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Monthly Archives: May 2017

Guest interview and Review ~ Isobel Starling

A warm welcome to Isobel Starling.

Thank you for visiting my blog and agreeing to tell us a little more about yourself.

 

The book that holds everlasting resonance…

The Tawny Man” Trilogy by Robin Hobb, specifically book 3 “Fools Fate”.  Hobb’s fantasy story covers 6 books about a bastard prince and his best friend who is the Kings Fool. Fool is an androgynous, mischievous, and completely compelling character and I fell madly in love with him.

The relationship that develops between Fitz and Fool tore my heart to shreds and in the final book the author just put the remnants of my shattered heart through the mincer!  Why do we torture ourselves so with books?  The story just blew me away and it was one of those books that affected me so deeply that I still tear up thinking about what happened.  Suffice to say, my own writing journey began with that book as I was compelled to write Fitz and Fool Fanfic, and after that my own original stories flowed out.

 

The priority activity if you were invisible for a day…

OOOH this would be a bad, bad thing.  It would probably involve male changing rooms at the swimming pool or gymnasium.

 

The film you can watch time and time again…

There are several and I can’t pick one, sorry!  Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid, Galaxy Quest, The Princess Bride, Austin Powers, Bram Stokers Dracula

 

The poem that touches your soul…

“As Sweet” by Wendy Cope

It’s all because were so alike

Twin souls we two

We smile at the expression, yes

And know it’s true

I told the shrink

He gave our love a different name

He can call it what he likes, it’s still the same

I long to see you, hear your voice

My narcissistic object choice.

 

The figure from history you would most like to buy a pie and a pint…

 I don’t know if he qualifies as a figure from history but I would choose SirTerry Pratchett.  He was a genius, and I’m sure he would have been the most delightful company for a pie and a pint – as long as the pie was not made by his character ‘Cut me own throat’ Dibbler, as they were made with mystery meat… probably rat!

 

The piece of wisdom you would pass onto a child…

 Stop picking, you’ll make it worse.

 

The philosophy that underpins your life…

Please see above!  :-p

 

As You Wish (Shatterproof Bond #1) is now available as an audiobook narrated by Gary Furlong 

 

1 wedding, 2 best men, one hell of a love story!

Declan Ramsay was to be best man at his brother’s wedding in Scotland, sharing best man duties with the bride’s gay kid brother Sam.  The best men wouldn’t meet for the first time until a few days before the wedding, so communicated by email for more than a year.

But on meeting Sam Aiken, Declan is surprised to see he isn’t a kid at all, but a striking, athletic blond man with a wicked sense of humor.  Declan is alarmed by the ferocious attraction he feels for Sam. And as the attraction is reciprocated, the events at Dunloch Castle change everything Declan has ever believed about himself.

But is Sam Aiken all he appears to be?

 

Audible.com  |  Audible UK

I enjoyed reading this story and the subsequent two books last year. I was a little bemused with the direction this story went at the time, but I think knowing where the story, series, and characters were heading helped me appreciate the audiobook more. In fact, I listened and followed along with the ebook at the same time and was pleased that the story had received a subsequent edit at some point. Some of  the vocabulary and other phrases had been modified, removed or improved. Not that there were many times overall, but enough to make an impression.   

Sam and Declan are fun and steamy together, enjoying some light bondage once they start making out. The story is a sweet GFY, almost insta-love, but not quite because they’d already experienced a year long internet communication, so sort of knew each other. I was surprised they didn’t refer to these conversations more often.  I liked Declan’s character. He’s bowled over by his attraction to Sam and the possibility of coming out as bi/GFY—he doesn’t even know himself—is all new to him and he copes with this new relationship admirably.

The route the story takes these characters was totally unexpected. Although there are a few clues along the way, the events and the revelations about Sam and his father in the last few chapters seemed rather obscure. For me, Sam’s character didn’t quite match up to his ‘career’.

I like Isobel’s writing and her engaging storytelling style. It’s easy to read and her descriptive phrases certainly paint a picture in my mind.  I do have one major issue though and that’s with the frequent head-hopping that occurs because it pulls me out of the story. I had to go back and work out whose point of view the scene is being viewed from. It often occurs with Sam and Declan, but also with a few of the other characters. It’s especially confusing when it happens within the same paragraph.

Gary Furlong was a new narrator for me. It often takes me a time to adjust to a new voice, but his performance was commendable. I particularly enjoyed the intimate scenes. He made a clear distinction between Sam’s posh English accent and Declan’s Scottish brogue and he portrayed the other characters well, even the various female ones.

Born in Germany, Isobel Starling spent most of her twenty-year professional career making art in Ireland.  She relocated to the UK and, faced with the dreaded artist’s creative block, Isobel started to write and found she loved writing more than making art.

The Shatterproof Bond series is an Amazon Gay Romance bestseller.  Isobel has just completed her eleventh book and signed French and German and Italian, translation and publishing rights deals for the whole Shatterproof Bond series.  The As You Wish translation “Comme Vous Voudrez” is a best seller on Amazon France.  It was released in German in March 2017, and as an audiobook in May 2017.

 

 

https://isobelstarling.wix.com/books

https://twitter.com/isobel_starling

https://www.goodreads.com/isobel_starling

https://www.amazon.com/Isobel-Starling/e/B00U1MKE5I

 

SaveSave

Review ~ By The Numbers

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Paperback: Amazon US | Amazon UK 

Length: 37,400 words

Cover Design: Meredith Russell

 

Secrets and lies threaten Brandon and Daniel’s new love.

Brandon Hoselton is running scared, finding security in his obsession with patterns and numbers. With his family threatened, he feels he has nowhere left to go, and even considers ending his life to keep them safe. Until Sanctuary, in the shape of the enigmatic Daniel Karnes, gives him a reason to stay alive and offers the possibility of a future free from fear.

Former SEAL Daniel is new to Sanctuary, tasked with watching Brandon, a brilliant geek with way too many secrets. Falling in love with quirky Brandon is easy; now he just has to make sure secrets don’t end up with them both dying.

The only way of destroying Varga is to cut the crime boss’s money, and the two men become part of an intricate take-down involving millions of dollars. But Brandon has a secret he can never share with Daniel, and their new love is at stake.

When the villain has murder in mind, sometimes the only way to stay alive is to lie.

 

 

Brandon took down the drapes in his room as soon as he was able to. He could have asked his sisters, but they didn’t know just how badly looking at the geometric pattern in the fabric upset his equilibrium. They knew he was weird; most sisters thought their big brothers were weird. But he also had twitches and nervous tics about certain things, and they’d seen it all, even though his list of crazy was something he could manage now.

They didn’t need to know he’d spent three hours last night counting the squares on the drapes and being irritated to the point of stimming that they weren’t even and the stitching was wrong. And Jesus, stimming—having to move his fingers, loosen his muscles, anything to ground himself—he hadn’t done that in years.

And hell if he was going to ask Daniel into his room to help him, because Daniel was someone Brandon did not want in his space. Not taking down drapes, or talking to him, or even breathing near him. There was only so much of Daniel that Brandon could take, because when he was anywhere near him, he lost his ability to form coherent sentences. He didn’t have time to have these powerful feelings of lust that kept hitting him.

Like the time he and Daniel had met on the landing and Daniel had been in just a towel. They’d only been together a few days, but Daniel was funny, and sexy, and dangerous, and exactly everything Brandon should be avoiding in his life.

He had way too much to worry about, and a date written in his memory that he wouldn’t forget any time soon. The deal he had—to stay alive, to hide himself away, and then to present himself to Varga—was just about the only thing that filled his thoughts.

Varga thought that, on a given date, Brandon would join him in his huge mansion, pull together all the funds Varga had hidden in various places, and then join him in whatever country the US didn’t have an extradition treaty with.

Like hell he would. He was meeting with Varga, getting all his money, dispersing it to the right causes, and sending any intel he could get out to the authorities.

And then Varga would kill him for doing that.

Inevitable, really, and something he’d come to terms with. He’d blown his chance to do this when he’d worked for Varga, so he had to make up for it. He was doing the right thing.

He’d been biding his time in Hope, but had been unfortunate to be scooped up by Sanctuary. He just needed to work out a way to get away from them, and in particular Daniel, but he had about ten days to go yet until that magic date when Varga had decided he would be leaving the country.

For now, Sanctuary was safe for him and his sisters.

So yeah, choosing to avoid having Daniel in his room, with his probing questions and his distracting body, was an easy decision to make in among all that crap.

The only downside was that it meant he had to take the drapes down himself.

Trying to shoot himself hadn’t gone so well; instead of being dead and gone, he had a through shot and muscle damage which hurt like knives in his skin. He waited until day four, when the pain in his shoulder had lessened to the point where he could at least manage to get out of bed and to the window but he couldn’t handle looking at those drapes any longer.

Today he actually felt capable of dealing with drapes he didn’t need anyway. There were blinds at the windows, and behind the blinds each window was coated so you could see out but no one could see in. He pushed the offending fabric under the bed and clambered back to a standing position, wincing in pain as he banged his shoulder, and sat on the edge of his bed.

The drapes were still there—he could picture them under the bed—and exasperated, he lay back on the mattress and attempted to think of something else. Blue skies, blue mugs, blue eyes. Anything blue, because it was a color that calmed him.

He lasted about a minute.

Huffing, he rolled up carefully and reached under the bed, pulling out the drapes and screwing them into a ball. Opening his door, he threw them out onto the landing, not even checking if anyone was standing there.

Daniel. Of course it would be Daniel, who reacted like a ninja and had the drapes under submission in seconds.

Once they were dead, or at least overpowered with some sort of karate move, Brandon felt like he should apologize.

“My bad,” he said, and shut the door in Daniel’s face.

He expected the knock, but hadn’t quite decided what he was going to say to Daniel when he came in. Maybe if he ignored the request to enter and said nothing, then Daniel might go away.

Daniel knocked again, and this time instead of waiting for Brandon to say he could come in, he pushed his way in, looking irritable. He was shirtless, his hair wet—evidence of a recent shower—his sweats hanging low on his hips and every muscle deliciously tight and toned.

“What the hell, Brandon?” he asked, his dark eyes angry, his lips in a set line. He wasn’t holding the drapes, so Brandon counted that as a win.

“I didn’t want them up at my window,” Brandon explained, and eased himself down into the chair by his bed. He was most comfortable there; he could see out the window and it was easier to keep the pressure off his injury.

“So you decided to throw them in my face?” Daniel sounded less pissed and more confused about getting fabric in his face.

Brandon indicated the door. “To be fair, I didn’t know you were there.” Then he couldn’t resist, “And you heroically subdued them so fast, I knew you could handle the danger.”

 

 

This is the exciting conclusion to the Sanctuary series. I’ve only read books 8-10 to follow this part of the story arc, and have enjoyed each one and the different romance pairings. While confined in various safe houses Brandon and Daniel fall for each other. There’s some tingling UST as the two men resist this attraction at first. 

Daniel, a former SEAL, now a Sanctuary operative is tasked with protecting Brandon and his two sisters. Brandon exhibits autistic traits, shown through his thoughts and repetitive calming techniques. He’s gifted with regard to numbers and calculations, but there’s something he won’t share, not even with Daniel. He has a plan and has resigned himself to the fact that he might die as a result of his actions, but he’s prepared to do anything to protect his sisters from the evil reach of Varga. Brandon comes across as geeky at times, yet there’s a depth to his character that captures Daniel’s heart. He’s certainly an interesting and complex character. 

The suspense builds as the other Sanctuary operatives close in on Varga’s operation, but Brandon keeps his secret to himself.  There’s tension as the reader wonders whether his plan will work out or will he forfeit his life and the romance that has blossomed with Daniel.  Daniel is distracted by his feelings, but he’s a professional and will do his utmost to protect Brandon. There’s an action-packed climax to the story in the last few chapters, with plenty of suspense and excitement.

This is an enjoyable light read, not too complex, yet with enough depth to maintain your interest.

 

May 17 – Jim’s Reading RoomBooklove

May 19 – Sexy Erotic Xciting

May 24 – MM Good Book ReviewsMaking It Happen

May 26 – Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words

May 29 – Lily G Blunt

June 2 – Xtreme Delusions

June 5 – SarandipityBFD Book Blog

June 7 – Padme’s LibraryBayou Book Junkie

Sanctuary Series

Guarding Morgan (Book #1) Amazon US | Amazon UK

The Only Easy Day (Book #2) Amazon US | Amazon UK

Face Value (Book #3) Amazon US | Amazon UK

Still Waters (Book #4) Amazon US | Amazon UK

Full Circle (Book #5) Amazon US | Amazon UK

The Journal of Sanctuary One (Book #6) Amazon US | Amazon UK

Worlds Collide (Book #7) Amazon US | Amazon UK

Accidental Hero (Book #8) Amazon US | Amazon UK

Ghost (Book #9) Amazon US | Amazon UK

 

RJ Scott is the bestselling romance author of over 100 romance books. She writes emotional stories of complicated characters, cowboys, millionaire, princes, and the men and women who get mixed up in their lives. RJ is known for writing books that always end with a happy ever after. She lives just outside London and spends every waking minute she isn’t with family either reading or writing.

The last time she had a week’s break from writing she didn’t like it one little bit, and she has yet to meet a bottle of wine she couldn’t defeat.

mailto:rj@rjscott.co.uk

www.rjscott.co.uk/

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www.goodreads.com/author/show/3432558.R_J_Scott

twitter.com/Rjscott_author

www.librarything.com/author/scottrj

 

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New Release ~ Cutting Cords by Morticia Knight

Title: Cutting Cords (Book of Leather #6)

Author: Morticia Knight

Publisher: Pride Publishing

Release Date: May 23rd 2017

Liam yearns for Master Neal’s harsh touch, but Neal fears that a part-time Master can’t give a full-time sub everything he needs.

Liam’s world crumbled after the unexpected death of his Master. Prone to panic attacks and other social anxiety, Liam doesn’t believe he’ll ever find another Master who would be willing to take on such a challenged sub full-time. Too distraught to go back to Club Consequence where he met the man he thought he’d be with forever, he decides to give Kiss of Leather a try.

After doing a piercing gig at Kiss of Leather, Master Neal signs up to become a member. On the night he performs a demo as the final step to being accepted, he meets a sub who brings out his protective urge and makes his heart come alive. Neal isn’t scared off by Liam’s anxiety or social awkwardness. On the contrary, he finds the sub to be refreshingly honest and endearing.

They try out a scene to see if they’ll click, and their connection is everything they’d both hoped it could be. However, the road to love and a Total Power Exchange isn’t an easy one. Neal still hasn’t discovered all there is to know about Liam’s traumatic upbringing, and he’s not sure if he’d ultimately be the right Master for Liam.

Both men are forced to face the truth about love, life and what it means to share it with another person. But before Liam can start over with Neal, he’ll have to cut the cords to his past and trust that Neal will be there to catch him when he does.

Chuck eased himself back into the booth on the opposite end and Neal couldn’t miss his and Jordan’s compassionate expressions as they observed Liam. Damn. Neal rubbed his chest. He’d love to wrap his arms around Liam and hold him close, but something told him he’d have to hold back on touch until he knew more. Talk about unexpected. All he’d hoped for when he’d begun his day was to do well at his demonstration. This might be the bigger prize right here, though.

“I’m ready to order as soon as everyone else is,” Jordan interjected.

“Yeah, let me take a look at this.” Neal picked up the menu again, while Jordan turned to Chuck and asked him about his day. He glanced at Liam, who was doing an excellent impression of a statue. “Liam? Any of these selections grab you?”

Liam briefly twisted his hands together before stilling them. “No thank you, Sir.”

Initially, Liam’s response puzzled him. But he searched his mind to see if he could latch on to what had just passed through Liam’s. “Do you mean that nothing appeals to you because you’re not hungry?”

Liam visibly swallowed. “I’d prefer a soda, please. Uh, please, Sir.”

Hmm. The indirect answer concerned him. He’d file it away for later.

“Okay. A soda it is.” Neal smiled at him. “Hey, would you be cool with dropping club protocol for now? I mean, you’re here as a guest, we just met, and I was thinking we could get to know each other a little before I have to leave.”

“Yes, Sir. That’s cool and I’ll do my best.”

“Of course you will, I can tell.”

Liam peered up tentatively, as if verifying he wouldn’t get in trouble for lifting his gaze. “Really? You think I am?”

“Sure. We have a deal?”

Liam smiled, but quickly covered his mouth. He pressed his lips together before dropping his hand in his lap. “Yes, Sir. A deal. When are you leaving?” Liam lowered his head until his chin practically hit his chest. “I’m sorry. That’s none of my business.”

Neal curled his fingers to keep from reaching out and touching him. “It’s all good. We’re just chatting, right? Ask me whatever you want. Anything.”

Liam looked up, his soft brown eyes so enticing that Neal imagined staring into them, the pupils blown wide with desire as they made love. He adjusted himself on the leather seat.

“Okay.” Liam licked his lips and Neal resisted a groan. “When are you leaving?”

Neal couldn’t help but chuckle. “In about forty-five minutes. I have to fill out my new member paperwork.”

“All right. Do you have any other piercings besides the ones in your face?”

Besides how abrupt it had been, it also wasn’t what he’d expected to hear. At the same time, he preferred Liam’s direct query to the same ol’ pleasantries or other bullshit he typically waded through in the beginning of getting to know a sub. “Yeah. Quite a few. There’s this one that you may not have noticed.” Neal stuck out his tongue to show off the barbell stud inserted in the middle. He grinned at Liam’s reaction. He seemed surprised, but the flush to his cheeks indicated that he was likely imagining what it might feel like working his cock.

“Oh my.” Liam moved closer, leaning in as he studied Neal’s face. He pointed to the ring in his nose. “What’s this one called?”

“It’s a septum piercing. These are snake bites.” Neal touched the small rings adorning each side of his bottom lip. “Eyebrow.” He angled his head so Liam could see his ears closer, “Discs, cartilage, nipples, and I should probably show you the others in a more private setting, although I doubt anyone would mind.” Neal grinned again as he faced Liam.

“Okay.”

Which means…? “Are you agreeing to be with me in a more private setting?”

“Yes, Sir. I am.”

“Rad. Aren’t I the lucky one?”

Liam smiled, his lips remaining firmly closed, and Neal reached the conclusion that something about his teeth made Liam self-conscious. Might start with that in our first scene.

The server arrived at that moment and they placed their orders. Neal checked with Liam to find out what he wanted to drink, then conveyed it to the house sub. As they all settled in, the conversation took on a more relaxed vibe, with the exception of Liam, who remained largely silent. He didn’t appear upset, perhaps only nervous. Wish I could see inside that head of his. But he did follow whatever everyone said with clear interest, his demeanor suggesting that he was working extra hard to pay attention.

Right as the plates were being cleared, Neal checked his cell. He hadn’t noticed Gavin come in, but truthfully, his attention had been captured almost exclusively by Liam the entire time. Five of seven. As much as he hated to, he needed to excuse himself. Right as he was about to make his goodbyes, Chuck’s phone went off.

“Sorry, I didn’t put it on vibrate.” He fished it out from beneath the table, and Neal presumed he’d had it in his pocket. “I have to take this, it’s Stone.”

Jordan nodded. “Go on. I’ll be here.”

Neal had no idea who Stone was, but he was obviously someone important. Liam appeared worried. Jordan regarded Liam with a smile.

“I’m sure it’s fine. If he has to go, I can give you a ride back.” Jordan turned to Neal. “That’s Chuck’s boss, and a fine Dom, I might add.” Jordan winked.

Liam squirmed in his seat. “Okay.”

Liam seemed tense once more and Neal tried to figure out what the issue could be. He knows I’m leaving soon. Master Jordan is familiar to him, so I don’t think that should be a problem… Is it?

He couldn’t stand seeing Liam worried. “Liam? Were you hoping to stay longer?”

Liam gazed up at him and Neal could swear it was with admiration. “You said you had to leave soon anyway.”

Neal had already determined that he’d work with Liam on answering questions directly. “Just to finish up the paperwork, then I’m free.” Neal plucked at his goatee. “I have an idea. If you’re interested, we could go grab some coffee and dessert after I’m finished. I’d love to take you up on your offer to scene with me, but I’m too wrecked. Then I could give you a ride home afterward. How does that sound?”

“I like coffee.”

“Right on. Then it’s a date?”

“Yes, Sir. It’s a date.” Liam gave him another close-mouthed smile. His expression fell and he abruptly glanced in Jordan’s direction. “I… Where will you be?”

“I’ll be right here until Master Neal is finished. I won’t leave you alone.”

“I’m being a problem, aren’t I?”

Jordan shook his head. “No, Liam. You’re not. If Chuck needs to leave, I wouldn’t mind waiting for Gavin to be through so I can chill with him. If Chuck stays, he can hang out with us. It’s all good.”

Liam sighed, his relief obvious. “Thank you.”

Amazon US

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Pride Publishing

Author Morticia Knight spends most of her nights writing about men loving men forever after. If there happens to be some friendly bondage or floggings involved, she doesn’t begrudge her characters whatever their filthy little heart’s desire. Even though she’s been crafting her naughty tales for more years than she’d like to share – her adventures as a published author began in 2011. Since then, she’s been fortunate enough to have several books on bestseller lists along with three series’ titles receiving recognition in the Rainbow Book Awards.

Once upon a time she was the lead singer in an indie rock band that toured the West Coast and charted on U.S. college radio. She currently resides on the northern Oregon coast and when she’s not fantasizing about hot men she takes walks along the ocean and annoys the local Karaoke bar patrons.

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Interview ~ Lynn Michaels

A warm welcome to Lynn Michaels.

Thank you for visiting my blog and agreeing to tell us a little more about yourself.

The film you can watch time and time again…

I have two of these…Princess Bride and Fifth Element. I love the quirkiness and how fun they are and both have the best theme – love wins!

The poem that touches your soul…

I have several but The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost has always sat with me, in my heart. To me it was a license to do my own thing in my own way. I’ve never been one to take the same path as everyone else. Sometimes I don’t even take a path, I swing from the trees (like Tarzan) or swim the ocean, or kayak through the mangroves.

The song that means the most to you…

I can’t say this is one song, but many songs. Music is the language of the soul, and so many songs move me. I like songs from the past because they always take me back to a time and place and sometimes people. It’s like memories are locked in every note. I also love what I call mood music. That’s music I play when I write to create an atmosphere of inspiration particular to what I’m writing. I usually have newer music on my writing play lists, but not always.

Your early recollections of writing fiction…

The first story I ever wrote was in the fourth grade. It was about a unicorn and had something to do with escaping a monster by riding on a rainbow…I’ve never been normal.

The treasured item you lost and wish you could have again…

I lost a huge box of photographs, most of them were of my daughter when she was a baby. Some of them were of my father who passed away when I was a kid. These are things that cannot be replaced. Things are just things, but memories are special, and photos are tokens of the past that help us remember our loved ones. I’d love to have that box returned to me.

The philosophy that underpins your life…

We all have our own path to follow, our own lessons to learn, and our own goals to accomplish. I try to help others, because finding success through helping others succeed is the best kind of success. I celebrate everything – all the small moments and every reason I can enjoy life. Recharging my batteries usually happens in nature, on the water. And…always find ways to be happy. Life is too short to miss out on happiness.

Writing inspiration…

That’s probably what I get asked about more than anything, and since I love to hear other writers comment on inspiration as well, I figured I’d say something… The easy thing to say is that I find inspiration from everywhere from music to news articles to nature. I think the more precise moment of inspiration is when something inside me connects to something external and then my brain takes off with it, changing it, molding it, and creating something new. Those moments are priceless.

And the promo…

My newest release ~Holeshot 2

 

Holeshot 2 by Lynn Michaels

Cover and art by Jay Aheer

 

 

When the race is everything, can love be the best reward?

In the world of Supercross, taking the holeshot means one racer leaps ahead of the crowd and into first, leaving the rest of the pack behind. Supercross racer, Tate Jordan, wants to take his holeshot on and off the track, but no one else seems to cooperate. His love life is in turmoil and his sponsors don’t expect him to win. Will Tate find someone new to love and a team that believes in him?

Pilot Mahan is a bodyguard and a street fighter looking to build a future, but his plans get derailed when a Supercross racer catches his eye. Can he make a go at a life with Tate Jordan, on the road?

Bryce Nickel is new to Supercross and adulthood. He’s young and fun, but super serious about what he wants. And what he wants is to win races and Tate Jordan. Will he be able to take his holeshot or will the big Apex bodyguard get in the way? Or perhaps, the three can make a compromise?

A super sexy MMM romance set in the Supercross industry – 18+ please

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Lynn Michaels on Amazon  |  Lynn Michales on Facebook  |  Lynn Michaels on Twitter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guest Interview ~ Leta Blake

A warm welcome to my guest author, Leta Blake.

 

Interview with Leta Blake

 

The unqualified regret you wish you could amend…

When I was in high school, I accidentally uncovered information about a friend that was very secret and quite damaging. Unsure what to do, I told my boyfriend about it in shocked confidence, but, of course, in a lax moment he told other people. This was scandalous enough information that it quickly got passed around the school. I felt horrible but no apology could erase it. The friend went to a boarding school the next year to escape the gossip.

I can’t imagine how that has shaped her entire life since, and the information itself was already rough enough. I’d do anything to go back in time and make a better choice. I should have told an adult, but even now I’m not sure who I could have turned to. Our school was giant and the teachers/guidance counselor were strangers to me.

The reason I didn’t go to my mother to begin with was a year or two before I’d told her about a friend at school who had handprint bruises around her neck from where her father had choked her. She was covering them with a turtleneck and showed me while changing in gym class. My mother did nothing (that I know of) about it. So I saw no reason to believe she’d help this girl either. And, also, at the time, I didn’t realize the girl needed help. I see now from an adult’s perspective that she did, but at the time I thought of the situation as consensual.

Regardless, I guess what I most wish is that I could go back and never see what I saw, or know what I knew, and therefore I’d never have said a word to anyone. But that’s selfish isn’t it? I should wish that I could back in time and make the right choice of who to tell. A choice that would have helped her.

Anyway, I’ve written this woman an apology letter as an adult, but even that doesn’t seem sufficient and I don’t know if she got it since it wasn’t acknowledged (which is fine! It wasn’t about me!).

This is one of the few things I truly wish I could turn back time about. It’s haunted and plagued me and there are times I wonder if I’ve been punished enough for it, if I’ve suffered enough in a karmic way for what I did.

AND ON THAT DEPRESSING NOTE, we’ll move on to the next question!

 

The temptation you wish you could resist…

Sugar. It always makes me feel so bad but it tastes so good!

 

The book that holds everlasting resonance…

As Meat Loves Salt by Maria McCann. It currently has the worst and most misleading cover of all time. The old cover was a more accurate depiction of what to expect. It’s a devastating read and just thinking about it still twists my stomach into knots. And yet I wouldn’t unread it if given the choice. It was vital to me in a deep way.

 

The film you can watch time and time again…

I used to say it was So I Married An Axe Murderer, but I rewatched it the other day for the first time in ages and was so sad to see it didn’t hold up. It was a joy to me in the 1990s and early 2000s. Oh well! Time! It undoes everything’s beauty eventually.

 

The event that altered the course of your life…

Smallville. It started airing in the midst of my deepest, darkest depression and I fell into the fandom. I started writing fanfiction. I started to explore my creativity and I was encouraged in it by fellow fans. I’d never be a writer today without Smallville, as crazy as that sounds. Or maybe I would be writer? Perhaps I’d have come to it from another path? But I’m grateful for the path I took all the same.

 

The philosophy that underpins your life…

If nothing else, it will be interesting.

 

 

 

A lustful young alpha meets his match in an older omega with a past. 

Professor Vale Aman has crafted a good life for himself. An unbonded omega in his mid-thirties, he’s long since given up hope that he’ll meet a compatible alpha, let alone his destined mate. He’s fulfilled by his career, his poetry, his cat, and his friends.

When Jason Sabel, a much younger alpha, imprints on Vale in a shocking and public way, longings are ignited that can’t be ignored. Fighting their strong sexual urges, Jason and Vale must agree to contract with each other before they can consummate their passion.

But for Vale, being with Jason means giving up his independence and placing his future in the hands of an untested alpha–as well as facing the scars of his own tumultuous past. He isn’t sure it’s worth it. But Jason isn’t giving up his destined mate without a fight.

This is a stand alone gay romance novel, 118,000 words, with a strong HFN ending, as well as a well-crafted, non-shifter omegaverse, with alphas, betas, omegas, male pregnancy, heat, and knotting. Content warning for pregnancy loss and aftermath.

 

Amazon  | Amazon UK

 

 

Author of the bestselling book Smoky Mountain Dreams and the fan favorite Training Season, Leta Blake’s educational and professional background is in psychology and finance, respectively. However, her passion has always been for writing. She enjoys crafting romance stories and exploring the psyches of made up people. At home in the Southern U.S., Leta works hard at achieving balance between her day job, her writing, and her family.

If you’d like to be among the first to know about new releases, you can sign up for Leta’s newsletter here.

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Guest Interview and Review ~ Amy Aislin

A warm welcome to my guest author,

Amy Aislin.

 

Interview with Amy

 

The temptation you wish you could resist…

Sweets. They’re so delicious I can’t resist, even though I know I probably should.

 

The book that holds everlasting resonance…

Hot Target by Suzanne Brockmann. It was the first time I ever read a book with a gay romance subplot. It’s what got me reading m/m romance until, one day, I finally allowed myself to start writing it.

 

The film you can watch time and time again…

Twister. Don’t ask me why; it’s not even my favourite movie (The Sounds of Music takes that award), but for some reason I love Twister and I can watch it over and over again.

 

The person who influenced you the most…

My mom. She is truly the strongest person I know.

 

The unlikely interest that engages your curiosity…

I don’t know if it’s unlikely, but I love astronomy. If I could do that kind of math and physics, I would’ve majored in it in university, but alas, it was not to be.

 

Your early recollections of writing fiction…

Fourth grade recess, when we had to stay inside because it was raining. I started writing an adventure tale about my classmates: we went on a treasure hunt! I can’t remember if we ever found the treasure…I can’t even remember if I finished writing that story. I think that was the first time I ever put a story to paper, and I’ve been writing ever since.

 

The way you would spend your fantasy 24 hours, with no travel restrictions…

Oh wow, hmmm. There are so many options. I’m torn between two: renting a lovely cottage in the mountains or on the beach and doing nothing but reading, or renting a lovely cottage in the mountains or on the beach and invite my family along for a get-together (BBQ, games, s’mores, you name it!).

 

The treasured item you lost and wish you could have again…

When I was a kid, maybe nine or ten, my parents gave me a beautiful silver ring with a unicorn on it. A few years ago, when I started wearing rings again, I wore it to work. I took it off in the bathroom because the unicorn horn kept getting caught in my clothes when I was pulling up my pants (sorry for the visual!)…and I forgot it in the bathroom. It wasn’t there the next day; nobody brought it to lost and found. It was just gone. I’m still upset about it. I hate losing things with sentimental value.

 

The crime you would commit knowing you could get away with it…

Something that would get me a billion dollars.

Title: The Play of His Life

Author: Amy Aislin

Cover Art: Kris Jacen

Publisher: MLR Press

Length: Novella/143 pages

Release Date: 28th April, 2017

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Goodreads

Former best friends turned lovers Christian and Riley haven’t seen or spoken to each other in six years…is there a better time than the holiday season to reconnect with your favorite person?

The last person Christian wants to run into on a visit home to spend time with his mom over the holidays is his former best friend-turned-lover-turned-ex. But there Riley is, in all his tall, chiseled, blondness. The same guy who walked out on him six years ago, breaking his heart in the process. Who knew he’s still in love with the jerk? (Oh yeah, he did. What? Who says denial isn’t healthy?)

Two years ago, Riley was injured out of the NHL, but he’s got his own bakery now and a quiet life selling quiches and cupcakes to his customers. Then Christian unexpectedly walks back into his life, forcing Riley to question his choices. Especially that one choice he made six years ago that walked him out of Christian’s life. Now if only he had the courage to tell a boy how he really feels about him…

 

 

Chapter 3

In the middle of their neighborhood, about halfway between their houses, was a small pond that froze over every winter. Riley was already there when Christian arrived at three o’clock on Christmas Eve, lugging his very, very old hockey gear and a tiny dog.

“Trevor!” The dog took off at Riley’s greeting, making a beeline for him. Already wearing his gear, Riley couldn’t crouch to greet the little shih tzu, so he bent at the waist and gave the dog a pat on the head.

Christian stopped at the edge of the pond and admired the way Riley’s jeans molded to his deliciously tight ass. Riley may not play in the pros anymore, but he still had an incredible goalie butt.

“I see you two know each other,” Christian said, mildly offended at the dog’s abandonment. Trevor clearly preferred Riley over Christian.

“Your mom brings him into the shop all the time.”

Christian grimaced. “You still see my mom?” Riley had mentioned something of the sort the other day, too.

“All the time. I see her more than I see you.”

Riley stiffened for a second as he seemed to realize what he’d said. Christian stood looking at him, unimpressed. Because really, who was it that ran out after they’d hooked up the last time, after his dad’s funeral?

Riley gave him a tight smile that said something like, Yeah, well, the phone works both ways, dude.

Impasse.

They’d have to talk about it sometime, but today wasn’t that day.

“You gonna stand there all day,” Riley joked, “or are we gonna play?”

The twinkle in his eyes told Christian that yes, Riley was aware of the double entendre he’d just uttered.

Oh, they were going to play, all right.

They didn’t bother with skates; the frozen pond was too bumpy for it to be safe. But Riley had brought his old hockey net, so at least they had a real goal.

Christian put on his gear — it was a bit of a tight fit, but it’d do — grabbed his hockey stick and a puck and moved to center ice.

“Trevor,” Christian said, and pointed with his stick. Trevor moved off the ice to nose at some dead plants poking through the snow against a fence.

“Think you’ll finally get one past me?” Riley asked, pulling on his mask. Christian would not call that smirk sexy.

“Finally? You must be forgetting all the previous times I scored on you.”

Now there he went with the double entendres.

“Ha! If by ‘all’ you mean ‘never.’ Bring it, Dufresne. Bet you can’t get one past me.”

“Bet? Okay.” Christian nodded once decisively. “If I get one past you I get to try a shot of Shimmer.”

Riley shrugged, all casual-like. “Fine.”

“And if I don’t get one past you?”

Christian could see Riley contemplating his answer, and even through the cage of Riley’s goalie mask Christian could tell Riley’s ocean eyes were on him, assessing. They swept Christian up and down. Christian could almost feel the heat in his gaze like a physical touch. He obviously had been wrong a few days ago…Riley was just as affected by him as he was by Riley. The heat shimmering between them, even from ten feet apart…. Like he could reach out and grab it. He was sure Riley was going to bet him a blowjob or something and his cock started to stiffen in his jeans.

“I want to know the reason you haven’t moved back here,” Riley said.

Instant boner-killer. No way was he telling Riley shit. Meant he’d have to work his ass off to get the puck past him. Riley hadn’t played pro in two years. He was probably out of practice, right?

Wrong. The fucker stopped all twenty-six shots — yes, Christian counted — with seeming ease.

 

 

This is a lovely, sweet story from a newly published author. You can check out some of Amy’s other writing on her website as there’s a couple of free reads there.

What I like most about this story is that it is a second chance romance. Riley and Christian had already gone through the friends to lovers transition, but had split six years previously because they couldn’t cope with a long distance relationship when they’d started different colleges. And that’s where this story starts. They’ve already got loads of history behind them and were clearly still in love with each other. Yes, there’s a lack of trust on Christian’s part because Riley had left him without a word to continue his hockey career when they’d hooked up again one night and he feared Riley would do the same to him again. And Riley was thinking Christian didn’t care for him because he had no intention of moving back to Ontario. God, if only these boys talked and said exactly how they felt and what they wanted life would have been so much easier for them. But then, us readers wouldn’t have gotten all the lovely angst and anticipation about what was going to happen when Christian returned home after the Christmas holidays. It was great they still got along so well and had fun together despite all their doubts and uncertainties. It was how it used to be between them. The scrapbook and necklaces were lovely touches to their story.

My one main grumble is what appears to be a couple of inconsistencies in the story that should have been picked up by the editing team. The main one being that Christian didn’t know he was entering Riley’s new bakery when he was sent by his mother to buy a loaf of bread. He wasn’t expecting to see Riley, nor did the possibility even cross his mind. Yet in chapter four we see that Christian had saved a newspaper cutting about the opening of the bakery and so was well aware of Riley’s new career and the location of the building. I hardly think this could have slipped his mind, nor did he comment on the fact at the time.

If you overlook these few issues, this enjoyable story is well written, with a distinct voice for each character. There are some touching moments and some great scenes between these guys.  Although originally published in April, I can see this becoming a popular Christmas/holiday read for many, and I look forward to more stories from Amy in the future.

 

MLR Press: https://goo.gl/9YvKYu
Amazon CA: https://goo.gl/uAELdC
Amazon US: https://goo.gl/6OyYTp
Kobo: https://goo.gl/TdTZkB
B&N: https://goo.gl/6phQfP
Smashwords: https://goo.gl/w1m7rP
iTunes: https://goo.gl/TChKPr

Amy Aislin started writing on a rainy day in fourth grade when her class was forced to stay inside for recess. Tales of adventures with her classmates quickly morphed into tales of adventures with the characters in her head. Based in Oakville, Ontario, she’s a marketer at a large environmental non-profit in Toronto by day, and a writer by night. Book enthusiast, animal lover and (very) amateur photographer, her interests are many and varied, including traveling, astronomy, ecology, and baking.

Why I write m/m romance

I started writing traditional m/f (male/female) romance many years ago, but it never went anywhere. And by “never went anywhere” I mean I never wrote more than a few thousand words in any given story because I was bored out of my skull by own stories. Not exactly a good sign, amirite?

If you’ve read Suzanne Brockmann’s TroubleShooters series, you know all about Jules and Robin. I’ve been a fan of that series since the beginning. When Jules was introduced, I fell in love. And then there was Robin. And then there was Jules and Robin. And I thought this was the greatest freakin’ thing ever and I wanted more m/m (male/male) romance and I wanted it now. But I didn’t know where to find it. So I started Googling and lo and behold! Gay romance everywhere! And I do mean everywhere; it’s a huge niche market I hadn’t even been aware of, and I gobbled it up as if it was going to disappear when I wasn’t looking.

Less than two years ago I tried my hand at writing m/m romance and finally felt like I’d fallen into the genre I was supposed to write in. It’s what I’ve been writing ever since and will continue to write.

Within the m/m romance community, I’ve found a network of other m/m authors who not only support each other, but who also support LGBTQ rights and activism. Writing in this genre makes me feel at home, even more so than when I wrote traditional m/f romance.

I write because I love it. Because there are people in my head who need a voice. I write the stories I want to write the way I want to write them, in a way that speaks of the characters and their struggles, yet also speaks to me, too. I hope my stories speak to you as well.

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New Release ~ The Hot Floor

 

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Length: 62,000 words

Genre: Contemporary m/m/m romance, humour, British

Cover Design: Harper by Design

 

Two plus one equals scorching hot fun.

Dumped by his boyfriend and reduced to living in a grotty bedsit, Josh Carpenter lives for his job as a glassblower. That and occasional glimpses of his sexy downstairs neighbours, Rai Nakamura and Evan Truman.

Whenever he overhears the diminutive academic and the hunky plumber having loud and obviously kinky sex, Josh is whipped into a state of frenzied lust… and a longing for a relationship like theirs.

To his amazement, Rai and Evan find his embarrassing tendency to blush utterly charming, and the three men grow closer over the course of the long, hot summer. Despite enjoying Rai’s charming flirtation and Evan’s smouldering gaze, Josh is determined never to do anything to split them apart.

However, when a naked Josh falls—quite literally—into the middle of one of Rai and Evan’s marathon sex sessions, the force of their mutual attraction takes over. But just as Josh dares to hope, he senses a change. If the three of them can’t renegotiate the rules of their new relationship, Josh risks losing their friendship—and any chance at love—forever.

Warning: Contains one well-endowed stud with a sexy accent, one improbably toppy bottom boy with an unfortunate owl obsession, and one blushing naïf who can’t believe his luck. Also, the occasional indulgence in mathematical spanking and some shameless armpit sex.
Bonus Christmas Hot Floor short story included in this edition!

Originally published by Samhain Publishing, September 2012

 

 

English through and through, Josephine Myles is addicted to tea and busy cultivating a reputation for eccentricity. She writes gay erotica and romance, but finds the erotica keeps cuddling up to the romance, and the romance keeps corrupting the erotica. Jo blames her rebellious muse but he never listens to her anyway, no matter how much she threatens him with a big stick. She’s beginning to suspect he enjoys it.

Jo’s novel Stuff won the 2014 Rainbow Award for Best Bisexual Romance, and her novella Merry Gentlemen won the 2014 Rainbow Award for Best Gay Romantic Comedy. She loves to be busy, and is currently having fun trying to work out how she is going to fit in her love of writing, dressmaking and attending cabaret shows in fabulous clothing around the demands of a preteen with special needs and an incessantly curious toddler.

Website and blog: josephinemyles.com/
Facebook: facebook.com/josephine.myles.author
Twitter: @JosephineMyles
Newsletter: eepurl.com/hrQ4s

 

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Review ~ Well-Tailored

 

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | iTunes | Barnes & Noble | KOBO


Cover Design:
 LC Chase

Length: 62,000 words



Thorne and Dash Series

Professional Distance (Book #1) Amazon US | Amazon UK

Personal Entanglement (Book #2) Amazon US | Amazon UK

Perfect Alignment (Book #3) Amazon US | Amazon UK



Marc longs for a grand romance, but he doubts he’ll ever be that lucky. Then he meets Darius, an arrogant tailor who pushes all his buttons. When Darius offers him a job, Marc hesitates—he needs a direction for the future, not another man who doesn’t believe in relationships.

Darius lives by a few unbreakable rules: never sleep with employees, fashion should be simple, and romance is for fools. Marc, with his shimmery-sweaters collection, makes him want to break every single one.

They quickly give in to desire, but Darius wants to protect himself and Marc refuses to repeat past mistakes. It’s only when they let go of assumptions, that love has a chance to take hold.

Well-Tailored is a companion novel to the Thorne and Dash series. It can be read as a standalone.

 

 

4*

I thoroughly enjoyed reading/listening to the first two books in the Thorne and Dash series. For some reason I missed book 3, but no worries, Well-Tailored gives a glimpse into what’s been happening with Thorne and Dash from Marc’s perspective. In fact, from the beginning we get a recap of Marc’s initial introduction to Darius when he went to the tailors with Dash. The story can be read as a standalone, but I would suggest reading the first two installments first to gain an insight into the characters and the situation Marc finds himself in.

I was always fond of Marc, so was happy to see him get his happy ever after here. Although to be honest it took me some time to see what Marc liked about Darius—apart from his hot body and sexual prowess! He comes across as arrogant and rude for much of the story, with a foul mouth that I didn’t particularly like or find amusing. Some of the banter between these guys is entertaining and it’s obvious Darius can see how talented Marc is. I liked the powerplay that occurs too. Despite claiming he never had sex with his employees he and Marc are at it like rabbits most night’s after work. They never talk about how they feel or what’s going on between them. They both want more than just sex but are frightened to voice this desire at first. Both men have issues with past boyfriends and Marc can’t seem to escape the fact that he used to be an escort. The sex scenes are sizzling and sometimes a little kinky, and in between we have Thorne and Dash’s wedding drama as well as the work Darius and Marc accomplish for the shop. Both Thorne and Marc are guilty of responding instantly to certain situations and that almost leads to disaster for both couples. It was only towards the end that I felt any real emotional connection developed between Marc and Darius when they started talking and spending time with each other outside of the shop. I was pleased that the story has an uplifting and happy ending after the almost inevitable miscommunication.

The story is well-written and, although it’s not my favourite in the series, it is still an enjoyable read. I would have liked additional details of both the main characters’ pasts and more time with them as partners.

 

May 1 – Urban Smoothie ReadM/M Book Addicts

May 3 – Making It HappenMM Good Book Reviews

May 5 – Book LoveSarandipity

May 8 – Diverse ReaderWicked Faerie’s Tales & ReviewsKeysmashV’s Reads

May 10 – Lily G BluntAu Boudoir EcarlateSexy Erotic XcitingBayou Book Junkie

 

Silvia Violet writes fun, sexy stories that will leave you smiling and satisfied. She has a thing for characters who are in need of comfort and enjoys helping them surrender to love even when they doubt it exists. Silvia’s stories include sizzling contemporaries, paranormals, and historicals. When she needs a break from listening to the voices in her head, she spends time baking, taking long walks, curling up with her favorite books, and spending time with her family.

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Guest Post ~ Layla Dorine

A warm welcome to my guest author,

Layla Dorine

Hi Lily, thank you so much for giving me the chance to pop into your blog today. I love having the opportunity to connect with readers and talk about different things. One of the things that’s been on my mind for a while is how much I love the Paranormal Genre and Shapeshifters in particular, but how tired I was of the same animals shifting over and over again. There are so many shapeshifter myths in mythology to work with as a springing off point, and it was easy for me, when I sat down to write Serpent’s Kiss, to decide that the species of shifter Darian, my bodyguard character, would be, was snake.

I know, eww to so many people, but, I grew up with snakes. My old man raised them. We had pythons and boas and while they are not cute and cuddly like a cat or a dog or even a bunny, they have very distinctive personalities, mostly calm demeanors and can certainly teach a person a thing or two about patience, focus, and the art of stillness.

Have you ever seen a snake coiled, waiting, ready, tasting the air? It’s a thing of beauty. I love to photograph snakes when I come across them on the trail, their beautiful colors and scale patterns, the brightness of their eyes.

They’re not slimy, I’m not sure why so many people think that, but they are actually kind of soft and warm, and smooth unless they are shedding. I suppose if one is in water it can feel slippery, but a dry snake is not a slimy thing and they are clean animals.

I digress though, my point was, I wanted to do something different and work with an animal I loved that was too often viewed as something sinister. Not that there aren’t sinister characters that Darian encounters, there are, but there are good ones too, and a whole society that began to unfold and come together.

I actually have plans to do a series of 3ds Max images of some of the underground world and flex some of the design muscles I haven’t used in years to breathe even more life into this world that sort of appeared in my mind and wouldn’t go away. So I hope that you’ll put aside any fears or loathing for Serpent’s to give them a try. You might find their world as beautiful as I have.

 

 

Serpent’s Kiss by Layla Dorine

While searching for their missing sibling, Zaiden and his sister, Kaandhal come across the last pure blooded psy-clairvoyant of their kind. Unfortunately for them, Darian has no idea what he truly is and isn’t much interested in learning, or in helping them locate their brother, Zxex.

A bounty hunter by trade, who’s been all but banished from his family due to his visions, Darian’s a bit cynical about his ability to be of any assistance to them. Never-the-less, Zaiden brings him back to their home Rhumba, where Darian discovers that very little is what it seems.

With plots unfolding all around them and discoveries about his own heritage leaving Darian reeling, he is left with the choice of whether to embrace who and what he is, or spend every moment with them a prisoner on the fringes of their society.

Add in a pesky little bond that only seems to grow the more time he and Zaiden spend together, and several factions looking to gain possession of him and Darian is left wondering if his visions just might be the least of his troubles.

 

 

It took him back to another time, to home, when he was still too young to fully understand just how differently he was being treated. In those days, when the flashes of the future he glimpsed showed moments of sadness, he did everything he could to cheer the other person up. When he caught glimpses of troubled times, he attempted to give warnings, going so far as to throw himself between his older brother and a heavy piece of iron seconds before it fell. His leg had been broken for his efforts, but it was better than the vision he’d received of his brother with a huge, bloody gash in his skull, twitching in the hallway.

Blinking back the memory, he drew away from her touch and its warmth. “It only seemed to scare them more,” he admitted.

“But that was no fault of yours,” Kaandhal insisted. “The fault lay with them. Everything you attempted to do was out of love for them, and they repaid that love with scorn and fear, pushing you aside for it. You did not deserve that. Now we are giving you a second chance, but this time, it is up to you to take it. You can hold on to the pain that you carry, you can continue to lash out at the world over the actions of a handful, or you can stand up and be a man and do what you were born to do.”

He was silent for a moment, studying her.

“And if I choose not to use my gifts?” he asked. “If I choose to keep burying them, then what? Your brother seems convinced that someone is going to come hunting me. I’ve got nowhere to go. Will you throw me out of here if I don’t do what you want?”

Tight lipped she shook her head, regarding him sadly. “No. This is your home for as long as you choose to live in it.”

The shock must have registered on his face because her expression changed. “I am so sorry that you’ve grown up to be so skeptical of people.”

“I…” he stammered, shocked at the honest emotion in her voice. “Thanks.”

She smiled then, a soft one, honest and kind. “I have faith in you, Darian. You are capable of great things and I know you will help us bring Zxex back home where he belongs.”

“I wish I was as sure of that as you are,” he admitted. “Kyle…Zxex and I had one hell of a falling out.”

“Might I ask what it was about?” she asked.

Another heavy sigh escaped him as he sank down on the edge of the bed and buried his head in his hands. “He saw me the same way that you do, but more than that, when I looked into his eyes I accidently saw the future, my future and how it related to him.” Darrell shook his head. “I couldn’t handle it, the trust, the expectation. You do know what I do for a living, right? Why there were guns all over my place?”

“Yes,” Kaandhal acknowledged. “You are a bounty hunter, or were, you will not need to make that kind of a living here.”

“And you know that I use my gifts to help me find the people I’m chasing,” he prompted. “That I dig around in the heads of their friends and family until I find the clues I need to locate them. Then I bring them in and I collect on their misfortune.”

“You regret it.”

“How can you tell?” he asked. “Reading my mind again?”

“No, it is in the sound of your voice and the sorrowful look in your eyes. It’s in the way you are curling in on yourself, as if you wish to hide. You do not have to be ashamed here either, Darian. None will hold your past against you. This is a clean slate. All you need to do is embrace it.

 

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Interview with Layla

The film you can watch time and time again…

There are several and it all depends on what mood I’m in. I love Memoirs of a Geisha, and no matter how many times I watch it, I find myself getting drawn into the story and beauty and cruelty of their world. I think it’s because I see it as this ultimate performance art, and I marvel at how much talent it had to take to be successful. The story itself too, is haunting and sad and just the kind of tone and mood that resonates with me. Another I can watch over and over is Waiting to Exhale. I remember falling in love with the book first, at a young age, before I was actually married the first time but it was after that marriage that I found myself connecting even more fully with the story and the women in it, the lost dreams and the betrayals. The third movie that is a go to for me is The Crow. It appeals to that darker side of me that loves the atmosphere created but also the struggles of the characters and the way death isn’t always the end. I used to write bits of dark fantasy/dark urban paranormal and it was always a Crow like feel I was going for when I shaped those stories.

The unlikely interest that engages your curiosity…

I love to go down to the old creek bed west of town when its dry and poke around and see what I can find. So far, I’ve pulled out a latch pen from a gate from the 1800s, American camel fossilized teeth, fossilized bison teeth and one cave bear tooth. It’s fun to play armature archeologist and to have actually taken my finds to someone who specializes in Ice Age animals and have her authenticate the teeth. Last year rains kept the river high so the creek stayed flooded, I have my fingers crossed that this year will be a dry one, I miss poking around among the rocks and sand.

The poem that touches your soul…

Nothing Gold Can Stay by Robert Frost. The first time I encountered it was in reading The Outsiders by SE Hinton, when Ponyboy reads it to Jonny and they both talk about how they are gold when they are young but the things that they see and experience tarnish that and how youth is like the dawn of your life when everything is shinny and bright and gold. It resonated with me because in those words was also a deep and profound sadness, that no matter what we tried to do, we wouldn’t be able to hold on to that innocence and those golden moments would be lost.

The song that means the most to you…

Spoke in the Wheel by Zakk Wylde. I always loved him when he played guitar for Ozzy, but his work on his own has been on a different level, deeper, more profound and heartfelt and then add in his voice and it’s to swoon over. That whisky roughness of it that echoes with haunting pain comes through in spades in Spoke in the Wheel and that chorus… “Someday you’ll know just how it feels, shattered, cast aside, stripped of your pride like you never nothin’ special baby, makes you feel, like another spoke in the wheel.” It’s something I’ve strove to capture in several of my characters, that pain of being abandoned, and when I need help tapping into the words, I just sit and listen to Zakk, and it all comes together.

 

 

The unfulfilled ambition that continues to haunt you…

Oh wow, it’s funny, because there was only ever one thing I wanted to be more than an author, and that was a musician in a band and tour the country. I did get to play in the band, a metal band in high school, I played guitar, but we never did anything with it besides some shows around the city and practicing in a friends back room. I love music though, to this day I have my guitars though I rarely touch them. When I do, there’s a disappointment there that still depresses me, makes me wonder if I’d I have been good enough, if I’d stayed on that path. I guess that’s why so many of my characters are involved in music in some way.

Your early recollections of writing fiction…

I wanted to be like SE Hinton, write a book while still young, she was 15 when The Outsiders came out, I was 12 when I tried my hand at it. What I worked on was probably closer to a fan fic of the Outsiders, it had all original characters but anyone with eyes would have been able to draw parallels between the two. What it did though, was show me that the worlds that were in my head, the things that played there like slow moving movies, could be put into a format to be shared with others, if I dared. I wasn’t sure I’d ever dare show anymore. I always felt like the odd one out, staring off into the distance listening to the characters in my head instead of other people. I was afraid that if I shared those worlds people would just laugh and think I was crazy so for years, I turned my attention to poems and lyrics. Those were safer. They were still me expressing feelings and thoughts, but its wasn’t on the same levels as the things that lived in my head.

The way you would spend your fantasy 24 hours, with no travel restrictions…

I love this question, because I love to travel, and if I only get 24 hours, then I’m going to make it count. Drop me on a beach, in Hawaii or back on Guam, I want to surf again and walk in the sand and pick up shells. I want to swim in the warm water, snorkel and take pictures of the fish on the reef. I want to sit on a rock, watch the waves and listen to the sound of them crashing. I want tropical drinks and to leave footsteps in the sand, swim at night, have a bonfire, and recapture childhood moments that were simply amazing.

The figure from history you would most like to buy a pie and a pint…

Jim Morrison of The Doors. I’ve always admired his words, especially his poetry. He wasn’t afraid to slip into the dark side of things, dance on the edge, portray a world in which there was both light and chaos all swirling together. He wrote about finding oneself on the highways of American, in the cities, and in the people one encountered as well as the beasts. He wrote about how we were all human and animal and spirts were all entwined and I would love to ask him where it was he felt most at home and how he found the courage to be so free.

The piece of wisdom you would pass onto your child…

Live your life the way you want to live it, don’t let anyone, even me or your dad, tell you what you should love or focus on or care about. Don’t set yourself up for regrets, don’t get caught up in drama, don’t worry about what others are doing, make your own path, and forge ahead like you’re on a mission, you’ll be happier for it. I promise.

The philosophy that underpins your life…

Just do it. Don’t worry about what others might say, if it’s impulsive so be it, if its scary or odd, oh well. Just, don’t talk yourself out of things. It’s not stupid, it’s only stupid if you don’t give it a shot. Everything else is a learning experience. Even failure.

 

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

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

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Guest Author ~ Alex Jane

A warm welcome to Alex Jane.

Thank you for visiting my blog and agreeing to tell us a little more about yourself.

 

The temptation you wish you could resist…

Doing nothing. I wish I was one of those people that can’t sit still and is super motivated but I’m really, really not. I can only do so much before I need a sit-down and a cup of tea that then ends up stretching into hours of laziness. I genuinely worry that I’m going to get a DVT from watching so much YouTube one of these days.

The book that holds everlasting resonance…

The Stand by Stephen King. I think I must have read it maybe twenty times. I love the story and weep over the characters every time but it’s the additions in the extended version that really get me. Quick studies of survivors who don’t make it for one reason or another. Ordinary people who find themselves trying to keep going in the face of such upheaval. It’s masterful.

The happiest moment you will cherish forever…

One of the happiest that springs to mind is the first time my dog wagged her tail in her sleep. She was a rescue that had been very badly treated and when she first came to live with me, she would who have such horrible nightmares that I would have to wake her up so she didn’t hurt herself. It took a long time to work through all her issues and a lot of patience on both our parts but I knew she’d turned a corner the first time she had a dream so happy her tail was thumping the sofa.

The unfulfilled ambition that continues to haunt you…

I always wanted to travel. And not just a holiday once in a while but spend a year living in France or take a road trip from Seattle to San Diego or backpack around Japan until they threw me out. Giving up on that dream is truly sad.

Your early recollections of writing fiction…

The first time I tried to write down a story…well, actually it’s not so different now…trying to get the swirling images in my brain to translate into concrete words seemed impossible. It took me a long time to even attempt it (and by long time, I mean twenty-five years!) I’m still not sure how managed to get anything written that first time around. I think I simply reached a point where it was now or never. And the result was awful. So, so awful. I’m sure some would argue that’s not changed much either. I still have the original manuscript somewhere. Am I tempted to take a look? No. No, I am not.

The piece of wisdom you would pass onto a child…

Make exercising as routine as brushing your teeth because being healthy is everything. Stretch every day because back pain is worse than toothache. Moisturize and wear sunglasses because UV is awful stuff. And don’t say anything about a person behind their back that you wouldn’t say to their face because in the end that’s what people will remember about you.

The treasured item you lost and wish you could have again…

It sounds stupid but when I was in school I had the best umbrella ever. It was a see-through orange thing with just the right sized and shaped dome, and neon orange trim. It’s been thirty years and I’m still gutted that I left it on the bus.

The philosophy that underpins your life…

“Be excellent to each other” Don’t get me wrong, I can be a pissy, vindictive bitch if provoked but my first instinct is to be kind. It costs nothing to be nice or encouraging or gentle. My social skills might suck but I still find it easier to consider everyone a friend deserving of a smile than to be suspicious and judgmental. I don’t think it hurts to be nice to people.

 

Ex-detective John Right likes to watch. There’s no harm in it.

The latest object of his obsession—a twenty-something stranger who chains his bike outside John’s office—doesn’t feel the weight of John’s eyes on him, doesn’t know about the secret recordings or what John does with them in the dead of night. Except when the kid disappears, John finds himself doing far more that just watching.

Reluctantly, John has to start thinking like a cop once more as he frantically tries to track down his mystery man. Although when he finds him, John is left with more questions than answers. And the more he learns, the more he wishes he’d never started looking in the first place.

Can John get to the bottom of the mystery without giving away his own dirty secret? And without giving in to his urge to do more than simply watch?

Well…nobody’s perfect.

A Mr & Mr Detective Story – #1

 

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After spending far too long creating stories in her head, Alex finally plucked up the courage to write them down and realized it was quite fun seeing them on the page after all.
Free from aspirations of literary greatness, Alex simply hopes to entertain by spinning a good yarn of love and life, wrapped up with a happy ending. Although, if her characters have to go through Hell to get there, she’s a-okay with that.
With only a dysfunctional taste in music and a one-eyed dog to otherwise fill her days, Alex writes and walks on the South Coast of England—even when her heart and spellcheck are in New York.

www.alexjane.info |  Facebook  |  Facebook Author Page  |

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I’ll be at the ShiMMer Book Signing on July 1st in Birmingham, UK if you’d like to get your paperbacks in person!

Guest Post by Dale Cameron Lowry

A warm welcome to Dale Cameron Lowry

 

 

When the news started coming out of Chechnya about the organized police campaign of torture, imprisonment and murder being conducted against men perceived to be gay, it hit me hard.

Growing up in the Netherlands just a few decades after World War II, I learned to dread authoritarianism and genocide — authoritarianism’s frequent offspring — early on in life. On school and family outings we visited houses with secret rooms where families had provided refuge to Jews as they sought to escape Occupied Europe. Every summer, we would drive through northern Germany to see my cousins, and my mom would announce the sites of former concentration camps we passed along the way.

I felt compelled to do something about the situation in Chechnya — but what? How could I possibly help from the other side of the world?

On April 14, I got an email that mentioned the Russian LGBT Network, the main organization working to help vulnerable Chechens get to safety. Things started to click into place in my head. I figured out how I could help.

I started by setting aside some of the proceeds from my recently released anthology Falling Hard: Stories of Men in Love for the Russian LGBT Network. Then I asked other writers if they could do something similar.

Fantasy author Olivia Helling was one of the first to respond, and she also volunteered to organize a charity auction. Over the next week or so, the idea grew into an effort that now includes more than thirty writers, publishers, and other book people. We call ourselves Readers & Writers for LGBT Chechens and, through royalties, other donations, and an online charity auction to be held May 5–12, we’re helping to make a difference.

 

Authors, publishers, and other book people are:

  • setting aside royalties for the Russian LGBT Network
  • making direct donations to organizations helping vulnerable Chechens
  • contributing signed paperbacks, cover design and editing services, ebook collections, bespoke short stories, characters named after readers, and more to an online auction with proceeds to benefit theRussian LGBT Network, ILGA-Europe and Rainbow Railroad, which are helping LGBT Chechens escape to safety.

I’m also maintaining a newsfeed with updates about the situation in Chechnya and what  charities are doing to help. You can check it out here.

If you’re an author who would like to get involved, please sign up at Authors & Publishers for LGBT Chechens. There, you can also find answers to frequently asked questions about the auction, royalty donations, the charitable organizations that are helping out LGBT Chechens, and more.

If you are a reader who would like to learn more about the situation in Chechnya and how to help — including how to make a direct donation to a designated charity, buy a book from a participating author, or support the auction — please visit Readers & Writers for LGBT Chechens.

 

Dale Cameron Lowry is a romance and speculative fiction writer living in the Upper Midwest with a partner and three cats. Queer Mormons, immigrants and emigrants, people with disabilities, multilingual folks, and others who spend their lives navigating multiple cultures often appear in Dale’s writing.

 

Guest Post ~ A E Ryecart

When professional turns personal, it’s too late to step back. . .

Smart, young and ambitious, the future’s bright for Jake Stafford—except for his addiction to a man he should have turned his back on years before. When he receives news that forces him to re-evaluate his life, Jake has to kick his habit and go cold turkey for good.

When Oliver Lester walks out on his life in New York and returns to London after an absence of more than twenty years, the biggest piece of baggage he brings back is a broken heart. Powerful and sought after, Oliver is a man whose corporate reputation goes before him but as he stares into his future he sees nothing but work-filled days and empty, lonely nights.

Free of long-term relationships which have left them disillusioned and cynical, neither man is looking to risk his heart. But an invitation to dinner leads to more, and Jake and Oliver find themselves swept up in an affair neither is seeking. Crossing the line and breaking all the rules, both men come to learn what it is to feel whole and complete as they begin to fall in love.

But the past has one final trick up its sleeve. An uninvited guest, a violent confrontation and the fear history is repeating itself leaves them reeling.

As the future they promised each other hangs in the balance, Jake and Oliver are faced with a stark question: can they find the strength to destroy the past before the past destroys them?

Corporate Bodies is the third and final book in the Urban Love series, but it can be read as true stand-alone – there is no need to read the books in order.

Word count: 86,500 approx., a full-length novel.

 

Jake turned back to the bookshelf. Oliver licked his paper-dry lips.

“I’ve read this, it’s my all-time favourite. Seriously, I must have read it at least twenty times.”

Oliver smiled, he couldn’t help it, the delight and enthusiasm in Jake’s voice genuine and unrestrained. Oliver moved closer, and stood behind Jake, who pulled the book from the shelf.

“Oh, wow, your copy is even more beaten up than mine.”

Oliver looked down at the book in Jake’s hand. A book he’d had since he was a teenager, read over and over again throughout the years, pages turned so often they had started to fall out only to be stuck back in, the tape that reattached them now brittle and yellow.

Oliver reached for the book, his hand brushing Jake’s, all his awareness and focus on the man standing just inches from him. Every draw of Jake’s breath, every pore of his skin, every strand of auburn hair, the deep, rich colour of chestnuts. And the heat of him, Oliver could feel the heat from Jake’s skin, he swore he could.

Silence wrapped itself around them. Jake turned his head and Oliver stared into grey eyes turned black, the pupils blown so wide they devoured the irises, leaving only the merest hint of colour. Unnoticed, the book slipped from their hands, and fell to the floor. As their lips joined in a long, slow kiss Oliver had no idea who it was who made the first move, only glad that the move had been made.

An eternity passed before Oliver dragged his lips from Jake’s.

“This is—God, I don’t know what this is.” Resting his forehead against Jake’s, Oliver closed his eyes. What was he doing? Ever cautious, ever careful, what he was doing and what he so desperately wanted to do with Jake was as far from cautious and careful as it was possible to get. He was out of his depth, engulfed suddenly in a world where he had no control. It scared him, but by Christ it thrilled him even more.

Oliver’s heart skipped a beat as Jake’s arms coiled around his waist, pulled him in hard to his body and kept him steady. How long had it been since somebody had been his support, taken his weight, the way Jake was doing those things now? Too long, too damn long. The arms that held him tight, and the body that was solid and strong against his own felt so good. Oliver wanted to stay like this forever and just be held, but he couldn’t do that because like this, in Jake’s arms, they were breaking all the rules. Oliver made to pull away, but Jake tightened his hold.

“I kissed you, Oliver. I’ve wanted to kiss you since I saw you across the floor of that restaurant. I wanted to kiss you then and I want to kiss you now.” Jake shifted his head, seeking and finding Oliver’s lips again.

Hunger clawed at Oliver. Hunger for the man who pressed hard against him, Jake’s need and want matching his own. A man who wanted him for him, not an escort with a wide smile and a willing body only because it was a transaction, business, a sale and with about as much heart and soul.

Little strangled moans escaped from Jake when Oliver pushed back against him. He shouldn’t be doing this, he shouldn’t be kissing with a fervour that matched Jake’s, he shouldn’t be crushing his body against Jake’s and feeling every inch of his arousal meet his own. He shouldn’t be doing any of this because the man he wanted so much it burned was Jake. Twenty years younger, a junior colleague, a man whose career he could make or break, to do this was wrong but wrong had never, ever felt so right.

 

 

Amazon US  |  Universal Booklinker link

 

A E Ryecart (or Ali as her readers know her) writes contemporary MM romance and gay fiction laced with angst and high emotion. Her main men are complex, multi-faceted characters facing tough decisions – the problem is, they don’t always make the right choices. So they suffer, big time. After all, it’s a rocky, uphill road to a happy ever after, but the guys get there in the end. So far, Ali’s stories have been set in and around London, the city she was born and raised in, providing a thrilling, metropolitan back-drop to the main action, but she’s hatching plans to travel further afield.

Ali spends a lot of time writing in cafés as she likes to be within reach of a good coffee! The murmur of conversation, the hissing of the espresso machines and the whirl of the milk frother all provide a welcome background hum to the men in her head, who all shout for her attention.

 

Review ~ Imagines (Imago #2)

 

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Imago (Book #1): Amazon US | Amazon UK

Cover: Harper By Design





Imagines is the Latin plural for Imago, and the only thing better than one metamorphosis, is two.

Jack Brighton and Lawson Gale have been together for six months and are very much in love. Lawson’s work ensuring the survival of the Tillman Copper is demanding as ever, and Jack’s work with the regeneration of the bushfire-ravaged national park is just as hectic.

When Jack suggests they take a short trip, Lawson agrees. But then he is offered a two-week research position in tropical Queensland to help determine why the Ulysses butterfly is on the decline. Figuring they could combine work and pleasure, Jack and Lawson go on their first vacation together.

Working alongside renowned professor Piers Bonfils isn’t easy. But personal and professional differences aside, Lawson is offered a more permanent role in Queensland. Torn between his new life in Tasmania with Jack and a dying species of butterfly he feels compelled to save, Lawson has to decide where his fate lies.

But fate changes the rules. On a research expedition into the depths of the rainforest, suddenly it’s not only the butterflies’ existence that hangs in the balance

A butterfly’s life cycle never changes. From larvae to imago, their course is plotted by design. Jack and Lawson need to determine where they stand, if they live through it. Because the only thing more incredible than one imago is two.

 

I enjoyed Imago, but totally loved Imagines. Jack and Lawson are even more adorable in this story. They are several months into their relationship and deeply in love—just perfect for each other. A little bit of angst throws them a challenge. Could they really survive a long distance relationship as Jack claims? Thankfully they don’t get the chance to find out. Jack is there for Lawson when things don’t quite to plan on an expedition. I adored when Jack is beside himself with worry and barely keeping it together. And the ending and epilogue are just delightful. Superb writing and mastery of characters to engender warm and fuzzy emotions in the reader.

Looking forward to reading Red Dirt Heart Imago next. I wondered what the connection was when I read the deleted scene!



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N.R. Walker is an Australian author, who loves her genre of gay romance.

She loves writing and spends far too much time doing it, but wouldnít have it any other way.

She is many things: a mother, a wife, a sister, a writer. She has pretty, pretty boys who live in her head, who don’t let her sleep at night unless she gives them life with words.

She likes it when they do dirty, dirty things, but likes it even more when they fall in love.

She used to think having people in her head talking to her was weird, until one day she happened across other writers who told her it was normal.

She’s been writing ever since.

Where to find N.R. Walker:
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Email:
nrwalker2103@gmail.com

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