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Trans Deus by Paul Van der Spiegel #giveaway

BOOK BLAST

Book Title: Trans Deus

Author: Paul Van der Spiegel

Publisher: Perceptions Press

Cover Artist: Paul Van der Spiegel

Release Date: August 11, 2020

Genre: LGBTQ – Christian

Tropes: Trans Christ in modern day England 

Themes: Trans Christ persecuted by the religious, the transphobes, the haters; closeted Peter, terrorist Judas, addict Andrew, humanist Thomas.

Heat Rating: 3 flames

Length: 75 000 words/ 249 pages

It is part 1 of 4 Queer Gospels – each one is a different take.

Goodreads

 

Buy Links 

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK

 

Trans Christ born in a modern-day, transphobic England

 

Blurb 

The Word was with God. The Word was God. Nothing was created apart from the Word. The Logos became a trans woman and she dwelt amongst us, full of grace and truth.

Four men have their lives changed forever: Jude, the terrorist sent to kill the transgender Christ; Peter, the repressed gay man grasping after a religion of certainty; Andrew, the slave to his sexual appetites; and Tom, the ardent atheist with crippling financial problems.

From the towns and moors of northern England to the shadow of the cross in the City of London… the light shone in our darkness and the consumer, military technocracy comprehended it not.

 

Excerpt

Tom Bauer scanned the myriad titles in the Selfish Help, Mind n’ Body, Religion, and Pop Psychology subcategories, publications propped and penny-stacked on white MDF shelves.

Pop Psychology? What’s the world coming to? Tom thought. What he wanted was Death Metal Psychology, Hip Hop Head-Help, Roland TB 303 Counselling: anything but fluff and bluff. He started to laugh, at book shops, at life, at himself for being such a useless sack of shit. How have I ended up here? he demanded of existence, desperate for a fix of some arsehole’s fake positivity? 

The woman stood next to him reading the inside cover of The Secret slid it back onto the shelf, then hurried away.

The man who didn’t believe in belief pulled a volume from the packed display and examined the recommended retail selling price printed beneath the barcode—the book was the same price as a leg of lamb, as three large chickens. How the fuck can I justify spending that? he thought.

There was enough money to last another couple of months. His personal account was overdrawn, as was the joint account. There was always the credit card and the emergency second credit card, the one that Kristin didn’t know about. The feeling of being overwhelmed, of drowning, washed over him. Tom was scared: scared that they could lose their house, scared that what had been certain, mundane, predictable was now fuzzy and nebulous.

He picked out a copy of the Selfish Help bestseller I can make you Bulletproof and tried to read the introduction, but the words expanded and went blurry against the paper. Kristin stepping up her working hours to full-time helped, but it wasn’t anywhere near enough to cover the shortfall in his wages: the choice was now which bills had to be paid. 

Tom knew that he was not on his own: across the Public Sector thousands of people were being let go, especially, it seemed, in the north of England. Every suitable vacancy had hundreds, thousands, of applicants. His mind flicked to the visit he had made to the Didsbury Job Centre that morning: there was nothing, not unless he wanted to be an amusement park squirrel on minimum wage. He had asked the stony-faced Employment Agency manager whether a drug habit was a mandatory requirement for the role. 

Some people have no sense of humour, he reminded himself.

Once he had been on an upward trajectory within society. Now, Tom visualised his family falling into the abyss of poverty.

Tom pushed I can make you Bulletproof with its free hypnosis CD back into the shelf. He stared at the rows of crack-lit books, at the dope publications, at the trash written by authors selling glass pipes and rocks to the vulnerable, pushers who peddled badly cut gear to existential junkies. Bluffers and bullshitters, he thought, the lot of you. And yet, I want to buy your product, get high, face the inevitable come down, buy the sequel. The thought compounded his sense of despair. 

That was when Dave Lucas and Bob Nielson from the Salford Health Trust Planning Department strode past the end of the aisle and took their seats in the coffee bar. Tom had forgotten the two spreadsheet goons read manga and graphic novels for free during their lunchbreak. The last thing he needed was Dave—the Lurch lookalike in his X Files T-shirt—and Bob—his skinny anaemic monosyllabic sidekick—asking him how he was. And he certainly didn’t want to hear how things were going back at the office, didn’t want to see that “you-poor-bastard” smile, or, even worse, the sparkle of glee in the eyes of those spared the executioner’s axe. In Tom’s considered viewpoint, anyone who still believed in “love for your neighbour” need only set up a corporate redundancy programme to see the reality of the human: fuck thy neighbour lest thou too get fucked.

Bob Nielson—a sadistic un-helpful prick in Tom’s opinion—was the man widely suspected of being the elusive Phantom Logger, that desperado of the digestive system who delighted in cooking up foot-long turds and depositing them in the men’s third-floor toilets and leaving without flushing. A closed toilet bowl lid was a sure sign that Nessie was back in town. Neilson had been spotted giggling outside Trap One just before one particularly unpleasant discovery. Maybe Bob n’ Dave took it in turns, Tom considered, competing in their own ghastly gastrointestinal game.

How had those two morons survived whilst he’d been cast aside? 

He needed to escape the book shop ASA-fucking-P. Tom knew that if he had to engage in any form of communication with Beavis and Butthead, he was liable to murder one, or both, of them; bash their heads in with a British Bake Off cookery brick. 

Option One was to hide in the stinking toilets for an hour like a junkie. Screw that, Tom decided, which left him with Option Two. 

Option Two was printed on the flyer that he had been given by a smartly-dressed woman outside Boots the Chemist on Market Street, a piece of paper that announced Manchester Cathedral were running a lunchtime programme of speakers with that day’s febrile attempt entitled, “The Myth of Eden—a new approach to Genesis.” Having someone attempt to defend the Great Book of Fairy Tales enraged and fascinated Tom at the same time. 

He decided that facing down a representative of a misogynistic, homophobic, corrupt organisation staffed by paedophile pensioners would take his mind off his financial woes, even if only for a short time. Tom wondered if he could get thrown out of church for heckling. Watch out all you bishops and kings, he thought, the Pale Rider is at your gate

He paid for a copy of The Times at the self-scanning machine, extended it to its full height, hid his head behind the newspaper, and strode through the main door. Once he was on Deansgate, he stuck his tongue out at Dave and Bob through the window. The two men didn’t notice, but an old man drinking a latte from a tall glass stared at him in surprise. 

It took two minutes for Tom to walk to his favourite place in the whole world, the John Rylands library. Tom loved everything about the building—the décor, the stillness and, most of all, the collection of ancient writings, works that covered every aspect of the human experience across three millennia: legal, medical, science, and the history of tribes and lost nations. He could spend his entire life in this one library and still only scratch the surface of the knowledge within. 

Plus, it was free admission.

Through the glass entrance, through the gift shop and café, up the modern staircase, past the Italian tourists, then into the red-stone vaulted cloisters, and up the stone staircase to the third floor where Thomas reverently entered the Reading Room. There, he was greeted by old friends: Luther, Milton, Shakespeare, Goethe, and Calvin, evidently no girls were allowed in Enriqueta Ryland’s library, apart from the lady herself. Tom sat at the mahogany table beneath the statue of Gibbon. Trusting in the presence of this enemy of Faith he read the newspaper, searching all the while for the one-liner that would transform his life.

Tom finished the easy, then started the medium difficulty, Sudoku puzzle. Thirty minutes later, he had ground to a frustrating halt. Checking his watch, he noticed he was late for the Genesis gig at God’s gaff. He had a choice to make—sack off scripture or go and put the righteous in their rightful place. Still holding the newspaper, Tom legged it from the library, dove down Deansgate, veered along Victoria, and arrived, gasping for breath, at the Cathedral doors. 

The presentation in the Saviour Chapel had already begun and all the black metal chairs had been taken. Tom edged right and stood, leaning against the cold stone wall. 

A blonde woman in jeans and a blue t-shirt prowled the front of the chapel. “Clothes are made from the cotton plant,” she said to her audience, “from animal hide, from nylon that is made from oil found under the seabed. Clothes are human constructs of naturally occurring materials. Gravity is a physical law, but our certainty that the universe is a matter machine is a human construct, a metaphor. Even when we are given fact, we fashion it into meaning to wear about our person.” 

“Amen,” a man in front of Tom said.

“For fuck’s sake,” Tom muttered, shaking his head, realisation dawning on him that he had made a dreadful mistake. 

“Our certainties adjust during our lifetime,” the woman said, “new knowledge and different learning become more important, people we love die, friends change, our pets grow old and die, the world around us changes, new roads are built, and our favourite breakfast cereal has a packaging redesign.”

To his left was a disabled man in a wheelchair—twisted limbs, twisted face, thick oversized ears, and jam-jar spectacles. Tom averted his gaze. Poor sod, he thought. It would have been better for him, for his family, for society, if he’d never been born.

“That which is our reality, our certainty, is but a metaphor. It is unreal in the sense that it is a construct of a construct. All our certainties are torn down at our death. We arrive at check-in stark naked and shivering, belonging to no culture and belonging to all. Stripped of all that we have ever wrapped around ourselves, what is left?”

You’re shit-boring, love, Tom thought. Wish I hadn’t come now. Behind the altar, a huge red curtain hung from the roof. Tom was struck by how much the church resembled the 2-3-74 temple in Ultimate Negation 2—the first-person shooter game that had used a digitised version of the building as the backdrop for all-out war between the remnants of humanity and hordes of gun-toting alien invaders. The Church authorities had claimed on the TV news that their Cathedral was a “space for grace,” and the Japanese corporation who had produced the game had violated this sacred principle. Tom had never heard anything so stupid in all his life: most city-centre tourist attractions would give their right arm for that kind of publicity.

 

About the Author 

I am the author of Trans Deus, 7 Minutes, Parably Not, and A Particular Friendship. My stories are about the intersection of faith and sexuality. I am a William Blake obsessive, and I’m working on new books with Blake’s themes – sex and gender, revelation and rebellion – at the heart of the narrative.

Author Links

Blog   |   Twitter

 

Giveaway 

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win

one of two paperback copies of Trans Deus

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Hosted by Gay Book Promotions




You’ll Be Fine by Jen Michalski @MichalskiJen #giveaway

BOOK BLAST

Book Title: You’ll Be Fine

Author: Jen Michalski

Publisher: NineStar Press

Cover Artist: Natasha Snow

Release Date: August 2, 2021

Genres: Contemporary F/F Romance, Family comedy, trans character

Tropes:  Comedy of errors, love triangle

Theme:  Forgiveness

Heat Rating: 2 flames     

Length: 77 900 words/ 343 pages

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

Goodreads

 

Buy Links 

Publisher  |  B&N

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK 

 

Second chances don’t mean repeating the same mistakes

Blurb  

After Alex’s mother passes away, Alex takes leave from her job as a writer for a lifestyle magazine to return home to Maryland and join her brother Owen, a study in failure to launch, in sorting out their mother’s whimsical, often self-destructive, life.

While home, Alex plans to profile Juliette Sprigg, an Eastern Shore restaurant owner and celebrity chef in the making who Alex secretly dated in high school. And when Alex enlists the help of Carolyn, the editor of the local newspaper, in finding a photographer for the article’s photo shoot, Alex struggles with the deepening, tender relationship that blossoms between them as well.

To complicate matters, Alex and Owen’s “Aunt” Johanna, who has transitioned to a woman, offers to come from Seattle to help with arrangements, and all hell breaks loose when she announces she is actually Alex and Owen’s long-estranged father. Can Alex accept her mother and father for who they are, rather than who she hoped they would be? And can Alex apply the same philosophy to herself?

“An enjoyable story about an adult trying to grow up.” – Kirkus Reviews

 

 

Excerpt 

The last time she’d seen Juliette was high school graduation. They hadn’t spoken for weeks, and their last names—Sprigg and Maas—ensured they’d be nowhere near each other in the audience of graduating seniors. Alex had told Owen and her mother to meet her in the parking lot after the ceremony. She had no intention of lingering in the high school gym, drinking fruit punch and eating sheet cake emblazoned with GO SENIORS and CONGRATULATIONS with the other kids who’d treated her like she was some highly contagious lesbian fungus.

She’d gotten through the first row of cars and spotted her mother in the fourth row, near the exit, leaning against their Subaru. Her mother wore Ray Bans and a black fedora, her arms crossed like she was the third Blues Brother or had materialized from some mid-80s new wave music video. As Alex raised her hand to wave to her, she felt another hand on her shoulder.

“Alex.” It was Juliette’s mother, Barbara Sprigg. She wore a floral print dress with a ruffled collar. A small crucifix hugged her thick neck. Her hair was red like Juliette’s but her face ruddier, plastered with freckles. She smiled. “You’re in a hurry! Congratulations!”

“Thanks.” Alex glanced over Mrs. Sprigg’s shoulder, saw Juliette, still in her graduation gown, lagging behind with her father and little sister. “My mom is taking us out to dinner.”

“Oh, I won’t keep you.” Mrs. Sprigg said, clasping Alex’s forearm as she did so. “You haven’t been by the house for a long time—Juliette says you’ve been so busy getting ready for Swarthmore. I’m sure your mother is so proud.”

“Uh huh.” Alex nodded. “I know Juliette is excited to go to Eastern Shore State.”

“Well, she’s⎯” Mrs. Sprigg glanced over her shoulder, “never been much of the academic type. I’m just glad I taught her to bake.”

“It’s a shame they didn’t let you guys supply the cakes.” Juliette’s mother ran a bake shop in town. Even now, she smelled faintly of sugar and frosting.

“Well, they wanted some asinine discount,” Mrs. Sprigg snorted. “Because Juliette is a student. Fine, but a 50% discount?”

“It was very nice to talk to you.” Alex tugged her arm away gently. “But I’ve got to go.”

“Is everything okay at home now, dear?” Mrs. Sprigg looked in the direction of the Subaru.

“Yes, why?” Alex glanced at Juliette again, her dark red hair, the few strands that stuck to her lip gloss. Alex wondered if the lip gloss smelled like mint, or strawberry. She wondered how Juliette’s hair would feel splayed between her fingers at that moment.

“Okay. I’m glad.” Mrs. Sprigg nodded, and Alex wondered what Juliette had told her. There was a lot, she thought, she could tell Mrs. Sprigg about Juliette.

They embraced, a half, light, back-patting hug, their cheeks brushing.

“Stay away from my daughter,” Mrs. Sprigg murmured into Alex’s ear. Then, as if nothing happened, Mrs. Sprigg waved vigorously and went to join the rest of the Spriggs. Stunned, Alex watched them walk toward their Buick. Before they reached it, Juliette turned her head, her mouth parted, her eyes searching Alex’s. Alex wondered, for a moment, if she had been too hasty, too harsh, to Juliette, if there was something salvageable between them.

No, she decided. Her life after high school would be awesome, and she wouldn’t remember Juliette any more than their high school mascot or her mom’s boyfriend Lewis. She held up her hand to Juliette, as if to wave. Instead, she gave her the finger and joined Owen and her mother at the other side of the parking lot.

“Did you just flip someone off?” Her mother lowered her sunglasses. Her hazel eyes bored into Alex with an unwavering intensity of a gamma ray. “At graduation?”

“It was Juliette,” Alex murmured, shaking her head. In her new life, she would be more mature. She felt fears in her eyes. “I shouldn’t have. I just—”

“Are you kidding?” Her mother grabbed Alex by the shoulders and looked up at her. She grinned. Alex noted her mother had borrowed her lipstick. “I’m more proud of that than your stupid diploma.”

Her mother pulled a pack of Benson & Hedges out of her dark cotton blazer with the rolled-up sleeves and tapped out a cigarette.

“Smoke?” She held out the pack to Alex. “You’re almost eighteen.”

Alex shook her head. “I don’t want lung cancer.”

“Your choice.” Her mother shrugged, lighting hers. She took a drag, then exhaled with a flourish. “Welcome to adulthood.”

 

About the Author 

Jen Michalski is the author of three novels, The Summer She Was Under Water, The Tide King (both Black Lawrence Press), and You’ll Be Fine (NineStar Press), a couplet of novellas entitled Could You Be With Her Now (Dzanc Books), and three collections of fiction. Her work has appeared in more than 100 publications, including Poets & Writers, The Washington Post, and the Literary Hub, and she’s been nominated for the Pushcart Prize six times. She lives in Carlsbad, California, with her partner and dog.

Author Links

Blog/Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter

 

Giveaway 

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win

one of five ebooks/paperback copies of You’ll Be Fine

(reader’s choice)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

Hosted by Gay Book Promotions

Book Blast – Earnest Ink by Alex Hall

BOOK BLAST

Book Title: Earnest Ink

Author: Alex Hall

Publisher: Nine Star Press

Published: October 14, 2019

Cover Artist: Natasha Snow

Genre/s: Queer Spec Fic, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Thriller/Suspense

Trope/s: Found family

Themes: Mystery/adventure

Heat Rating:  1 flame

Orientation: Asexual, Pansexual

Identity: Cisgender, Trans

Warning: Depictions of Trauma, Blood, Violence, Murder,

Eating disorders, Body hatred, Transphobia, PTSD, War

Length: 72 100 words/244 pages

It is a standalone book.

Add on Goodreads

 

 

Blurb 

While twenty-year-old FTM Hemingway is making an excellent living as a tattoo artist in a near-future version of Hell’s Kitchen, the rest of the country is splintered and struggling in the wake of a war gone on for too long. Technology has collapsed, borders rise and fall overnight, and magic has awakened without rhyme, reason, or rule, turning average unwitting citizens into wielders of strange and specific strands of magic.

Hemingway’s particular brand of magic has made him a household name. Not only is he a talented artist, but his work comes to life. Literally.

When NYC’s most infamous serial killer—the East River Ripper—abducts Hemingway’s best friend, Grace, he has only days to save her. Hemingway teams up with his stoic cop roommate to hunt for the killer and rescue Grace before she becomes the Ripper’s latest victim. But as the duo chase clues to the serial killer’s identity, Hemingway begins to fear the magic he and the Ripper share might eventually corrupt him too. 

 

Buy Links

NineStar Press  |  Amazon US  |  Amazon UK

Smashwords  |  B&N  | Kobo

 

Excerpt 

Earnest Ink

Alex Hall © 2019

All Rights Reserved

I work without speaking because that’s the way I prefer it. The vibration of my machine, the softer buzz of the fluorescent lights overhead, the tap of my foot on the pedal—it’s the best music in the world.

When I hit a ticklish spot, the girl I’m working on gasps, jolting in my chair.

“Don’t move,” I say. And then, with a salesman’s false cheer: “Almost done!”

The girl is sweating down the crook of her neck. She’s got silver glitter paint on her eyelids and cheeks, a new fashion trend I just can’t quite get behind. Under my lights the mix of perspiration and makeup looks like a blurry constellation.

She wanted a bee inked onto her collarbone, one of those tiny honeybees you find on good tequila bottles. Easily done, and she met the cash requirement. She’s eager, nervous, and breathing in and out in little puffs.

I can’t remember her name, but that’s fine. Customer relations is Eric’s job.

There’s another kid leaning over my glass counter, watching eagerly as I work. “Does it hurt?” he asks. “When the magic happens?”

The bee’s fat yellow thorax wriggles from side to side as it begins to wake, fighting the pressure of my needle, hungry for life.

“It looks like it hurts,” the kid says. I ignore him.

One minute more and—thanks to my peculiar magic—this bee will fly free.

I’m perched on a swivel stool, a wet paper towel in my hand to wipe away ink. It’s too hot in my studio, even with the industrial fans whirling overhead and the door propped wide open. Evening light slants in through the door and the north-facing, floor-to-ceiling window panes that look out onto West Forty-Sixth. It’s muggy, too warm for New York in October, and all of Hell’s Kitchen is wilting, including my client.

“What does it feel like?” the kid demands. He’s leaving greasy fingerprints on the surface of the glass as he strains to get a better look at what I’m doing. I study him out the corner of my eye, wiping sweat off my nose with the back of my wrist before it drips on my customer. He looks like one of the street punks who have taken to running in packs near the cruise terminals, sleeping in old, abandoned cargo containers and panhandling up and down the marina.

He’s skinny and tall, hair dyed an unsettling violet and styled into spikes all over his head. He’s got a silver ring in his septum and more hoops in his ears; his eyelashes are coated with purple mascara to match his hair. Green glitter paint sparkles on his lids. His T-shirt and jeans are torn and dirty, and he’s got a pack of black-market cigarettes rolled into one sleeve against his upper arm.

 

 

 About the Author 

Sarah Remy/Alex Hall is a nonbinary, animal-loving, proud gamer Geek.

Their work can be found in a variety of cool places, including HarperVoyager, EDGE and NineStar Press

 

Author Links

Blog/Website  |  Twitter: @sarahremywrites 

 

 

Hosted by Gay Book Promotions

 

Follow the tour and check out the other blog posts and reviews here

New Release – Penetration Test (The Phisher King Book 3) by Thursday Euclid & Clancy Nacht #KindleUnlimited

BOOK BLAST

Book Title:  Penetration Test: The Phisher King Book 3

Author: Thursday Euclid & Clancy Nacht

Publisher: Eine Kleine Press

Cover Artist: Clancy Nacht

Genre/s: Contemporary M/M Romantic Suspense

Trope/s: Enemies to lovers, workplace, forced intimacy

Themes: Transgender

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 83 000 words/316 pages

Add on Goodreads

 

Blurb

Sequel to Rainbow Award-winning gay romantic thriller The Phisher King and its sequel False Flag.

For years, brainy, charming FBI techie Sam Dupre has helped Hunter Walsh and Cal Riggs solve their cases. He’s also become one of Hunter’s closest friends, someone Hunter counts on when things get tough. 

After the events of False Flag, Riggs is no longer the agency’s golden boy, so when Hunter suspects a gay couple has been murdered in a hate crime in an exclusive gated community in Olympia, he takes the tip to Sam instead. While Riggs and Hunter contend with workplace politics and Riggs’s recovery, Sam Dupre drives the case forward, even securing a partner for his undercover field work: handsome, popular recent transfer Rob Crawford. 

Crawford’s a seasoned field agent who doesn’t bat an eye at posing as a gay married couple, but Sam can’t help feeling like Crawford’s mocking him. They rub each other in all the wrong ways in private even as they pretend to be a doting married couple in front of the neighbors…at least, until they start rubbing each other the right way. 

Sam’s dysphoria-and his HIV status-has held him back, but as he bonds with Crawford, he starts to feel seen for who he truly is. Surrounded by mystery and danger, now is not the time to blur professional lines, but how can Sam help himself?

Featuring: An #ownvoices trans character feeling his oats, a dreamboat foreign terrorism agent trying his hand at a domestic (teehee) case, and a supercute adopted housecat. With a special appearance by Callum Riggs, excessive trolling by Hunter Walsh, and, of course, a happy ending!

 

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK

 

Excerpt 

 Meeting Crawford’s piercing green gaze, Sam steeled himself and said quietly, “We suspect religiously motivated White Nationalists could be involved. Whitewoods Olympia’s mission statement is one big conservative dog whistle for ‘old fashioned family values’ and my insider once toured the area looking for a home only to be given the cold shoulder when introducing a black family member to the mix. You may know Olympia is eighty-plus percent white with a two percent black population. Combined with its status as state capital and a cultural center, it’s an ideal location for racial purists to establish a religious enclave close to the seat of power.”

How Crawford took that news would speak volumes. Often the foreign terrorism agents didn’t take domestic terror as seriously, too wrapped up in their administration-sanctioned Islamophobia to acknowledge the clear and present danger of far-right extremists.

“Sounds like a case for Riggs.” Crawford sat back, brows furrowed again as if assessing the situation. Then he nodded seemingly to himself as if the pieces were coming together. Crawford was sufficiently political to understand why Riggs wouldn’t or couldn’t take the case right now.

“So you think someone in the enclave did away with the Millers? Sounds more like old fashioned neighbor murdering than domestic terror, but we do consult on cases of the murdered or the missing. Could just be some nutjob who somehow thinks queers in the neighborhood could lower property values.”

Sam bristled at Crawford using the word “queers” like it was his word to use. Sure, that was often how Sam described himself, but Crawford was a bro. He had no business using it. He bit back a keep that word out of your mouth and grunted instead, acknowledging the probability.

“Riggs is still recovering from the white nationalist attack from the group Weisse Drache, or I’m sure he’d be all over this. It’s definitely his wheelhouse.” Sam kept his voice as even and authoritative as he could, despite his urge to lash out. It was that self-control that had allowed him to climb so high in the Seattle office. “Even if it’s not White Nationalistic domestic terror—which I’m not theorizing; it’s what my anon suggested—it sounds very much like a hate crime. But…”

Sam trailed off, studying Crawford and doing his best to mask his irritation. Then he asked, “The other disappearances… What’s behind those?”

“Inconclusive.” Crawford stared, almost seeming to challenge Sam. “At least per the local PD. We could go in, see if we can draw some conclusions. If you really think it’s a hate crime, we could go in undercover. Either way, if we infiltrate the community, we can see what’s what.”

“We go in undercover,” Sam echoed, disbelieving. “We ‘infiltrate the community’.” Really, that was Crawford’s go-to?

After a beat, Sam grimaced, letting it all sink in. “That would be one way to access their information infrastructure and surveil the environs. The family is maintaining the house for the missing Millers, and from what I’ve heard they’d cooperate and let us use it as a base of operations for our efforts. You’ve got the green light to pursue this?”

“I was told to check it out, so that’s what I’m doing. Checking it out.” Crawford turned to his computer and put in his password along with the security dongle code. “Doesn’t need to be really deep cover. We could claim to be part of the family, housesitting, but make ourselves really at home. See what we can see.”

“Have you tapped someone to partner with you in the field?” Sam pulled out his phone, ready to plug in their third’s data, and looked up to meet Crawford’s eyes expectantly.

“We,” Crawford gestured between the two of them. “Can check this out. I really just need you there to give the appearance of a gay family. You can come in to work as usual if you need. The rest of my crew’s still in Turkey. It could take weeks to get another agent—if they’d assign another at all right now. By then, I may be off again.”

“You want to pretend we’re a gay couple?” Sam’s voice came out much squeakier than usual, and he cursed internally, hating how pubescent he sounded. “You want to replicate the Millers’ situation and see if there’s a bite?”

Technically Sam could do most of his work remotely, but pretending to adore Crawford was not a viable career choice. What the shit?

Then he thought of Hunter’s worried face, remembered how hollow Riggs seemed at Sunday dinner. They weren’t in any place to investigate this, even if Riggs could get the go-ahead, and the last thing Hunter needed was to be separated from Riggs right now. Or rather, the last thing Hunter needed was to go undercover himself, because he’d done enough of that, and Sam was over it, officially.

“Is that coffee done yet?” It sounded more plaintive than Sam had hoped, like he was in desperate need of caffeination, but he was. God, he really was.

“Sure.” Crawford turned and moved the press closer and pushed the plunger down steadily, big meaty hand on the top. “Listen, as a field agent who often works undercover, it’s not my first gay rodeo. Though, I’ll admit, it’s why I can’t just call just anybody in to help. You know, some people around here…”

Crawford leaned in as if taking Sam into his confidence, also implying that he was a cool kid somehow for not being squeamish about doing his job. “Particularly lately. We can just go in say we’re more or less housesitting until the Millers come back, leave it open ended but make ourselves at home, if you know what I mean. See what the mood is. If it’s nothing, we’ll just leave, no need to make a big deal of it until there’s something actionable.”

He pushed the finished coffee closer. “Sound like a plan?”

 

About the Authors 

Thursday Euclid

Thursday Euclid is a strange and elusive creature dwelling in the Texas Gulf Coast region. Frequently mistaken for Bigfoot, Chupacabra, or the monster of the week, he is, in fact, a 30-something black sheep with a penchant for K-pop, geekery, and hot and sour soup. When he’s not playing Dragon Age or SWTOR, he’s probably watching B-movies or talking to his best friend and frequent collaborator Clancy Nacht. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, or email him at thursdayeuclid at gmail dot com.

Author Links

Blog/Website

Facebook

Twitter

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 Clancy Nacht

 Clancy Nacht is a bisexual genderqueer person who lives in Austin. Clancy has published several bestselling romances. Many of her books have been honored with Rainbow Awards; Le Jazz Hot won for Best Bisexual/Transgender Romance & Erotic Romance. In 2013, Black Gold: Double Black was a runner-up for a Rainbow Award. In 2015, Gemini won an Honorable Mention for Gay Erotic Romance and in 2016, Strange Times won an Honorable Mention for Science Fiction. Wyatt’s Recipes for Wooing Rock Stars was a finalist in the highly competitive William Neale Award for Best Gay Contemporary Romance. The Phisher King won second place in the Rainbow Award for Romantic Suspense, 16th for Gay Book of the Year.

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Review ~ What It Looks Like

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Title: What It Looks Like

Author: Matthew J Metzger

Release Date: August 20 2016

Length: 80,615 words

 

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Eli Bell is the only son of a police chief inspector and a forensic scientist. He’s grown up wonky in a world that only deals with the straight and narrow — and his new boyfriend isn’t helping.

Rob Hawkes is six feet of muscle, tattoos, and arrest warrants. A career criminal and a former guest of Her Majesty’s Prison Service, he’d rather hit Eli’s parents than sit down to dinner with them. One wrong move, and Rob could destroy Eli — and his family — without a second thought.

But this isn’t what it looks like.

Rob’s not in control here — and Eli’s the one to blame.

 

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4.5*

 

The fabulous writing style and the emotionally absorbing story pulled me in right from the start. What it Looks Like is a thought-provoking and informative read that made me consider whether the author had drawn upon personal experience to inspire the characters and their situation. The whole story felt real, with plenty of raw, gritty emotions. We are shown the mind and body of a person transitioning and the difficulties facing them, at home, in the wider world, and in forming a sexual relationship.

I particularly liked how the story begins with an already established relationship and we discover the issues confronting them, both individually and as a couple.

The story could easily have been sub-titled ‘Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover’.  Eli and his family are dealing with his transitioning and Rob being on the scene has made the home situation worse. Eli’s father in particular is prejudiced and stubborn regarding Rob, not necessarily because of the transitioning, but because he can’t see Eli’s boyfriend as anything other than a criminal who is bound to re-offend. He isn’t only thinking of his son’s well-being, but also his professional position in the police force. Plus he is still adjusting to treating Eli as a son rather than a daughter. Eli’s parents might feel they were acting out of love for their child, but they are not responding how Eli wants them to. Rob reacts negatively to this prejudice and non-acceptance of him, which in turn perpetuates the belief that he is a thug.

Through all these arguments and shouting matches we see a person torn between the people he loves, wanting them to accept each other, and to make the situation more harmonious. Yet at the same time, Eli is often angry and stubborn and determined to do things his way. He tends to put Rob first in his life because he’s head over heels in love with him, and that only exasperates the situation.

Rob is loud and angry and yobbish. He comes across as a thug to those who don’t know him well. His tough life has hardened him, yet he is capable of love and affection. He loves Eli for who he is on the inside rather than what he looks like. He  likes the book and is not been put off by the fact that the cover doesn’t quite match what’s inside just yet. Indeed, he loves the whole person and has readily accepted Eli from the start.

This is a complex story with several unexpected twists in the plot and character dynamics. There’s plenty of emotion and anger throughout, which on the whole felt genuine. It’s a realistic and gritty story, where  life is not all chocolates and roses. Nor is it a rose-tinted look at relationships. The story is about working through problems and sorting out how they can be together, even if family members or some members of society object. Rob might be a criminal but he is more than that. Eli might be trans but he is more than that.

I loved that the characters appear real, with plenty of flaws and shortcomings. I particularly liked bad boy Rob and his brother, Danny, and how they accepted and defended each other and Eli. Rob might have been a criminal, but he loved Eli no matter what and was willing to support him. There’s some great banter and humour that goes on between the three of them, which helps to lighten the story.

The hot sexual relationship was a surprising element. These guys are young and kinky and I never quite knew what they were going to try next. There are D/s aspects to some of their scenes, where one of the partner relinquishes control, to the extent that safewords are firmly in place.  We also see Rob and Eli’s softer side when they are not fighting. The cuddling and showing of affection help balance the story and made the love seem real.

There were a couple of things that made me pause when reading. Yes, there are strong emotions and arguments with lots of swearing throughout, but it’s not gratuitous. I felt it was part of their situation and true to the characters. Having said that, I thought one or two of the arguments were rather contrived for a specific purpose, including one that led to a BDSM scene. There’s also a little hypocrisy in Eli’s character. He’s trying to train Rob not to lose his shit and then Eli reacts to a situation just as Rob would have done. Also Eli jumps to a certain conclusion about Rob that leads to a fall out. He’d been trying to show his family that Rob is no longer a criminal, yet at the first hint of real trouble he immediately doubts his lover.

I know the story had to stop somewhere and we’re given a HFN ending in the epilogue with plenty of hints to how things would go. But I really would have liked to see what happened next for Eli and how that affected his relationship with Rob.

Overall, a highly recommended and incredible read with some superb writing. Be prepared for strong emotions and arguments with lots of swearing, plus some D/s sex and control scenes.

 

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  Amazon US | Amazon UK | JMS Books

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Matthew J. Metzger is the front for a British-born author dragged up in the south of England as part of a typical nuclear family with three kids, a mortgage, and no dog because a dog would get hair on the carpet. A brief escape to the north to study focused his writing from daydreaming rambles to his first novel, Our Last Summer. It is unquestionably better than the dissertation he produced at the same time for his university degree, but probably not as inventive as the excuses he provided for missing classes so often.

Matthew has since returned to the London area, and therefore lives mostly on the public transport. He suspects that his next few pieces will probably involve homicidal characters on the London Underground.

For more information, please visit matthewjmetzger.wordpress.com.

 

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