholemeal bread when Mike entered the sunny kitchen.

 “Mornin’ Phil.” A kiss on the cheek and a hug around the shoulders. Returned with a grin and a “Morning.”

And so, Ross, Mike, Raith and Phil looked forward to March with the optimism produced by mutual affection and the promise of spring.

About the Author 

Jude Tresswell lives in south-east England but was born and raised in the north, and that’s where her heart is. She is ace, and has been married to the same man for many years. She feels that she understands compromise. She supports Liverpool FC, listens to a lot of blues music and loves to write dialogue.

Author Links 

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Audio Release Blitz + Giveaway: Better Than Home (Better Than Stories #6) by Lane Hayes


 

Title:  Better Than Home

Series: Better Than Stories, 6

Author: Lane Hayes

Publisher: Lane Hayes

Narrator: Nick J. Russo

Original Release Date: April 18, 2022

Heat Level: 4 - Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 35K

Genre: Romance, Contemporary, MM Romance, Bisexual, Established Couple

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Synopsis

The lawyer, the diva, and a new adventure…

Matt-

Life is good. A few years ago, I met someone special, came out as bi, fell head over heels, and married the love of my life. A man. But not just any man.

Aaron is a confident, unapologetically fabulous diva who isn’t afraid to take chances. I love that about him. New state, new career path…no problem.
Except things don’t always go according to plan. That’s okay. It might be the perfect time to get back to basics and check off a few items on our original list…like buy a house and start a family. Whoa! House first.

However, house hunting isn’t glamorous at all, and with my partnership at the law firm in the balance, it’s kind of stressful. Everything we’ve dreamed of is within reach—if we can just find a place that feels like home, we’ll be better than good.

Better Than Home is a sweet and sexy novella featuring Matt and Aaron from my International Bestselling book, Better Than Good. The lawyer, the diva, and the happy ever after of a lifetime. For readers who know the real love story happens after the first “I love you.”

Excerpt

Chandler went quiet for a moment in what I was sure was a calculated sales technique. When he spoke again, his voice was gentle and sincere.

“Let me show you one more older home next weekend. It’s outside of Bethesda. Great property, lots of land, very private, but in a great neighborhood. It’s not even on the market yet. The listing is supposed to be up by next week. However, I can give you an early pass at it. If you hate it, we’ll go back to the drawing board. Thoughts?”

Aaron shot a quick sideways glance my way. “It’s a date.”

“Not a real date,” I qualified like a real dumbass. “I mean…yes. That sounds good.”

Chandler grinned, then led us through the green-carpeted maze of the house. We said another round of good-byes before heading to our car.

I pulled away from the curb and scowled. “A date?” “Hmm?” Aaron scrolled the playlist on his cell before fastening his seat belt. “What’s wrong?”

“I don’t want to date Chandler,” I groused.

“A house-hunting date.” He snickered.

I tore my gaze from the road for a second and did a double take. “Are you smiling?”

“Yep. What’s wrong with smiling?”

I slowed at the stop sign on the corner. “Theoretically, nothing. But you look amused.”

“And what’s wrong with being amused?” Aaron countered, more amused and smiley than ever.

“Hmph. I’m getting sick of Chandler. And now…you’re really smiling.”

Aaron pursed his lips as if in an effort to keep his grin from spreading like wildfire across his face. He captured my hand and kissed my knuckles.

“I am. You’re cute when you’re pretend jealous.”

“I’m not pretend jealous or real jealous,” I protested.

“Maybe a smidge?” he teased, biting my thumb.

I yanked my hand away and fixed him with a mock glare that had him howling as I shifted gears and pulled into traffic again. “Okay, fine. Chandler has a crush on you and I don’t like it.”

“No, he doesn’t. But I suppose this is a good time to remind you that you are quite literally the best thing that ever happened to me,” he hummed dreamily.

I stole a peek at him. “Uh…thanks. What does that have to do with our infatuated real estate agent?”

“Chandler is straight. His ex-girlfriend is an editorial assistant at the magazine. And he isn’t the problem anyway. You’re not having fun.”

“No, I’m not. I don’t enjoy spending every Saturday with a hunky agent who drools over my husband like he’s the last brownie at a family picnic.”

Aaron chortled merrily. “I’m saving myself for you. Corner and middle pieces…all yours.”

I chuckled along with him. “So…what are we gonna do about this house dilemma? There’s no way we’re moving into a fixer-upper. We are not those people.”

“But…what if we learned to be those people?” he asked in a careful tone.

“Huh? How? When?” I shot another sideways glance in his direction before turning down an idyllic road with green fields dotted with massive trees, wild flowers, and horses in the distance.

He circled his wrist in that way he did when he was excited about an idea. “Hear me out. I’m just thinking aloud…what if we were the general contractors?”

“If we were the contractors, the house would fall around our ears,” I snarked.

“I’m serious, Matty. Listen, I’ve been thinking a lot about this. I’m not suggesting doing anything crazy ourselves, but we can certainly piece a few minor repairs and updates together to make a tired old house into a fabulous new home.”

“No, we can’t. We work. The last thing we’re going to want to do is sand floors or paint. We’ve done the painting thing before and—”

“And it was great! Our walls are perfection. Every color was chosen with love and applied with care. We can do it again.”

Oh, boy.

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Meet the Author

Lane Hayes loves a good romance! An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions, and were winners in the 2016, 2017, 2018-2019, and 2020-2021 Rainbow Awards. She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in a not quite empty nest.

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Cover Reveal: Model Love (A Shared World Collection) by Various Authors

COVER REVEAL 

FOR 

MODEL LOVE 

A SHARED WORLD COLLECTION

Welcome to the Model Love world, home of McKay’s Models–an inclusive, international modelling agency where everyone is free to be themselves. From exclusive headshots to couture catwalks, these beautiful models will turn heads wherever they go, and now it’s time for them to find their happily-ever-afters.

This shared world features seven brand new contemporary MM romances, by eight amazing authors, and launches on the 23rd September 2022. 

Couture Crush by Charlie Novak 

Exclusive by Ki Brightly and Meg Bawden 

Headshot by JP Sayle 

Pulling Focus by HJ Welch 

Getting Signed by Colette Davison 

Strike a Pose by Jackie North 

Denim by Design by Megs Pritchard 

Cover Artist: Sleepy Fox Studios

Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance

Release Day Dates

September 23

Couture Crush by Charlie Novak 

Beau Barrett is about to become Alt. Bride’s first male cover model, but what about his own fairy-tale ending?

childhood best friends to lovers, second chance, low/no angst, instalove

September 27

Exclusive by Ki Brightly and Meg Bawden 

Getting signed as an exclusive model for a new fashion line is a dream come true for Asa, but is there more to the rich Ruslan than meets the eye?

mafia, age gap, instalove

September 30

Headshot by JP Sayle 

Can Jack save his home and win the man who's claimed his heart?

friends to lovers, age gap, hurt/comfort, saviour, make-up lover

October 4

Pulling Focus by HJ Welch 

From this side of the lens, everything’s fake. Especially the love.

fake boyfriend, age gap, secret debt

October 7

Getting Signed by Colette Davison 

Can a chance at making a dream come true give Jae something more—Xander?

best friend’s brother, friends to lovers, size difference, opposites attract, make-up lover, low angst

October 11

Strike a Pose by Jackie North 

Make a wish on a shooting star. Cry to the moon like the coyotes do.

found families, hurt/comfort, opposites attract, cowboy/city boy, mutual rescue

 October 14

Denim by Design by Megs Pritchard 

Can Stan and Milo find love, or is mixing business and pleasure too much too handle?

age gap, opposites attract, low angst, hot loving

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Release Blitz + Giveaway: The Oracle's Hatchling (Oracle #2) by Mell Eight


 

Title:  The Oracle's Hatchling

Series: The Oracle, Book Two

Author: Mell Eight

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: 08/16/2022

Heat Level: 3 - Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 20700

Genre: Fantasy, LGBTQIA+, MM romance, royalty, mythical creatures, dragons, magic, war, hurt-comfort

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Description

Ling is hated by everyone in the Monastery because his birth killed his mother. He hopes Caste testing will ease his troubles—either his rank will be so low that everyone will forget about him, or it will be so high they’ll be forced to respect him. What he doesn’t expect is to walk out of the testing chamber with an egg emblazoned across his back. Laughed out of the Monastery, Ling hides away in Altnoia, where he becomes embroiled in a plot to overthrow King Edan and the Oracle who supports him.

The ringleader behind the plot is Prince Damarion, son of the evil despot who forced King Edan to flee in the first place—but the prince’s motives don’t match Ling’s expectations. He doesn’t anticipate a friendship, either, or what that friendship would become and the choices he would be forced to make.

Excerpt

The Oracle’s Flame
Mell Eight © 2022
All Rights Reserved

Ling was eighteen. He was old enough, dammit. Still, the Masters at the door had barred his way even as they laughed at his temerity. He’d been forced to sneak into the room through a back hallway instead.

Eighteen was the Oracle’s minimum requirement to be eligible for testing. Most trainees weren’t actually called into the testing chambers until they were in their twenties, but they could attend the choosing ceremony from age eighteen onward. Despite his past, Ling had that right too.

“Welcome,” the Oracle called jovially into the room.

Her body was thirteen years old, just on the cusp of growing into a woman. Her voice reflected that: both high with youth and cracking with growing vocal cords. Her eyes, though, as they swept over the assembled crowd, were colorless and emanated a sense of age and wisdom. Ling knew those eyes, but to him they still belonged to a different woman.

“Today is the day of choosing. The young men and women trainees of the Castes will finally know to which Caste they belong, and all will be welcomed under the mountain.”

Ling had to hide a snort at that. He had heard enough jibes by his peers and teachers about how he should die in the testing chamber. They hated him because he had been born and because the occurrence of his birth had killed his mother. Still, he had hope. When he tested into a Caste, that one Caste would have to acknowledge his existence. If he tested low enough, they could finally ignore him and let him go about his life. If he tested high enough, they would be forced to respect him. That had to be better than his status at the moment.

“Come forward, trainees,” the Oracle finished with an open sweep of her arms as if she were planning to give the entire room a hug.

A line slowly formed in front of the Oracle as those jostling for place jumped forward. The older trainees wanted to know their Caste and move on to the next phase of their lives. The younger ones were eager for the honor of being placed as well, despite not having waited as many years. Ling hung back, hidden in an alcove in the back of the room. If he approached too soon and was seen waiting in line, one of the Masters would no doubt try to throw him out. He had to approach just as the Oracle gave her decision on the final trainee.

The line slowly dwindled. Each trainee approached the Oracle with cautious reverence. She placed one hand on their forehead for a long moment and then delivered their fate. Of the fifteen trainees, she only chose five, entreating the other ten to return the next year. Only once the last trainee had backed away with a bow did Ling abandon his hiding place. The onlookers, thinking the choosing had finished, began shifting awkwardly as they waited for the Oracle’s permission to leave. When she didn’t, only continued to look toward the back of the room, they all turned to see where the Oracle was patiently gazing.

No one spoke out as Ling carefully made his way through the crowd. The Oracle would tell them if he was or was not allowed to approach her, and she hadn’t spoken. Finally, Ling reached the dais where the Oracle stood.

“Approach, trainee,” she said regally.

Ling bowed low and slowly stepped up to her. This could be his only chance to attend a choosing, now that the Masters knew he had snuck in. They would find some way to permanently bar him in the future. He had to be eligible for testing this year; he didn’t know what he would do if that weren’t the case.

“Hello, Hatchling,” the Oracle said softly for Ling’s ears only.

“Hello, Mother,” Ling replied in an equally soft voice.

She smiled at him, then lifted her hand to place it on his forehead. Ling closed his eyes and waited, hoping that it would end in his favor.

The Oracle took a long time, much longer than with the other trainees. The crowd again started to shift restlessly, almost angrily. They didn’t want Ling anywhere near their precious Oracle, and that he had outmaneuvered them was already pushing their buttons.

“You shall test first,” the Oracle proclaimed. “In one hour, arrive at my rooms.” She took a slow step backward, her hand brushing across his forehead once before it returned to her side. “Go on,” she added for his ears only.

Ling bowed again, trying to hide his jubilation. He was allowed to test! Not only that, he would test first! It didn’t matter that someone elbowed him in the ribs as he hurried through the crowd and out of the room. He had been given a place of honor, one that usually meant high placement in his Caste. If he became a Master, they would be forced to respect him. No one would elbow him in the gut just because they could, not when he was a Caste Master and they a mere member.

He practically skipped down the halls, heading directly to the Oracle’s rooms before someone could think to stop him. The halls were strangely empty; everyone either watching the choosing or in training classes, their duties more important than their hatred of Ling.

“May I help you, trainee?” Elder Flame asked gently as Ling approached the massive doorway to the Oracle’s rooms. Normally there were four Masters of the Castes guarding the door, but three had been standing behind the Oracle during the choosing. Elder Flame had remained behind to secure the rooms for the Oracle’s return.

He was one of the few in the Monastery who didn’t judge Ling on his past. He didn’t appear to judge anyone, and truthfully, only his Dragon trainee had ever gotten him riled. Elder Flame was as gentle and calm as a candle flame that kept away the dark of night. That he could also be an inferno, furious and raging, was never evident. He hadn’t taken on another newly tested Fire Caste in the years since the Dragon of Fire had chosen to stay permanently in Altnoia. Ling didn’t know which Caste he wanted to test into, but he did know that having Elder Flame as his teacher would be wonderful.

“I have been chosen for testing, within the hour,” Ling replied with a grin he couldn’t keep off his face.

“Then may I offer you congratulations,” Elder Flame replied with a short bow of recognition of Ling’s accomplishment. “Enter and await the Oracle’s arrival.”

Elder Flame pulled the heavy doors open with apparent ease. He was still strong, despite his advancing age. His hair was pure white, his face deeply wrinkled, and his back bent, but the fire in him remained strong and vibrant regardless.

“Thank you, Elder Flame,” Ling replied with the deeper bow expected between a trainee and a Master. Ling stepped through the doorway and entered the Oracle’s rooms. There was a low table in the center with cushions on the floor instead of proper chairs. Ling took a seat and settled in to wait.

The testing chamber door was wide open. Ling had never heard of such a thing before, but then he hadn’t been allowed in the Oracle’s rooms since he had been five years old. The outer room hadn’t changed much in the intervening years. New cushions, a few new decorations, but overall, it was the same. Only the open door, leading into the one place Ling had never walked through in the Oracle’s rooms, was strange.

It called to him. He wanted to stand and walk through the doorway. He felt an urgent need, akin to nothing Ling had ever experienced before. He had to hold on to the table to keep from getting back to his feet.

Finally, the doors opened again. The Oracle stepped into the room with all four Masters of the Castes, who usually guarded outside, walking in behind her. They were to be his witnesses, Ling realized. No one else had stepped forward to verify his bare, untouched back before he walked into the testing chamber. No one else had cared enough about him to offer him five minutes of honor.

“Are you prepared?” the Oracle intoned, her voice filled with the age usually only visible in her eyes.

“I am prepared, Oracle,” Ling replied firmly as he let go of the table and got to his feet. Without needing to be told, Ling pulled his homespun shirt over his head. He dropped the shirt onto the table and turned so the Oracle and the Masters could see the blank canvas that was his back.

“Very well. Enter the chamber and be tested.”

Ling turned around once more and bowed deeply to the Oracle. Then he answered the insistent call of the testing chamber and walked forward. The door snapped shut after he crossed the threshold. The room was dark. Ling couldn’t see his hand in front of his face and had no idea where any of the walls were. Instead of walking forward and possibly breaking his nose when he walked into hard stone, Ling stayed exactly where he was.

After a while, he realized someone was screaming. It was a woman’s voice, high-pitched with excruciating pain. There were other voices too, men and women yelling things about blood and a baby’s foot.

“I don’t care if the baby is facing the wrong way!” the woman’s voice snapped, still shrill and broken as she gasped desperately for air.

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Meet the Author

When Mell Eight was in high school, she discovered dragons. Beautiful, wondrous creatures that took her on epic adventures both to faraway lands and on journeys of the heart. Mell wanted to create dragons of her own, so she put pen to paper. Mell Eight is now known for her own soaring dragons, as well as for other wonderful characters dancing across the pages of her books. While she mostly writes paranormal or fantasy stories, she has been seen exploring the real world once or twice.

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