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Blog Tour – Marked by J. Jay Barrett #KindleUnlimited

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Book Title:  Marked

Author: J. Jay Barrett

Publisher: Self-Published/ VPJ Publishing

Cover Artist:  J. Jay Barrett

Genre/s: LGBT Urban Adventure, Fantasy/Romance

Heat Rating: 3 flames

Length: approx 70 500 words/206 pages

Release Date: February 20, 2018

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Blurb

Never interfere. Those were his orders, and for centuries he stood by them, faithfully serving those that had given him his charge. Until one fateful night, while hunting, the young vampire stumbles upon a handsome, young stranger. Within minutes, Holden finds his peaceful existence thrown into a tailspin. Soon, it’s a race against time to save the human that he just can’t seem to get out of his head.

 

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

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Paperback 

 

Excerpt

Chapter One

When Holden opened his eyes, the only light in the room was the orange glow of the sodium street lamps sifting between the wooden blinds from the grid of city streets, forty-four stories below, and the pale blue light of his alarm clock.  The colors combined to give his stark white walls a purplish tint. The clock read 10:32.

Shit.  He had overslept.

The sun had set hours before, which meant he’d wasted good, prime hunting time.  If he didn’t hurry, all he’d be left with would be drunks, junkies or the homeless.  None of which appealed to him. Most of them would probably taste sour and would offer very little in terms of nutritional value, their blood tainted with so many chemicals.

Before he slid out from beneath his satin sheets, he quickly scanned his local armada of Ismeros for any sign of trouble throughout the city. He had about fifty or so Ismeros of his own posted around Chicago.  Various members of the High Council probably had another sixty or seventy. They lived their normal, day-to-day lives, yet kept a close watch for him during the day while he slept. He offered them protection from the terrors that the world provided, while they provided him with information and food.

Truth be told, had anything serious happened that day, the psychic connection he held with his Ismeros would have woken him from even the deepest sleep.  It was part of a vampire’s long-evolved self-preservation mechanism, an army to protect him while he was most vulnerable, while he slept. While the need for an army of Ismeros had long since faded, the tradition of keeping them had not.  The simple fact that he’d overslept was a sign that all was peaceful in the city. At any rate, it was still something he did every evening when he awoke, just to be sure.

It had been decades since anything tempestuous had happened in his domain.  The last Strigoi to invade Chicago had been John Wayne Gacy. His reign of terror had lasted far too long. It had taken the Council years to catch up with and dispose of the rogue vampire.  They would have caught up with him much sooner had human law enforcement not gotten in their way. The thought of the long-executed Strigoi still made Holden rage inside.

That bastard had killed one of Holden’s favorite Ismeros, Lukas, back in the 1970s.  That boy had fucked like a champ and tasted like heaven, dipped in amazing and served with a side of remarkable.  It still made Holden sad to think about. After all, it was because of Holden that boy had learned to trust vampires, which ultimately lead him to his untimely death.  Holden still felt partially to blame and like a failure for not being able to save him.

“Should I just order takeout? Or should I go pick something up?” Holden said out loud to his empty room as he climbed from the warmth of his bed, scanning a mental list of Ismeros again, this time searching for any willing blood donors, who lived happened to live nearby, that might pique his interest.  It was Monday. Which meant the bars and clubs would be relatively quiet in the area, yet none of his Ismeros were catching his attention.

He always did what he could to avoid the any of the Council’s Ismeros, never fully trusting them. Their loyalty lay with the Council, not with him. So, he always thought of them as spies despite working for the same team.  “I’ll pick something up,” he decided out loud to an empty room.

He moved to the window, pulling up the generic blinds, which released a cloud of dust and looked out the city grid below.  The orange shimmer flooded the room, illuminating his naked body in the window. He really loved this new apartment; it was too bad he wouldn’t be able to stay long.  The Council forced him to move frequently, more so because they thought it was best, not because he wanted to. It was an attempt to not to draw any unwanted attention from a nosey human.  Human neighbors tended to notice when the twenty-something next door always remained a twenty-something.

Holden had learned that lesson quickly in the years following the Great Chicago Fire.  A neighbor had accused him of being a witch, which made for an exciting few weeks. In a stroke of luck, she’d ended up dying of cholera a short while later, and the attention quickly dwindled.

That age had been a bit more superstitious than today’s society, but the Council insisted he not take any chances, so every few years he moved to a different part of the city.  He had found this apartment a few months prior. Its location on a penthouse floor of a high rise on Lake Shore Drive had definite perks. Lincoln Park, the lakefront playground that stretched from downtown to the far north side, was directly across the boulevard-turned-freeway, and it offered plenty of dark areas for hunting, chock full of potential meals.  Joggers, bikers, various riff-raff, late-night walkers… to a Vampire, it was like an international buffet. Each and every one of them ripe for the picking, with the park affording all the necessary discretion to do so. It was quite dark; all the trees muted the copper glow from the city streets on one side and on the other, a hundred mile stretch of the black, open waters of Lake Michigan.  He almost always hunted his breakfast here, granted, it was usually a few hours earlier.

Another option was to try his luck in the local bars and nightclubs that the neighboring Boystown and Wrigleyville had to offer. Being a Monday the only people at the bars and clubs around 4 am, his dinner hour, would be the hardcore drunks.  And that much alcohol neither helped with how they tasted nor with how well they’d perform in the bedroom, both of which were equally important to a vampire. Tonight, he decided, he would exercise his third option, he would find an Ismeros to bring over for dinner, but breakfast he was going to be an excellent old-fashioned hunt.

His naked form crossed the room into the ensuite bathroom, and he turned on the shower.  Steam quickly fogged up the enclosure, which was entirely made out of frameless-glass. He climbed into the black marble interior and let the hot water spray over his skin and muscles washing away any trace of his early morning romp with last night’s dinner.

The hot water soothed as it poured over his body. He massaged both of his shoulders with his hands.  All of his muscles ached and burned. They cried out to be fed, burning for fuel. Every muscle fiber in his body was silently screaming out for food, having long burned off the meal from his tryst the night prior.  Reminding him that it had been almost eighteen hours since he’d eaten. Jacob? Jake? John? Joe? He couldn’t remember. Johann? He had tasted Swedish, or maybe Finnish; it was hard to tell here in the New World. Everyone was a little bit of everything these days.  Whatever he was, it was nothing spectacular, neither in taste nor his ability to perform in the bedroom. The boy had wound up being rather prudish and shy in bed, which was what Holden had expected from a boy who agreed to come home with him less than thirty minutes after they’d met.

Sundays had historically been very easy.  The boys of East Lakeview were always eager for one last weekend rendezvous before they had to go back to the monotony of the workweek.  Most them begging for his phone number before he sent them on their way, always remembering the incredible fuck, never remembering him feeding on them.  He was still happy to oblige. A vampire was always on the lookout for new Ismeros, sex, and food available at his every beck and call, but it was rare that they ever actually called.  Sure, he’d sometimes get a text message, but in truth, the sleek iPhone that he’d bought at the insistence of his live-in Ismeros, Marie, rarely left where it was neatly docked on his desk in the living room.  He had no real use for the thing, anyone he truly cared for, he was directly linked to, with a natural, psychic link. By the time he would see the text message, the boys usually had moved on to the next best thing, and that suited this vampire just fine.

He emerged from the shower, wrapping his toned vampire body in only a plain white towel.  The terrycloth fabric hung low from his waist, showing off his well-defined abdominal muscles and giving off just the slightest hint of well-groomed hair that it hid beneath its rough surface, as he walked into the living room.  Marie was there, folding the solid black, Egyptian cotton sheets from his feeding room. He kept a second room strictly for feeding and fucking, having long ago been taught that you don’t bring your food into the bed that you sleep in. Things, of course, could always end up getting a little bit messy, with the inevitable exchange of body fluids.

“You slept late tonight,” she said, giving him a sharp look of concern, “Are you feeling okay?”

“I wish you’d woken me,’ he smiled.  “But, yeah, I feel fine,” he said with a shrug of confidence. He was a vampire, and vampires never got sick.  “Have you ever known me, or any vampire for that matter, to feel sick? I’m not sure, maybe my dinner date wore me out last night,” He smiled, remembering how attractive the boy had been.  His name had definitely been Johann. “Speaking of, did you see him out?” Holden’s voice had long ago become very Americanized, losing almost all traces of its European roots.

“He left shortly after he awoke this morning,” she said, “looking just as confused as the rest of them.  I’m not sure how you do it…” She chuckled.

“Talent,” he said coyly, a smirk spreading across his porcelain skin. “I learned from the best.”  He, of course, was referring to his Sire, Damek. The elder vampire was nearly a thousand years old and had personally groomed Holden to be in the position that he was, Watcher for the High Council of Vampires.

“I find it hard to believe that you aren’t the best,” she flirted, “I seem to remember you being the best.”  Her New Orleans accent was still discernable after all these years and always served her well in the art of flattery.

They, of course, had a very long history, at least in human terms, dating back to the late 1960s.  He’d found her, homeless on the streets, ravaged by a rogue vampire, who had briefly passed through town. Having run away from an abusive home in Louisiana, she had nowhere to go, so he’d taken her in, raised her first as a foster child, then as a lover, but now she’d out-aged him, and things had come full circle.  She loved him, Holden could tell, but not as a lover as she had in her youth, but more maternally. He felt a pang of remorse deep inside his heart. Holden had stolen her youth, taken her life and any hope she had ever had for a family. Next, he would steal her golden years. He shook his head to clear the thought away.

“I think I’m going to the get dressed and head to the park for some breakfast,” he said. “No strange late-night visitors tonight, I promise.”

“Good, then maybe tomorrow I will be able to sleep in,” she said with a nod and a joking smile, returning to the pile of linens at her feet.  “Take your phone, please.”

He, of course, heard her request, it was the same request she gave him every night but like most things’ humans said to him, he didn’t give it a whole lot of thought.  He dropped his towel into the empty laundry basket next to her feet, turned and his naked form walked back towards his room to get dressed.

About the Author

Jay Barrett lives in Chicago with his husband.  A writer in the evening, he’s a flight attendant by day and an avid runner.  Marked is his first novel.

 

Author Link

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BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE

 

Hosted by Gay Book Promotions

New Release – Summit by Louise Lyons #giveaway

RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title:  Summit

Author: Louise Lyons

Publisher: Louise Lyons

Cover Artist: Jay Aheer, Simply Defined Art

Genre/s:  MM romance, adventure

Length: 62000 words 

Release Date: September 1, 2018

It is a standalone story.

Add on Goodreads

 

Buy Links

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

 

Blurb

When out of condition divorced lorry driver, Ash Tomlinson, makes the spur of the moment decision to climb Kilimanjaro, he doesn’t consider how much it will change his life. There’s the training, the equipment to buy, the fear of altitude sickness, and of failure. And there’s Sean, a man who makes Ash question what he really wants for his future.

Sean Briggs is a school sports teacher and wishful mountain leader, longing for the chance to lead people on mountain hikes, but never having taken the plunge to do the training course. While he thinks about it, he decides to undertake the trip of a lifetime on Kilimanjaro.

The two men meet on a training weekend in Wales, and afterwards Ash goes home and tries to forget about Sean, but finds it impossible.

When the pair strike out for the summit of the highest mountain in Africa, their physical and mental strength is tested, and their growing feelings for each other help them push through the toughest moments of the trek.

 

 

Excerpt

We applied extra sun cream and insect repellent, put on wide-brimmed hats, shouldered our backpacks, and prepared our hiking poles. This was it. The first leg of the very long trek to the top of the mountain. My heart thrummed with excitement and a glance at Sean’s beaming smile and bright eyes told me he felt as I did.

The lead Tanzanian guide set off slowly along a dusty path through the jungle and we followed in single file, with more guides and Phil and Mark mingling with us. Cameras and phones made repeated appearances during the four-hour trek to the camp, as we marvelled at the huge trees, mosses, and plants, and the monkeys and birds high up in the branches over our heads. Phil reminded us several times to drink regularly and I got into the habit of sucking water from the tube connected to the water bladder in my backpack every few minutes.

There were a couple of short breaks along the trail, during which we ate snacks, drank additional water, and peed again and again. Ladies’ and men’s “toilets” were clumps of bushes on opposite sides of the trail, which resulted in much giggling and squealing from the ladies as they came upon unsavoury deposits from the previous trekkers.

The path wound its way upwards, not too steeply, through humid shade provided by the tangle of trees. Their roots burst through the dirt underfoot and we constantly alternated between staring at the ground to avoid tripping and gazing around in wonder at the surroundings. The afternoon raced by and I barely realised three hours had passed, when the trail opened out into a vast clearing.

A cluster of green tents awaited us, with two tall narrow toilet tents off to one side and a large orange mess tent for our meals.

“Your bags will be in your tents waiting for you,” Phil reminded us.

“How do we find which is ours?” Sally asked.

“They’ll have tags on that match the tags we put on our bags last night,” Sean told her. “Ours is twin something.”

“They’re all twin something, except Gerald’s because he’s on his own.” I laughed. “Ours is four.”

“Oh, yeah.” Sean rolled his eyes and went looking for a tent with a plastic tag on it that read “twin four.” A moment later he unzipped the flap of a tent and disappeared inside. I followed, slipping my backpack from my shoulders as I reached it.

Sean sat in the entrance, unlacing his boots. Our two holdalls sat in the middle of the tent and a sleeping mat lay on each side. Sean placed his boots in one corner and shuffled backwards out of the way. “Which side do you want?”

“I don’t mind.” I took his place and removed my boots. Sean moved to the far side of the tent and placed his backpack in the middle between the two holdalls. We took a few minutes to organise things, unpacking our additional sleeping mats to put on top of the thin ones provided, spread sleeping bags on top of them, and found comfortable running shoes to wear for dinner. We changed out of our hiking trousers into warm jogging bottoms and pulled on fleeces over our base layers. Phil had warned that the temperature would plummet as soon as the sun set, and the sun dropped like a stone at exactly twenty past six.

“I knew I’d get you in a tent one day.” Sean grinned.

“Better than Wales. At least it’s dry.”

“For now. We might get rain or snow higher up. And it’ll be freezing.”

I lowered my voice to a whisper. “We can shift these bags over to one side and keep each other warm.”

 

Read an exclusive excerpt here

 

About the Author 

Louise Lyons comes from a family of writers. Her mother has a number of poems published in poetry anthologies, her aunt wrote poems for the church, and her grandmother sparked her inspiration with tales of fantasy.

Louise first ventured into writing short stories at the grand old age of eight, mostly about little girls and ponies. She branched into romance in her teens, and MM romance a few years later, but none of her work saw the light of day until she discovered FanFiction in her late twenties. Posting stories based on some of her favourite movies, provoked a surprisingly positive response from readers. This gave Louise the confidence to submit some of her work to publishers, and made her take her writing “hobby” more seriously.

Louise lives in the UK, about an hour north of London, with a mad dog called Casper, and a collection of tropical fish and tarantulas. She works in the insurance industry by day, and spends every spare minute writing. She loves to run long-distance and some of her best writing inspiration comes to her when her feet are pounding the open road. She often races home afterward, and grabs pen and paper to make notes.

Louise has always been a bit of a tomboy, and one of her other great loves is cars and motorcycles. Her car and bike are her pride and job, and she loves to exhibit the car at shows, and take off for long days out on the bike, with no one for company but herself.

 

 

Social Media Links

Blog/Website

Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

Instagram

 

 

Giveaway 

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win one of 3 ebooks from Louise’s backlist.

Choose from: Conflicted, Beautiful Thunder, Cervena, Regeneration, Finding Beck, Favorite Toy, On The Outside, The Short Stories Collection.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

RELEASE BLITZ SCHEDULE

 

Hosted by Gay Book Promotions

Cover Reveal – Summit by Louise Lyons

COVER REVEAL

Book Title:  Summit

Author: Louise Lyons

Publisher: Louise Lyons

Cover Artist: Jay Aheer, Simply Defined Art

Genre/s:  MM romance, adventure

Length: 62000 words 

Release Date: September 1, 2018

It is a standalone story.

 

Pre-Order Links

Amazon UK
Amazon US
Barnes & Noble
Kobo

 

Blurb

When out of condition divorced lorry driver, Ash Tomlinson, makes the spur of the moment decision to climb Kilimanjaro, he doesn’t consider how much it will change his life. There’s the training, the equipment to buy, the fear of altitude sickness, and of failure. And there’s Sean, a man who makes Ash question what he really wants for his future.

Sean Briggs is a school sports teacher and wishful mountain leader, longing for the chance to lead people on mountain hikes, but never having taken the plunge to do the training course. While he thinks about it, he decides to undertake the trip of a lifetime on Kilimanjaro.

The two men meet on a training weekend in Wales, and afterwards Ash goes home and tries to forget about Sean, but finds it impossible.

When the pair strike out for the summit of the highest mountain in Africa, their physical and mental strength is tested, and their growing feelings for each other help them push through the toughest moments of the trek.

 

Read an exclusive excerpt here

 

About the Author 

Louise Lyons comes from a family of writers. Her mother has a number of poems published in poetry anthologies, her aunt wrote poems for the church, and her grandmother sparked her inspiration with tales of fantasy.

Louise first ventured into writing short stories at the grand old age of eight, mostly about little girls and ponies. She branched into romance in her teens, and MM romance a few years later, but none of her work saw the light of day until she discovered FanFiction in her late twenties. Posting stories based on some of her favourite movies, provoked a surprisingly positive response from readers. This gave Louise the confidence to submit some of her work to publishers, and made her take her writing “hobby” more seriously.

Louise lives in the UK, about an hour north of London, with a mad dog called Casper, and a collection of tropical fish and tarantulas. She works in the insurance industry by day, and spends every spare minute writing. She loves to run long-distance and some of her best writing inspiration comes to her when her feet are pounding the open road. She often races home afterward, and grabs pen and paper to make notes.

Louise has always been a bit of a tomboy, and one of her other great loves is cars and motorcycles. Her car and bike are her pride and job, and she loves to exhibit the car at shows, and take off for long days out on the bike, with no one for company but herself.

 

 

Social Media Links

Blog/Website

Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

Instagram

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