Release Blitz + Giveaway: Three's Company (Village Affairs #2) by Kristian Parker


Three's Company by Kristian Parker

Word Count: 53,296
Book Length: NOVEL
Pages: 230



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Book Description

They’re the perfect throuple…if only the rest of the world agreed.

Will Johnstone’s father is desperately ill, and he races home from London to the Yorkshire village of Napthwaite to be with him. Almost immediately he meets cute postman, Hardeep and mysterious newcomer, Andrew. There weren’t handsome men like this in Napthwaite when he lived here…

Heat flares between the three very different men, passion they have no intention of resisting, or denying. But having their roots deep and their lives entwined in a small village is not like living in a bustling metropolis. And with domineering mothers, problem teenagers, sick fathers and someone’s past knocking at the door, the path of true love is anything but smooth.

Can Will, Hardeep and Andrew, three very different people, steer their relationship past the rocks and find a way into uncharted territory…together?

Reader advisory: This book contains mentions of racism, on-page violence, and depictions of an abusive relationship.


Steam swirled in the air as Will Johnstone took the lid off the bone marrow broth that had sold like proverbial hotcakes since he’d insisted it went on the menu.

“Smells delicious,” Stacey, the new waitress, said with a wink.

Will smiled weakly. She had been flirting with him ever since she’d started. He would have to get one of the waiters to fill the poor girl in. She didn’t stand a chance.

To the untrained eye, the kitchen seemed to be in total pandemonium, but Will understood every move of this dance. He should. He’d been sous chef at Haven in Shoreditch for three years.

Serving under renowned chef, Anton Romano, he’d learnt all the foibles that his cantankerous boss preferred. As usual, Anton patrolled the pass where the plated meals waited to be served. If they stayed there longer than three minutes, he would scream at the restaurant staff until he went hoarse.

The month of August meant the traditional lull while valued customers enjoyed time on the beach in some far-flung place. Haven had that reassuringly expensive air that meant the clientele was more London’s high society rather than tourists. Will had decided to use this time to test out new dishes before the inevitable surge in September that built steadily to Christmas.

“Are you going to let all the air get to that fucking broth?” Anton shouted across the room. Will realised Anton meant him and dropped the lid with a clatter.

He didn’t even bother replying. Anton would be on to something else by now. That appeared to be the mousy new waitress whom he seemed determined to drive out of the door in less than two days. Will couldn’t remember if that would be a personal best for Anton or not.

These days, he didn’t even bother getting to know the wait staff unless Gustav, the maître d’, tipped him off that they’d lasted the first month. They would tend to stay on then.

Will hated kitchens in August. The heat outside made it unbearable. He’d often tried to persuade Anton to reduce the number of hot dishes they served but Anton wouldn’t have any of it. He didn’t seem to feel the heat or the cold.

The intensity of the kitchen had started to lessen, the orders coming in slower. Anton stalked past him towards his office.

“Anton, could I have a—?” Will started.

“You may not,” came the reply.

The staff regarded Will with amusement. They loved it when Anton treated him like shit. Anton liked to play a divide-and-rule game in his kitchen. He ruled with a culture where he positively encouraged climbing on top of colleagues, and at least three people were eyeing Will’s position.

The smell of the duck main being prepped at the next station filled Will’s nostrils. Anton might be a bastard, but he was an absolute genius too.

It had gone eleven and there would be no more orders. His body ached, but he had that adrenalin rush he loved after a mad shift. It would be hours before he could even think about sleep. As the staff scrubbed everything in sight, he made his way through to the office.

Anton sat with his feet up on the desk, engrossed in a recipe book that could have dated to Noah’s time on the ark.

“That looks interesting,” Will said. Ever the optimist, he could almost imagine one day the ice thawing, and Anton bothering about their working relationship.

Anton snapped the book shut with a bang and put it in his drawer. He scowled at Will, daring him to speak. Tonight clearly would not be that night.

As a concession to his seniority, Will had the honour of being able to hang his coat and bag up in Anton’s office rather than the changing area. Instead of engaging with a riled Anton, he chose retreat.

He could visualise the cold bottle of Sancerre in the fridge at home if bloody Angela hadn’t stolen it.

“This came for you,” Anton said.

Putting his jacket on, Will turned around to see Anton holding up a letter. Will frowned. Who sends letters these days?

“It’s from head office,” Anton continued. His expression suggested he was passing something toxic to Will.

Head office was Anton’s kryptonite. People only mentioned it if they absolutely had to. Anton had this fantasy that Haven was his own personal restaurant. He didn’t want to accept that they were really being bankrolled by a Chinese investment firm. Most of the communications with head office were done by Will. It was nice to know he came in useful for the boring stuff.

“Weird they didn’t just email,” Will replied.

Anton stood and wandered to the drinks cupboard they had in the office, that Will had been warned on pain of death to never touch.

“Fancy a whisky before you go?” Anton said, trying to come across as friendly which really did not suit him.

Will could have been knocked down with a feather. “Erm…fine. Just a small one.”

He poured a generous slug of Will’s favourite, Hibiki. His mouth started to come alive in anticipation.

Anton raised his glass. “To Haven.”

“Haven,” Will replied.

He took a sip. His tastebuds exploded with all the different flavours of honey, orange, sandal and oak. They fought and danced together as he took a second to enjoy it.

“Good stuff,” Anton said, smacking his lips.

“Amazing. My absolute favourite.”

“A man of taste,” Anton said, walking to his chair and sitting. He gestured to the chair in front of the desk.

Will lowered himself and waited. This Hibiki had more strings attached to it than a double bass.

“It seems one of the little shitcans out there has made a complaint,” Anton said.

Everything slotted into place now. Anton didn’t want to lose face in the kitchen but didn’t mind trying to curry favour behind closed doors. What a wily bastard.

Anton pushed the bottle to his side of the desk. Will sank in his seat with a feeling of gloom coming over him. This was going to be a long session.

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About the Author

Kristian Parker

I have written for as long as I could write. In fact, before, when I would dictate to my auntie. I love to read, and I love to create worlds and characters.

I live in the English countryside. When I’m not writing, I like to get out there and think through the next scenario I’m going to throw my characters into.

Inspiration can be found anywhere, on a train, in a restaurant or in an office. I am always in search of the next character to find love in one of my stories. In a world of apps and online dating, it is important to remember love can be found when you least expect it.

Follow Kristian on Facebook.


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Release Blitz + Giveaway: And God Laughed (Terry Luvello #1) by Joe Rielinger


Title:  And God Laughed

Series: Terry Luvello, Book One

Author: Joe Rielinger

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: 09/06/2022

Heat Level: 2 - Fade to Black Sex

Pairing: Male/Female

Length: 75100

Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQIA+, contemporary, trans, private detective, crime, murder mystery, suspense, family drama, priests, law enforcement, serial killer, religion, revenge

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Private detective Terry Luvello has just been handed the biggest case of his career. During confession, a man has twice declared his intent to commit murder. In both cases, the murders later occurred in exactly the way the unknown man had described.

Hoping to keep the church connection out of the newspapers, the parish pastor asks Terry to find the killer and act as his liaison with the Cleveland Police and Detective Hannah Page. While dealing with their own growing attraction, Terry and Hannah race from Cleveland to New Orleans to catch a brilliant and ruthless killer acting on his own twisted compulsion.

Those who know Terry describe him as intelligent, obsessive, and annoying, often all at once. To solve this case, Terry must also put his uniquely wry sense of humor into play, coming to terms with a longstanding grudge against the Catholic Church and his identity as a transgender male.


And God Laughed
Joe Rielinger © 2022
All Rights Reserved

Amos Johnson was an enforcer. A triggerman for the Cleveland mob, Amos stood six-foot-four with the physique and ornery nature of a habitual steroid user. His body was his business, and Amos took his business seriously.

Amos also loved tattoos. Known as “Tatts” to his friends, Amos proudly claimed to have visited every tattoo parlor in the city of Cleveland. Fully covered from head to toe, the design on his left forearm was a tribute to his mother.

Amos’s other tattoos, not nearly as sentimental, would get him thrown out of any polite gathering in the city. That assumed, of course, someone would be foolhardy enough to try.

Not being part of polite society myself, Amos and his tattoos didn’t bother me at all. We shared the same opinion about the Browns, blues music, and the current state of the movie industry. With the people I met in my business, that was pretty much the best you could hope for. Amos might not have understood me, but he was at least willing to make the effort.

I met Amos almost a year ago during a custody dispute with his ex-wife. His ex, a heroin addict, had run off with Amos’s two-year-old daughter, Leann. It wasn’t that Amos thought he should take care of his daughter—he knew he wasn’t cut out for parenthood any more than his ex-wife. Amos’s goal instead was to return Leann to the person who really did have custody, his beloved mother, Amelia. He hired me, a licensed private investigator, to make that reunion happen.

After a lucky break, I was able to return Leann to her grandmother within two days of her abduction. Amos was grateful, but he couldn’t pay me much. That was pretty much an occupational hazard, though Amos promised he would be forever in my debt. One year later, that was a marker I needed to call.

My old-school mother would call Amos a thug. I didn’t care if Amos was a thug because tonight, he was my thug. Bored and uncomfortable, Amos and I were crouched behind a car on the fifth floor of the main student parking garage at Creesmont College, a small liberal arts school about twenty miles outside of Greater Cleveland.

As colleges go, Creesmont wasn’t much. Its history department was rated as one of the top thirty programs for schools of its size, and that was about it for high-level academics at the college. In a move born of desperation, Creesmont administration decided to take advantage of the school’s low academic reputation by investing more in athletics. That bet had paid off, and the school’s football team currently ranked in the top five of Division Three schools across the country.

Amos and I were waiting to meet James O’Keefe. Considered a potential low-round pick in the next NFL draft, O’Keefe was the senior quarterback of this year’s Creesmont football team. Six-foot-three, movie-star handsome and outwardly friendly, he was every girl’s dream date. Unfortunately for those girls, James preferred rape to relationships.

My client, Jenna Adamcheck, was a third-year English major at Creesmont. To earn extra money, Jenna had signed up as a tutor for the Creesmont Athletic Program, and her first client was James O’Keefe.

With a long-term boyfriend at another school, Jenna had little interest in James’s early attempts at seduction. Her indifference only piqued James’s interest, and Jenna was surprised two weeks into their arrangement when James showed up at her dorm room requesting an unscheduled tutoring session. Jenna reluctantly allowed James into her room, where he then continued his courtship by pushing Jenna onto her bed and ripping off her sweater top.

Jenna was no shrinking violet. Taught by her father to always fight back, she aimed a well-placed knee at James’s crotch. The knee connected, and James, now in considerable pain, fought to regain the upper hand.

Jenna, however, was not through. Furious, she grabbed the fork she was using for dinner and aimed it at James’s left eye. While she missed, the fork drew blood as it gashed her assailant’s left cheek. Unsure how to deal with a woman who hit back, James ran from Jenna’s room. Cursing and in pain, he plotted his revenge.

Thinking she had resolved the incident, Jenna didn’t report James to Creesmont administration. That was a mistake; although, it did initially appear James had backed off.

Three days later, Jenna found the windshield of her 2018 Kia Forte smashed and a typewritten note placed on the driver’s seat. The message read, “Sluts always pay in the end.” Alarmed, Jenna reported the incident to campus police along with her suspicions as to the culprit. Without evidence, those suspicions were promptly ignored.


NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

Joe Rielinger lives in Cleveland, Ohio, with his wife, Lisa, and their two fun-loving, though often borderline crazy golden retrievers. With a lifetime love of mystery, crime, and detective novels, Joe is currently working on a sequel to his first book, And God Laughed. When he isn’t writing, Joe likes to cook, read, and pretend he might someday learn something about training his two dogs.

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Release Blitz + Giveaway: A Little More Trust (Hot Property #1) by Pauley J Ray


Title:  A Little More Trust

Series: Hot Property, Book One

Author: Pauley J Ray

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: 09/06/2022

Heat Level: 3 - Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 84600

Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQIA+, alpha males, blue-collar, businessman, home repair

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Ethan Scott has everything he could possibly want: an amazing career, great friends, and more money than he’s ever dreamed of. Oh, and men. So many men. Yep, life is perfect, and he doesn’t ever see it changing.

Nate Sullivan has sworn off men. They can’t be trusted. Simple as that. After years of being lied to by the man he thought he loved, the very married man with a wife and kids, he’s promised to never give his heart away or get emotionally attached to anyone again.

Ethan thinks it’ll be a sure thing to get Nate into his bed, but when the sexy and frustrating decorator rebuffs him at every turn, he comes up with a new plan to tempt the man he can’t stop thinking about. A sex agreement. For the duration of Nate’s work contract, with no strings attached and definitely no hearts and roses or emotional fallout.

It sounds like the perfect deal. Nate gets to have the man he’s been craving since they first met before walking away, his heart intact. Ethan gets to have Nate in his bed, finally satisfying the itch he’s constantly trying to scratch. Problem is, Ethan’s still trying to extricate himself from his disastrous marriage and if there’s one thing Nate won’t touch, it’s a married man. When Nate finds out what Ethan’s been hiding, the betrayal of trust leaves him devastated.

Nate leaves, but Ethan’s determined not to let him go. Will Nate give him the chance to explain, or will he risk losing the only man he’s ever truly loved?


A Little More Trust
Pauley J Ray © 2022
All Rights Reserved


Pouring the steaming coffee into my usual mug, I let the rich aroma fill my senses. God, I needed this. Taking a large gulp, I savored the strong taste as it hit my tongue, the heat burning my mouth and throat as I swallowed, I hoped like hell the caffeine would kick start my body after the late night I’d had.

I plopped myself down at the kitchen table to take the weight off my aching thigh muscles from last night’s activities when the front doorbell rang loudly in the quiet space. Who the hell was that—I glanced at the clock on the wall—at a quarter to nine on a Saturday morning?

The bell rang again so I pushed my seat back and dragged my ass up the stairs and down the first-floor hallway. Yanking the front door open to get rid of whoever had ruined my peaceful morning, I was about to give them an earful, but then I looked into his face and the words died on my lips.

The man standing on my doorstep must have been mid-twenties at the most. A few inches shorter than my own six two, he wore a blue baggy t-shirt a good couple of sizes too big, almost drowning his slim frame, and a pair of loose-fitting gray jeans and black sneakers. His angular face gave him a Scandinavian look, with a strong jaw and high cheekbones. Sandy blond hair shone golden in the morning sun, short on the sides and long on top, swept away from his forehead and held in place with some product. My fingers itched to slide through the strands to see if they were as soft as they looked and a sudden image of my hand gripping tightly in his hair as I tilted his head to lick up his neck flashed through my mind.

Despite the tempting package he presented, I couldn’t seem to tear my eyes away from his lips. Pink and full, they were begging to be kissed, and I had to bite down hard on my tongue to refrain from licking my own in readiness.

Well, hello, Blondie.

“Mister Scott?” his smooth, quiet voice asked, giving me goosebumps and pulling me from the trance I’d fallen into. Lifting my gaze to the palest green eyes I’d ever seen, I nodded at his question, my mouth suddenly unable to voice a coherent response. He shifted on his feet, “I’m, err, here about the painting quote.”

Damn, was that today?

He extended his hand out in front of him, and, giving myself a mental shake to wake the hell up, I reached for his and clasped his palm, my own larger hand encasing his. A shock of electricity shot up my arm catching me by surprise. The guy obviously felt the effect too as his eyes widened and he took in a short, sharp breath.


“Please, call me Ethan.” I held onto his warm hand a little longer than necessary before reluctantly releasing it and giving him a friendly smile.

The guy stiffened slightly and inclined his head. “I’m Nate.”

“Nate.” I savored his name on my tongue, rolling it around. “Please, come on inside.”

I stepped aside to let him enter, unable to resist the urge to lean in slightly and inhale his scent as he passed by me. Light and citrusy with a hint of soap. As he moved into the hallway, I gave him the once over and was disappointed to see his t-shirt covered his ass, obscuring my view.

Jesus. I had to stop perving on the guy. I deliberately pushed my hands into my sweatpants pockets to try to hide my growing erection and to subtly press my fingers against the head of my cock to give me some degree of control and hopefully, relief.

It didn’t.

Nate had stopped a few feet into the hallway, glancing around, assessing his surroundings, but he didn’t say anything and waited silently for me to take the lead.

“Come on,” I offered. “I’ll give you the tour, and we can talk about what I want.”

He paused for a second but then walked past me into the hallway, my eyes once more running over the baggy t-shirt and shapeless jeans he wore. I almost cursed out loud wondering what the body hiding underneath might look like, which was weird as this guy wasn’t my type at all, so why Nate intrigued me was puzzling.

Maybe it was because he wasn’t all over me like guys usually were? I inwardly scoffed at the notion of my ego being so fragile I couldn’t handle not being wanted and had something to prove. Not surprising with my upbringing but hell, I hoped I wasn’t that shallow.

Though there was something attractive about the way his calm demeanor pulled me in. With my hectic social life and full-on work schedule, I barely had a second in which to relax, but though I’d only met the guy five minutes ago, Nate slowed everything down and being in his presence made me calmer.

Mentally shaking my head, I tried to focus on the reason why Nate was here. To give me a quote to paint my house. So, concentrating on that, I proceeded to give him the grand tour.

I’d moved into the four-story Victorian townhouse just over a month ago, so had hardly any furniture cluttering the place, which made things easier to see and for Nate to get a feel for what needed to be done. With an open and airy first floor letting the light flood in and four bedrooms spread over the upper two floors, the place was far bigger than I needed, but as soon as the realtor had shown me around, I had to have it.

Taking the stairs down to the lower floor I led him past the dining room and into the huge open plan kitchen at the rear of the house with the French doors leading onto the garden.

I’d been watching Nate carefully as I’d given my tour. He still hadn’t said much, and his lack of communication was beginning to get to me, as was my inability to get a read on him, something I was usually extremely good at. But as we progressed and each room had been revealed, he’d relaxed a bit more as his obvious delight at the house and the possibility of getting his hands on such a historic building to paint had emerged.

Which I liked. A lot.

“You have a beautiful home, Mister Scott,” he said, his gentle voice filling the quiet surrounding us.

The words were the most he’d spoken since we’d begun the tour. I was extremely pleased at his compliment but, for some reason, refrained from saying so. Instead, shoving my hands back in my pockets, I rocked back and forth on my heels. “I like it, and as I stated earlier, please, call me Ethan.”

The corner of his lips curled up in the barest hint of a smile, making my heart beat a bit faster in my chest.

Pulling out a chair, he sat down at the whitewashed kitchen table and hooked his hands underneath his legs. “So, if you let me know what you’d like, I can put a quote together for you.”

I tried to resist, but, for some reason, the quiet man in front of me made me determined to get some sort of reaction, so I lowered my voice an octave and replied, “You want to know what I like?”

My flirty question had the desired effect as a full-on blush formed on his cheeks and his mouth dropped open.

God, he’s so cute.

“F-for the house.” He fidgeted in his seat. “What you’d like for the house.”

“Ah, okay.” Moving away from the counter and pulling out my own chair, I sat down opposite him, needing to get closer to this man who predictably leaned as far away in his seat as he could. “This is where I’ll need your help.” I rested my hands on the table. “I’m not good at this type of thing.”

I wasn’t clueless at all. In fact, I was damn good at painting, as my business partners and I had built a successful construction company from our humble beginnings with house renovations. And because of our success and the crazy number of hours I worked, it left me no time to paint my own home. Hence, the need to hire someone to do it for me.


NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

Pauley J Ray has been making up stories in his head for as long as he can remember, and now gets to write those stories down in his own gay romantic fiction, involving sexy, complicated, and flawed characters searching for their happily ever after.

When not writing, he loves meeting up with friends and can’t wait to get outdoors with his husband, hiking, camping and traveling to new and exciting places as often as they can.

He feels extremely lucky to be able to sit at his laptop, all day, every day, creating the heartfelt, angsty and passionate romance books he himself loves to read.

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Release Blitz + Giveaway: Leading Man (Hollywood Heartthrobs #1) by Valerie Ullmer



Book Title: Leading Man (Hollywood Heartthrobs Book 1)

Author and Publisher: Valerie Ullmer

Cover Artist: Valerie Ullmer

Release Date: September 2nd, 2022

Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance

Tropes: Interracial Romance, Feelings long denied, Insta love, Friends to Lovers, Opposites Attract, Hollywood Actor, Personal Assistant

Themes: Trusting Yourself, free to be who you want to be, pursuing dreams

Heat Rating:  5 flames

Length:  approx. 54 000 words/183 pages

It is part 1 of a 3 book series but does not end on a cliffhanger.


Buy Links - Available in Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK 


Spencer Atreus.

Gorgeous movie star, workaholic, and the ultimate laid back, can’t-help-but-love-him kind of guy.

Oh, did I mention gorgeous?

But the reason I, Westley Lee, hid my attraction to the man was two-fold.

I loved my job. As his personal assistant, he depended on me and I’d come to crave being wanted by him, even though it wasn’t exactly as I imagined. Also, being part of his life, even in the peripheral, was better than not being with him at all. And while it screamed desperation on my part, every intimate thought I had about him was locked in the recesses of my mind as I kept up appearances.

Until one night changed everything.

Seeing Spencer in pain crumbled all the walls I’d built between us to protect my heart. And in a moment of pure weakness, he saw through my barriers and I was unable to keep him in the dark about my feelings.

But will we find our happily ever after when a threat endangers our entire future?


The downside, or sinful temptation as I defined it, of living behind the man and being involved in everything from having groceries delivered, overseeing the few household staff he employed on a part-time basis, and having full access to his house and his finances was my life became inundated with everything Spencer Atreus.

The man was stunning. The fact he was also a straight cis movie star with people always wanting something from him or craving the man himself never went to his head, and I refused to be a sycophant.

Regardless of the images flashing behind my eyelids of the man with a gorgeous smile and beautifully sculpted body and what he could do to me in that bed, I locked all the fantasies down in the private recesses of my mind and drifted off as blackness descended.

A familiar, yet distant ring jolted me out of bed. I tried to blink the sleep from my eyes, but the gritty, dry discomfort meant I’d left my contacts in when I’d dropped off into slumber. Ignoring the irritation blinking caused and concentrating on the insistent sound, I scrambled toward it and on the fourth ring, I answered with a short, “What?”


All the years of daily reminders I’d given, lecturing at him about how much I hated being called by my last name, Spencer refused to call me anything else. But at that moment, I shoved back my irritation as the urgency in his voice caught me off guard and worst-case scenarios ran through my head.

“What’s wrong? Do you need me to pick you up?”

There was a shuffling, as though the phone was being wrestled away, and then another voice came on the line. One I avoided at all costs.

“Hey, sexy? Someone threw a punch, and it struck—”

“Where are you?” I demanded in a low growl.

I whipped around and strode toward the bathroom, holding the phone against my ear with my shoulder, and washed my hands. After I cleaned my fingers, leaving them wet, I yanked the dried contacts from around my corneas and sighed in relief. I added eye drops to clear up the redness and irritation. In a rush, I cleaned my glasses before I pulled on some jeans and a long-sleeved shirt. It was March in California and the nights could get cold.

He was still rambling about something that had nothing to do with the current location of one Spencer Atreus, so I barked, “Where?”

“At the house, but you—”

Not proud of my actions, I hung up on Spencer's friend and constant flirt, Mason Dawes, and stuck my feet in sneakers before I snagged my keys and wallet, locked up, and started up toward the main house.

It wasn’t as though I didn’t like Mason. I hadn’t allowed myself to get to know him because something about the man felt… off, and so I avoided him. He was never serious about anything, aside from maybe his career, and I refused to tolerate his attempts at chatting me up. Although it’d never come up during my employment with Spencer, Mason spotted me at Bayou, a West Hollywood gay bar early in my employment. That night, I tried finding another man who’d allow me to get over the stupid fascination I had with Spencer, but it was one of several nights of turning down offer after offer before I understood I’d have to live without. There was no substitute for Spencer in my eyes. And as far as I knew, Mason hadn’t yet told his friend.

About the Author 

Valerie resides in Denver, Colorado with her husband.  While she had been interested in writing a romance novel for years, it wasn’t until she wrote her first book that she really became hooked, and now she can’t stop.  She has notebooks full of ideas, and she plans to write most of them in the years to come.

When she’s not writing or learning about the craft of writing, she can be found surfing the internet way too much, watching Investigation Discovery and thinking that her neighbors are up to no good, and finding new ways to get her husband to laugh.

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Audiobook Review: Breaking Cover (Life Lessons #2) by Kaje Harper

Sometimes one moment defines a man.

For homicide detective Mac, it's been a good year. Having Tony to go home to makes him a better cop and a better person. For Tony, it's been hard being in love with a man he can't touch in public. Evasions and outright lying to friends and family take a little of the shine off his relationship with Mac, but Tony is determined to make it work.

As the Minneapolis Police Department moves into a hot, humid summer, Mac is faced with a different challenge. A killer has murdered two blond women, and the police have no real clues. Mac hates to think that another murder may be the only way they'll make progress with the case. But when that murder happens, it hits close to home for Tony. And suddenly Mac faces an ultimatum: Come out into the sunlight and stand beside Tony as his lover, or walk away and live without a piece of his heart.

Narrator: JF Harding

Listening Length: 9 hours and 46 minutes

Reviewer: Annery

This is Bk.2 in the Life Lessons series and I can unreservedly say that it’s a welcome addition along with the continued narration by J. F. Harding. I would however add that to really appreciate this volume you should read Bk.1, “Life Lessons”. You won’t regret it.

About a year has passed since the events in the first book and Tony & Mac have settled into a kind of half life. Tony is still a teacher and Mac continues working as a Homicide Detective. In the privacy of Tony’s apartment they’re like any other new couple, learning each other’s ticks, foibles, and contours but this discovery is only possible away from prying eyes because Mac is decidedly still in the closet and with no immediate plans for coming out. This situation cannot hold and a case lands in Mac’s lap that will change both of their lives irrevocably.

What I like best about Kaje Harper’s books is that while adhering to the tropes of romance she manages to keep her stories grounded in the material reality of when & where the MC live. In this case I’m sure many readers will have issues with Mac being in the closet and Tony, despite being “out & proud”, acceding to essentially being a dirty secret. To make matters worse (or maybe it’s a logical side effect) Mac can’t even say the three magic words. It’s a lot and I appreciated the realistic depiction of a same sex couple living in this world.

The things they have in common, their sexual and emotional compatibility, what makes them a couple, are the things that keep Tony clinging to a relationship that goes against everything he’s fought against. He’s infinitely patient and accommodating to Mac’s work and frame of mind but something happens and Tony can no longer extend such largesse. Mac must make a choice and I’m happy to say he comes through in shining color when it matters.

I liked how things developed fairly organically. How Mac’s reasons for staying closeted, for having his daughter in the care of his cousin, were absolutely logical without being melodramatic.I also liked that though there are two children who are integral to the story they don’t overshadow Tony & Mac. Yes, the children are perhaps a bit idealized, but we already have enough drama to go around. It’s also worth noting that this was originally published in 2011 and it seems like the story takes place around that same time, Marriage Equality hasn’t been decided, and that reality necessarily informs the mindset of the characters. It’s almost historical!

To recap: I really liked it, loved J. F. Harding’s narration, and will definitely be looking forward to the next volumes on audio.

Unimportant Niggles That Will Bother No One But Me: As I said, the book/story was originally published in 2011 and in a sense is an artifact of a certain time & place. I own copies of the 2011 publication. There’s been an effort (IMO misguided) to change some terms and even more to align with 2022 standards. It is/was unnecessary and at times just makes the story read anachronistic as the rest remains rooted in the past and the reader is pretty aware of it, i.e. Tony & Mac can’t get married in their state.

I was given a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Release Blitz + Giveaway: The Final Salvation (Four Packs Trilogy #3) by Nic Starr and BL Maxwell



Book Title: The Final Salvation (Four Packs Trilogy Book 3)

Authors/Publishers: Nic Starr/BL Maxwell

Cover Artist: BL Maxwell

Release Date: August 31, 2022

Genre: M/M Paranormal Romance 

Tropes: Protector/Ward, Shifters, Fated Mates, Friends to lovers, Forced Proximity, Opposites Attract, Hurt/ Comfort, MM Paranormal

Themes: Fight for Love, Fated Love

Heat Rating: 4 flames     

Length:  approx. 40 000 words

It is not a standalone book. It is the third in the Four Packs series.


Buy Links - Available in Kindle Unlimited

Universal Link  | Amazon US  |  Amazon UK

Series Link


Luca Bassani enjoyed a quiet, ordinary life. As an IT guru, most of his time was spent engrossed in technology and away from people. Now all that’s changed. As the one man who is a compatible donor, he’s suddenly essential to keeping his alpha healthy and preventing him from succumbing to The Slow Death. But serving his alpha, Zander Kingston, is something Luca is proud to do.

Diesel Jones is an enforcer. Following in his father’s footsteps, he has big boots to fill. But he’s focused and dedicated to the East Territory pack and avoids anything that distracts him from his duty. His dedication, together with his brawn and brains, ensure his reputation as being the best at his job.

When a possible threat on Alpha Zander Kingston’s life is uncovered, tensions rise within the pack. Security is increased and Diesel is assigned as the personal bodyguard for Luca. They find themselves paired against the enemy while battling their growing attraction.

Diesel must keep Luca safe and ensure his alpha’s life by doing so. But pack rivalry is strong and when threats become actions, suddenly Diesel is in the race of his life to ensure the future of the pack and to save the person who has come to mean everything to him.

The Final Salvation is part of the Four Packs Trilogy. While it can be read as a standalone, to ensure maximum enjoyment, it is best read in series order.

#mmparanormal #shifters #fatedmates #forcedproximity #oppositesattract #hurtcomfort


“Alpha, we came as soon as we got your message. We’re here to accompany to you to the North Territory as soon as you’re ready.” The one that spoke was the head enforcer, a big man with grey hair that somehow made him seem less intimidating—until he turned his eyes on Luca. They were not the warm, friendly eyes of someone’s grandfather, but the cold emotionless glare of a serious enforcer.

“Luca and my mate will also be joining us. I want one of you on each of them,” Zander directed.

The head enforcer bristled but bowed his head in respect. “Of course, Alpha. I suggest we take two vehicles. That way it won’t be quite so obvious that we’re all traveling together. The less conspicuous the better.”

One of the enforcers was familiar to Luca, but he couldn’t place where he knew him from. He was younger than the others, but in height and bulk he was bigger than them. He scanned the room while Zander spoke more in depth to the older enforcer, as Marrok watched on. He had yet to start the transfusion, and Luca wondered if they’d still be doing a treatment. When Luca’s and the enforcer’s eyes locked on each other, the strange feeling Luca had earlier intensified. The enforcer’s eyes widened in shock, but just as suddenly as it had happened, he looked away. Luca narrowed his eyes as he focused on the enforcer. His hair was cut short, and his eyes were both intelligent and vigilant. He seemed to see everything and analyze it as either a threat or a minor annoyance. He was all muscle, and it was no small feat that his shirt didn’t explode from all it contained.

Luca laughed at his thoughts, making everyone look. A blush crept up from his neck to his cheeks. “Sorry, I was just remembering something funny I saw on television,” he mumbled.

About the Authors

BL Maxwell

BL Maxwell grew up in a small town listening to her grandfather spin tales about his childhood. Later she became an avid reader and after a certain vampire series she became obsessed with fanfiction. She soon discovered Slash fanfiction and later discovered the MM genre and was hooked. 

Contact and Social Media Links

Nic Starr

Nic Starr lives in Australia where she tries to squeeze as much into her busy life as possible. Balancing the demands of a corporate career with raising a family and writing can be challenging but she wouldn’t give it up for the world.

Always a reader, the lure of m/m romance was strong and she devoured hundreds of wonderful m/m romance books before eventually realising she had some stories of her own that needed to be told!

When not writing or reading, she loves to spend time with her family–an understanding husband and two beautiful daughters–and is often found indulging in her love of cooking and planning her dream home in the country.

You can find Nic on Facebook, Twitter and her blog. She’d love it if you stopped by to say hi.

Contact and Social Media Links


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Release Blitz + Giveaway: River Hag (The Devil's in the Details #5) by Pelaam


River Hag by Pelaam

Book 5 in the The Devil's in the Details series

General Release Date: 30th August 2022

Word Count: 32,322
Book Length: SHORT NOVEL
Pages: 137



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Book Description

Sometimes, a friend in need can be deadly in deed.

Keegan has an abusive stepfather, Frank, and is bullied at college. He dodges bullies, led by Owen, by hiding close to the river. He tells his friend about the attacks and his narrow escape. The next day in college, pondweed is found in Owen’s locker, and he blames Keegan. The pondweed is sent to John Bull, and on examination is found to have a paranormal resonance, so he sends Emery, Alex and Kadin to investigate.

When Owen is found drowned in a bathtub, secured with pondweed, the team believe they’re dealing with a grindylow—a river hag. They need to establish whether the creature is acting for its own ends or at someone’s direction. Circumstances point to Keegan, but the team can’t find the connection and feel time is running out.

The next victim is Keegan’s stepfather, and with Keegan missing, Kadin decides to try to communicate with his spirit. He learns that the grindylow is protecting Keegan, but the team know that its nature means that Bo, now Keegan’s lover, will be the next victim.

But first, they need to find Keegan.

Reader advisory: This book portrays the deaths of two secondary characters.


From his bedroom doorway, Keegan winced as he listened to his mother and stepfather argue. He hoped it didn’t end as so many of them had before, with his mother sporting a new bruise and claiming she’d walked into a door, tripped and fallen or inadvertently punched herself when changing the duvet.

The rows had increased in frequency and intensity over the last couple of years. He wants me out of the house, but I didn’t get the qualifications I needed to go to uni. I spent too much time babysitting. At least with my brother Jonnie now being at school, he doesn’t have to see or hear this.

“He needs a fucking job, not this stupid college thing.” Frank’s voice boomed up the stairs, and Keegan cringed closer to the doorframe.

Getting into college had been his one saving hope. That by studying there, he’d upgrade his qualifications enough to secure a place in university. But the college was no haven. The class bully had found Keegan to be a suitable victim, and his life there was being made a misery. And that homophobic prick of a principal has done nothing to stop it.

“He’s been bullied.” Keegan’s mother’s voice was starting to waiver, and Keegan clenched his hands into fists.

“Then he needs to be a man and deal with it, not run and hide behind you. Pathetic little pansy. You’ve made him soft.”

That was the last straw. Keegan ran down the stairs and into the living room.

“Don’t you dare diss my mother.” Anger sizzled through Keegan’s veins, even though Frank had several inches and almost a hundred pounds on him.

“Well, maybe if you were as quick to defend yourself, you wouldn’t get bullied.” Frank stuck his meaty fists onto his hips. “She says you’re taking a mental health day. Well, fuck that. Either you go to that college like you’re meant to or you drop out and find somewhere else to live. I’m not having a freeloader living here. I work, she works and either you study and move out or quit and move out. I don’t care which.”

“It’s too late to go in now, and the college allows students to take odd days off, so there’s no issue with today. I’ll be back there tomorrow, and as soon as I can, I’ll be out of here.”

“Keegan, no.” His mother looked devastated, and he hurried to clasp her hands, leaning in to whisper in her ear.

“And as soon as I have somewhere settled, you and Jonnie are coming to live with me. Don’t think his fists will stop at you. You have to think of Jonnie.”

“Why don’t you go out for a nice walk by the river?” Ellie smiled at him, even if her lips trembled. “There are fixings for sandwiches in the fridge and a couple of cans of soda. Maybe some friends will join you after class.”

“Too fucking soft.” Frank scowled as he pushed his way past Keegan and his mother, and Keegan let out a silent sigh of relief.

“Go. Hurry.” Ellie jerked her head toward the kitchen and moved as if to shield him from Frank’s view.

It didn’t take Keegan long to make up a set of cheese and pickle sandwiches for himself and some tuna ones in a separate wrapper. Adding a packet of chips and a can of soda to each, he bundled them up securely

Keegan packed the two separate sets of food into a rucksack and went out through the kitchen door. The last thing he needed was to run into his stepfather again. Keegan didn’t have to think where he could go. He already had a favorite part of the river.

This wasn’t the part of the wall and river that tourists frequented. It was in a quiet and secluded area. There was a secondary trail worn where people had left the main pathway and which disappeared into a mix of undergrowth and trees that overhung the river.

After a few minutes of determined ducking and weaving, Keegan emerged at a comfortable place to sit, hidden from the walkers along the top of the wall and from the few equally dogged fishermen who lined the riverbank.

Several meters to his left was a thick overhang of trees, impossible to penetrate, but Keegan gave a whistle, which was answered a moment later.

“Hi, Ginny. How are you, today?” Keegan settled down and dug into his rucksack.

“Very well. I didn’t expect you.” The voice was soft and slightly accented, and Keegan sighed.

“Yeah, well. I should be in college, but I took the day off. There’s a class bully who has decided I’m fair game, and I just couldn’t handle it today. Here… I made you up a snack pack.” Keegan tossed the well-packed tuna sandwiches, chips and drink over the impenetrable foliage.

The rustling noise confirmed that Ginny had it, and he chuckled softly at the rapid crunching noises.

“You really like chips. You can have mine, too. The sandwiches will be enough for me.”

“Chips are good.” There was a suitable pause before the crunching resumed.

“You know, we’ve talked for a long time. It’s nice to have a friend I can chat with. I wish you didn’t keep your distance, though.” Keegan peered into the bushes, but it was impossible for him to see through to the other side. “I wish you didn’t have to live this way.”

“I’m not like you.” Ginny finally whispered. “I don’t want you to not talk to me anymore.”

“Why would I do that? Because you’re homeless and live rough? That doesn’t bother me.”

“Tell me about this bully.” Ginny spoke the word as if it were unfamiliar, and Keegan took a bite from his sandwich while he considered her request.

“Usual story… He’s big and brash, has a couple of sycophants who hang off his every cruel word and mean joke. Look… You have your secret about living here, and I have mine. I’m gay. I like boys. I always have. There was never a time when I wanted a girlfriend. Do you still want to be my friend?”

“Yes. Boy, girl, all the same. No difference.”

“I’m glad to hear you say so. There are a lot of people who wouldn’t agree with that sentiment at all. Well, anyway, Owen found out I was gay. He has left stuff in my locker, on my desk and would have probably given me a beating on one occasion if one of the other students hadn’t noticed something going on and come over to investigate.”

“Hurt you?” Ginny’s voice grew sharper, and Keegan shivered as a cool breeze disturbed the normal sheltered aspect of his hiding place.

“Don’t worry. He didn’t.” Not yet anyway. Keegan had no illusions that while Owen remained at the college, there would inevitably be a confrontation. But I need this course to get to uni. Better to go as a mature student than to never go at all.

“He shouldn’t hurt you.” Ginny stated firmly.

“No, he shouldn’t, and neither should anyone else, but haters gotta hate. Maybe someday they’ll see that the color of your skin, or who you love, doesn’t make you any more or less human. We’re all equal. All the same.”

“Same.” Ginny echoed the word, then fell silent. “Someone’s coming.”

Almost as soon as Ginny had spoken, Keegan heard indistinct voices. No one comes down here. Unless you know about it, there’s no way to see any of this from up on the wall. Then Keegan’s blood ran cold.

“You sure this is where he comes?” Owen’s voice boomed out, filled with anger and irritation. “There’s nothing here. Nowhere he could go.”

“This is where I was told he came.”

Keegan recognized the second voice as one of Owen’s hangers-on and groaned softly.

“Ginny, it’s Owen, the bully I told you about. He’s looking for me.”

“For you?” Ginny whispered. “Stay still. Say nothing.”

“I can’t risk it.” Keegan tugged on his beanie, tucking his distinctive auburn waves inside it. “I don’t want him coming down here. I don’t want him to find out about you and that this is where you live. It would never be the same again or safe for you.”

“You’re willing to protect me?” Ginny’s voice sounded so much like a lost child’s that Keegan’s heart ached for her.

“Yes, I would. Now you stay here.”

“No. You stay.” Ginny’s sharp hiss surprised Keegan, but it did the trick. Halfway to his feet, Keegan dropped back onto his ass with a muted grunt.

“What are you doing?” he asked, but there was only the rustle of foliage as Ginny moved. “Ginny!” Keegan whispered a little louder then fell silent at the approaching crunch of booted feet on resilient foliage.

“He’s not gonna walk along this. It’s too difficult for a fag like him.” Owen‘s increasingly irritated voice was gut-churningly close, and Keegan held his breath, turning his face to hide it.

“Maybe he walks along the bank, then.” Another voice. “There may be a niche down there. After all, the fishermen go there.”

“He probably tries to pick them up.” Owen’s callous sneer jabbed into Keegan’s heart.

Better he thinks that than tries to come this way. There’s no escape if he finds me. And no one would know my body was here except Ginny. Who’d believe her over Owen and his gang? Even if she dared to report it to the police.

Keegan’s increasingly dark thoughts were disrupted by another shout from Owen. He held his breath, hoping that his choice of drab colors for clothing worked their usual magic and let him go unnoticed.

“What’s that? I thought I saw something…in the water.”

“I can only see weeds. The river’s really dingy down here. Can’t imagine anyone fishing in this.” A third voice responded to Owen. “It’s slippery. Watch out!”

Even as they called out, there was a splash, followed by Owen’s loud cursing.

“Don’t fucking stand there gawping. Get me out. Fucking weeds are everywhere. I’m fucking soaked. My trainers will be ruined, and they cost a packet. Dad’ll be furious.”

“You can come back to my place.” The second voice offered. “Dry off there. We’ll come up with some excuse for what happened.”

“Yeah.” The third voice added. “A good reason why you’d be near to water.”

The voices grew fainter, and Keegan began to breathe easier. Then Ginny’s voice startled him, coming from the right rather than the usual left.

“They’ve gone now. It’s safe for you to finish eating.”

“Thanks, Ginny. I need a minute or two to calm down. I thought he had me, then.” Keegan opened his soda and took a couple of deep swallows, before setting it down again. “Thank goodness Owen slipped into the river.” Keegan could help but giggle. “Serves him right.”

“Eat.” Ginny insisted, and Keegan drew out his sandwiches and ate them, realizing just how hungry he was once he’d started.

“Sorry. I haven’t been much company today, thanks to Owen’s unwanted visit. It’ll be better next time.” Keegan stood and brushed off the breadcrumbs decorating his gray hoodie. “I don’t think Owen will come back here after his dip in the river.”

“He won’t be back.” Ginny sounded so assured that Keegan smiled.

“You saw him fall in, didn’t you?” he chuckled. “Wish I could have seen it, too. But I needed to make sure he didn’t spot me or find out about our little sanctuary.”

“Sanctuary?” Ginny asked and Keegan nodded, unsure of whether she could see him or not.

“Somewhere I can come and feel safe, be myself now you know I’m gay. Well, I’d better go. I have homework to do, and I want to read up on a few things to be ready for my class tomorrow.”

Keegan dodged his way through the foliage and was just in time to see Ginny duck behind one of the thicker trees beside the riverbank. Fuck, that sludgy-green blanket she has looks disgusting. Maybe I can bring her a new one—even some of my old T-shirts.

“I’ll see you soon, Ginny.” Keegan waved toward the tree as he made his way up to the wall.”

“Soon.” Ginny called after him, but when he glanced back, there was no sign of her—just the foliage, the river and the weeds that floated in its center.

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About the Author


Living in clean, green New Zealand, Pelaam is a multi-published author of gay romance and erotica. When not working at writing, Pelaam likes to indulge in her other passions of cookery and wine appreciation.


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