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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.

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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

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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

Instagram

 

 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.

Author Links

Blog/Website

Facebook

Twitter

 

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

 

Hosted by Gay Book Promotions

 

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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Add to Goodreads here.

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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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