A MelanieM Review: The Devil’s Bedpost: Four of Clubs (Pulp Friction 2015: Altered States) by Parker Williams

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

The Devil's Bedpost coverDetective Ben Nelson’s not happy with the new world order.  He’s stubbornly refusing to believe in the supernatural beings that the world now knows to be real ever since a vampire burst into flames on a city street and a cop sat up in his coffin at his funeral. Now Ben has a chilling new case that frustrating them all and breaking their hearts. It involves seemingly unconnected people—men, women, children—who disappear from their beds and are later found beaten to death. When evidence leads to an offhand comment about voodoo, Ben refuses to admit that there might be something unreal about it all until his boss orders him to visit a seer named A. Middleton or hand the case over to the Odd Squad—the federal bureau charged with investigating supernatural crimes.

Artie Middleton lives alone in a huge house, able only to be physically close with his dog. Why? Because with one touch, Artie Middleton can see, feel, and relive the stories held by objects, and some of those stories are very bad indeed.  The last missing person’s case he assisted on left him bedridden, recovering from the same wounds as the victim. His power is one that few would envy.

When a disbelieving Ben arrives at his door, needing help to find a missing seven-year-old boy, Artie is torn. He fears what might happen if he agrees but knows the fate of the child if he doesn’t. Even more troubling for Artie is the detective’s effect on him. While Artie can’t allow skin-to-skin contact with a person for fear of what he might see, Ben makes him want to break all the rules he has in place to protect his sanity.

When the two begin working together, they find much more than they expected. And if they can’t stop the perpetrators, the body count will increase.

Parker Williams joins the Pulp Friction team this year and The Devil’s Bedpost (Four of Clubs #1),his tale of supernatural beings, love and mystery, folds itself seamlessly into the others, meshing a new world order that recognizes the existence of supernatural beings and their effect upon the city, its politics, and its people.

Just as it would occur in real life, there appears someone who stubbornly refuses to believe in the changes that have so rapidly occurred.  That’s NOPD Det. Ben Nelson.  He’s an overworked hard driving cop, short on sleep, and even shorter on tolerance and belief in magic and those that wield it.  And he’s in the midst of a case that heartbreaking and lacking in clues.  The one lead they available is the last one Ben wants to follow up on because it contains supernatural elements to it.  I absolutely believed in Ben Nelson from his first appearance.  Parker Williams has built so many believable layers to this man that he’ slides easily to mind and into our hearts.   And the case he’s working on tugs at our emotions, especially as it involves children being kidnapped, and tortured before being killed.

To offset the mundane, everyday and oh so human routine of the police force, the author gives us A. Middleton, also known as Artie to his friends.  A potter who turns out museum worthy art pieces, Artie is also a seer specializing in psychometry.  Artie can touch an object and immediately he is flooded with memories and scenes and emotions of those the object belonged to.  At once it becomes clear that such a talent is more curse than gift.  When those memories and events are horrific, involving physical damage that happened to the person the object belongs/belonged to, that same damaged is felt and physically manifests itself on Artie.  Definitely not the sort of thing someone would want to be able to do.  It has caused Artie to retreat from all physical contact with others.  The only touch he can tolerate is that of his dog.  What a lonely existence and yet, Parker Williams has developed Artie to such a realistic degree that Artie has found a way to have others in his life, no matter how restricted it might be.  You will fall deeply in love with Artie just as I did.

The case that ties these two men together is horrific, grounded as it is in the kidnapping of children and a few adults who vanished from their bedrooms without a trace.  The mystery of their disappearance combined with the fact that when their bodies are eventually found, the manner of their deaths add terror to the mixture.  The police work drudgery feels authentic and the suspense and buildup satisfyingly haunting and addictive.  And that ending…..

Yes, it’s a cliffhanger, something I have come to expect from the Pulp Friction serialized stories.  Be prepared to yell “noooooooo” at the end.  I did.  Along with a “argh”, and “hell no, he didn’t end it there”.  A few comments like that may have flown out of my mouth!  But I loved every word of this story even as Parker Williams twisted my heart and stomach into knots during the telling.

But don’t take my word for it.  Run out (or over to your computer or eReader) and get it right now.  You need to be ready for the next installment. I am.  And while you are at it, pick up the other two Round One stories already out.  This is going to be one wild ride, and I can’t wait for more.

Cover art by Laura Harner.  I love these covers, perfect for branding the group of series and introducing the characters.

Sales Links:   All Romance (ARe)       Amazon         Buy It Here

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 73 pages
Published March 13th 2015
ASINB00UP4SBCA
edition languageEnglish

About Pulp Friction 2015
Lee Brazil ~ Havan Fellows ~ Parker Williams ~ Laura Harner

The Pulp Friction 2015 Altered States Collection.
Four authors.
Four Series.
Twenty books.
One supernatural finale.

Spend a year with the creatures that go bump in the night…fighting for their rights to exist and protecting the innocents of The Big Easy. A diverse group of friends trying to find their place in a world they never had to “fit” into before.
Although each series can stand alone, we believe reading the books in the order they are released will increase your enjoyment.
Round One:
Drawing Dead (Jack of Spades: 1) by Lee Brazil
Blind Stud (King of Hearts: 1) by Havan Fellows
The Devil’s Bedpost (Four of Clubs: 1) by Parker Williams
Diamonds and Dust (Ace of Diamonds: 1) by Laura Harner

A Stella Review: Two Howls (ALPHAS #4) by Sean Michael

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Two Howls coverMax is on the run, but is he running from his past, or toward his future? Only Ulf knows…

Werewolf Max knows desiring males is wrong, but he can’t help himself. When his pack nearly kills him in an attempt to cleanse him, Max runs. Jumping on his motorcycle, he heads north.

Ulf has lived on his own in the wilds of Northern Ontario for a long time. When he catches the scent of a stranger in his territory, he’s angry at first, until he realizes that Max is more than just another werewolf. They’re mates.

Ulf must make Max believe that two males can be mates, but just as he’s about to succeed, Max’s past catches up with him. Will the home they’ve been hoping to build together be lost for good?

I’d like to do a little premise. Two Howls by Sean Michael is the second book I read in this new ALPHA series from All Romance eBooks. I read and reviewed Jumping In by Cardeno C too. Sean Michael and Cardeno C are two of my fave authors, but in my opinion in this series something didn’t work it well. As I already said in the previous review, in this case too, Two Howls didn’t do justice to Sean’s works. Of course the choice to publish stories so short didn’t help with the plot but it can’t be used as a excuse. Nevertheless I was left with a lot of blanks to fill.

The little plot we got is really interesting. Max is on the run, he escaped from his homophobic pack that almost killed him, just cause he’s a gay wolf. He finds a lonely little cabin in the woods and decides to stop there to rest for a while. What he doesn’t know is that the cabin isn’t abandoned but it’s where another werewolf lives, not just anyone but his mate.

The rest of the story shows us a lot of sex between Ulf and Max, used as a way to persuade Max that they are truly mates and that he needs to learn to trust Max and his protection. There is some action at the end that definitely improved my enjoyment.

It was an ok-read to me, maybe in some way a typical shifters story, but if you like alpha men, hot shifters and abused characters, you can give a chance to Two Howls.

Cover art by unknown. Nothing great about it but I like it, especially the choice of the colors.

Sales Links:  Available only at All Romance (ARe)   Buy It Here

Book Details:

Published February 4th 2015 by OmniLit / All Romance eBooks, LLC
ebook, 56 pages
ASIN B00U37BOU0
Edition language English
SERIES Alphas #4

 

In the Spotlight: M.A. Church and To Touch The Sky (Leap of Faith #2)

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STRW In The Spotlight Header

To Touch The Sky (Leap of Faith #2) by M.A. Church
Goodreads
Release Date: April 3, 2015

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And now a mini Q and A with M. A. Church…

E-books or Print?

Hmmm, boy that’s a hard one. I like the convenience of E-books. I remember the days of having stacks of paperbacks in my walk-in closet that reached the ceiling, lol. But I have to say that nothing beats holding a book in your hand. *grin* Nothing beats seeing your name on the spine, either!

Do you have a library card and know where it is?

I do, actually! (Ex-teacher, here. Of course I have one, lol.) It’s in my desk. When my kids turned five years old many years ago (no, not saying how many is many, lol), they got one too. Now, if *they* knew where theirs were, I’d be impressed, lol.

If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?

I’d do what I used to do, lol: teach Kindergarten. I loved the little guys. There’s nothing better than seeing the light bulb go off once a child finally ‘gets’ it.

 

STRW Author Bio and Contacts

About M.A. Church

M.A. Church is a true Southern belle who spent many years in the elementary education sector. Now she spends her days lost in fantasy worlds, arguing with hardheaded aliens on far-off planets, herding her numerous shifters, or trying to tempt her country boys away from their fishing poles. It’s a full time job, but hey, someone’s gotta do it!

When not writing, she’s exploring the latest M/M novel to hit the market, watching her beloved Steelers, or sitting glued to HGTV. That’s if she’s not on the back porch tending to the demanding wildlife around the pond in the backyard. The ducks are very outspoken. She’s married to her high school sweetheart, and they have two children.

She was a finalist in the Rainbow awards for 2013.

Where to find the author:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ma.church3
Facebook Author Page
Twitter: https://twitter.com/nomoretears00
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/nomoretears00/
Other: Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B007A8JA4C
Other: Goodreads Author Page

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: L.C. ChaseToTouchTheSky

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press eBook and Paperback

STRW Author BookSynopsis

He can run, but he can’t hide…

Centuries ago, Hawk made a terrible mistake which has haunted him since. Fear of responsibility and feelings of unworthiness leads him to denying the mate Wha-tay showed him in a vision. So now Hawk runs his bar, has casual sex, and never, ever dates men with blond hair and brown eyes. But then Simon walks into his bar, and the future he’s feared is about to end up in a brawl if Hawk doesn’t do something—fast.

Simon Carter has a smart mouth and a bulldog temperament. So when Hawk runs, Simon pursues the sexy man, only to be rejected. Just as Simon decides to give up, someone—or something—visits him to change his mind… and scares him to death. Now Simon is backpedaling, and Hawk is in pursuit.

Desperate to reassure Simon, and keep him safe, Hawk is forced to reveal his secrets before he’s ready. Can Simon learn to accept things aren’t always as they seem? Is the connection between them strong enough to help Hawk overcome centuries of pain? The only way the two men will move beyond Hawk’s past is for both of them to take a leap of faith.

Categories: Fiction, Gay Fiction, Humor, M/M Romance, Paranormal (shifters), Romance

STRW Spotlight Book Excerpt

Two hours later he was back up, pacing the floor, beyond annoyed. Why was he doing this now? He knew who his mate was supposed to be, and he wanted no part of it. He was responsible for himself only, and he liked it that way. Too bad the spirit that shared his body didn’t agree.

Really? What about all those people at the bar who depend on you?

“It’s not the same thing, and you know it.” A quick glance out his bedroom window confirmed dawn was about to break.

Freaking A, arguing with you is like arguing with a signpost. Why don’t you go stretch your wings, old man? We’ll chill on the breeze. Shift and we’ll find a nice juicy pigeon or rabbit for breakfast. That sounds dee-lish.

Hawk rolled his neck. His totem spirit’s mentality was that of a fifteen-year-old hopped up on sugar and running on three hours of sleep. The spirit was very old, but damned if it acted its age.

Whatever, dude. Just do something, will ya?

Pages or Words: 67,000 words

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Contest: Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: E-book copy of Shadows in the Night (#1) and To Touch the Sky (#2). Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Rafflecopeter links and prizes provided by Pride Promotions.

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Tour Dates & Stops:

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20-Mar

Carly’s Book Reviews

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23-Mar

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MM Good Book Reviews

27-Mar

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30-Mar

It’s Raining Men

The Novel Approach

Prism Book Alliance

3-Apr

The Blogger Girls

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6-Apr

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10-Apr

Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews

13-Apr

Love Bytes

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17-Apr

Emotion in Motion

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20-Apr

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24-Apr

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Redz World

 

It’s Here! Becoming His Master by M. Q. Barber (author Interview)!

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Title: Becoming His Master
Series: Neighborly Affection #4
Author: M.Q. Barber
Genre: Adult, M/M Erotica
Release Date: March 17, 2015
Published By: Lyrical Press
From rescue to romance…
Teach a wounded submissive the value of his service. The task ought to be an easy one for an experienced dominant like Henry Webb.
But novice Jay Kress challenges his teacher like no other. Still bearing the bruises of an encounter outside the bounds of safe consensual play, Jay is desperate to submit to the man who saved him—and shamed by his desires.
Henry recognizes the dangers of a relationship built on hero worship. He’ll teach Jay how to stay safe, that’s all. He won’t take advantage of the younger man’s trust. He won’t share his fantasies about his dark-haired, athletic student. He’ll never claim this submissive for his own…

  An Interview with the Author….

M.Q. Barber  answers  Our Questions!

1.  I have seen a marked popularity of a BDSM element in books recently.  Do you feel that the  commercial success of “Fifty Shades of Grey” has anything to do with it?

It’s hard to imagine that the success of “Fifty Shades” didn’t play a role in increasing the mainstream visibility of BDSM-themed literature. With visibility comes interest, from both authors and readers, which is great, but it also creates problems, like an increase in people needing medical treatment for play-related injuries.

2.  Why do you like incorporating BDSM elements into your characters and stories?

I like going where the characters take me. In the Neighborly Affection series, Henry, Jay, and Alice are feeling out each other’s interests and boundaries in a three-sided D/s relationship. It wasn’t so much a choice to incorporate the D/s elements as it was a necessity – something foundational to the characters and their sense of self. The first scene I jotted down for the series planted it firmly in the D/s camp, and everything else grew from that.

I also enjoy following the characters through the psychological and emotional aspects of being in a D/s relationship. I think they’re at least equally important, if not more important than the physical/sexual interactions, because they guide where those interactions go. Trust and communication are crucial, and it’s extremely satisfying to help the characters move toward the sweet spot where they become the role they inhabit in the relationship – and the role shifts to accommodate their individual needs.

3.  What was your inspiration behind Becoming His Master?  For both the characters and plot?

I blame Henry, the dominant in the series. Becoming His Master is the origin story of his relationship with Jay, his long-term submissive. It can be read as a standalone, or either before or after the other books, which are narrated by Alice as she joins their relationship. In Crossing the Lines (Book 2) and Healing the Wounds (Book 3), Alice catches glimpses into how Henry and Jay met from what Jay shares with her. Once I’d written those scenes, Henry insisted on telling the whole story from his perspective.

Henry’s a very proper gentleman, the sort of guy who’s more comfortable in a formal drawing room than at a baseball game. Jay gets under his reserve and affects him emotionally. Their needs and desires are complementary, but the way they met and the unfamiliar depth of the attraction makes Henry reluctant to move too fast. He has a somewhat masochistic streak, and I enjoyed the opportunity to tag along as this dominant man denied himself and fought against what he desired in order to give his submissive what he needed. It’s not easy, especially when the submissive disagrees. Character evolution fascinates me. For all the physical intimacy and steamy exchanges, Becoming His Master is a romantic character study about how two people find what they need in each other.

4.  BDSM encompasses multiple disciplines and (imo) a responsibility to present it in correctly, rules and all.  How do you feel about the various ways BDSM is portrayed in multiple genres today?

I’m dipping into the next question here, but it’s unavoidable – I haven’t read enough BDSM genre fiction to comment intelligently on how it’s portrayed in other books. Aside from making sure that all participants are consenting adults and taking appropriate precautions for safety, there’s no one true way to experience BDSM in real life, so it’s hard to say there’s one true way to write about it, either.

My characters focus on safe play, but that’s a function of the kind of D/s relationship I’m writing about – one in which people who happen to have a desire for D/s are struggling to structure their relationship as opposed to one focused on making BDSM activities seem exotic or exciting just because there’s a flogger in the bedroom. (Not that a flogger isn’t fun – Alice definitely enjoys her suede – but the moment you surrender control can be just as exciting even if the outcome isn’t shocking or painful.)

Your point about multiple disciplines is an important distinction, I think, because I don’t see a lot of classification options for books at retail beyond “BDSM” as a monolithic unit. My characters are engaging primarily in D/s with a bit of B&D and almost no S&M. It’s hard to say whether that distinction is even meaningful to a mainstream audience yet, but maybe eventually it will be.

5.  Do you read what you write?  What’s your favorite genre to read when curled up with a book or Kindle?

I keep adding romances to my to-read list as I come across ones that sound interesting, but I haven’t read many BDSM novels yet. When I have free time to read, my fiction choices are mostly fantasy or light sci-fi and my nonfiction choices are arts, architecture, history, the intersection of science and culture, that sort of thing.

6.  Were you a voracious reader as a child and did you have a favorite story that has stayed with you?

Absolutely. I was the odd kid carrying a book everywhere and reading in class (in fact, I got yelled at on more than one occasion for reading instead of paying attention to teachers). Favorite stories from childhood – the Little House on the Prairie series (as a kid with Minnesota roots who grew up on the prairie, that was a no-brainer), Charlotte’s Web and Where the Red Fern Grows (both of which still make me cry), The Secret Garden (I swear, Dickon was my first book boyfriend), the Trixie Belden and Boxcar Children mysteries (so lively and fun!) and The Velveteen Rabbit (I can’t even). A bunch of others, too, but I could babble on for hours about books I’ve loved, and then you’d all grow bored and wander off.

7.  What or who has had the greatest influence on you as a writer today?

I think it’s an amalgamation of all of the influences together rather than a single individual that has shaped who I am as a writer. But the breakthrough realization for me was that it’s okay to throw out the rules. It’s okay to be a plotter or a pantser or some hybrid they don’t have a name for. Write what you want, write when you want – just be passionate about what you’re writing. When I sit down to write every day, it doesn’t matter which book I was working on the day before or whether the scene I’m writing fits before or after the rest of what’s written so far; the only thing that matters is that I sit and write. I let the ideas and characters decide where my focus goes, and that means I’m always interested in what I’m working on instead of spitting out words to meet a quota or a deadline. I save editing for later drafts. Writing time is for letting the creativity out.

8.  What’s next for M.Q. Barber?

My next book, Her Shirtless Gentleman, releases in August and starts a new series. It’s a Midwestern romance ostensibly without BDSM, although it has some D/s themes if you squint sideways. The characters just don’t talk about them in those terms. After that, I have two more books on deck for 2016, one in the editing phase now and one in the brainstorming phase. And I write a free flash fiction piece every month for my author newsletter (www.mqbarber.com/newsletter) – currently Tuesdays with Jay, a companion series for the Neighborly Affection books with new scenes from Jay’s perspective. It’s a lot of fun to inhabit other characters’ points of view for a while.

Becoming His Master (R) Excerpt © M.Q. Barber 2015
Henry’s watch
showed quarter to eight as he mounted the stairs toting carryout meals for
himself and his submissive. The hour found the second floor a modest hive of
activity as players donned their preferred personas and headed upstairs to the
sandbox. Eventually, he too would join the procession, with Jay in tow. For
now, he turned right and stepped through the wide double doors into the salon.
The area set aside
for himself and young Mr. Kress showed Emma’s unmistakable influence. Tucked
into the farthest corner of the room, a three-panel screen of wood and fabric
created a private dining nook. Best pray the younger man didn’t recognize the
scenes depicted, though the intent shouted for all and sundry to pay heed.
A pair of
yellow-ribboned women cast admiring glances his way. Muting his growl, he
stepped past them with a curt headshake. Won’t
interfere, my ass.
A paean to Greek
mythology and literature graced each panel. Achilles and Patroclus circled each
other with shields and spears, their sandaled feet the only flesh not on view.
Apollo strummed his lyre while a boy—Hyacinth, given the field of flowers—lay at
his feet. Beautiful Ganymede proffered a cup beneath the sheltering wings of
Zeus-as-eagle.
Stalking across
the room, he considered the ready excuses sure to be on Emma’s lips. A shield
to keep the boy from prying eyes, lest his table manners prove less than
impeccable. Hadn’t he himself insisted on protecting Jay from possible
criticism? No, of course the scenes hadn’t been deliberate. Convenience had
dictated the choice. In no way had she meant to imply Jay Kress was his eromenos.
His beloved boy.
His to mentor and protect. His sweet lips to kiss, his beautiful thighs to
fuck.
Cock pressing at
his fly, he swore in silence. Was there no mercy to be found?
He rounded the
screen.
Jay sprang to his
feet.
No. No mercy at
all.
Despite Emma’s
claim, his student wore a suit as well as he wore leather shorts. Temptation
beat at him, an unrelenting pressure, the image of his submissive on his knees
with the same earnest delight on his face.
He forced himself
to turn and deposit the bag on the table. Slow and easy.
“You’ve set a
lovely table.” He told himself navy wasn’t Jay’s color, despite the good sense
he’d shown to pair his suit with a solid white shirt and a pale blue tie with a
diagonal thin-stripe in white. “I trust your wait has been a pleasant one?”
“Yes, Master
Henry.” Jay stood straight and tall, a slender vision of grace. “Mistress Emma
showed me what to do.”
“It’s just Emma,
my boy. No title. She’s a submissive here, as you are.” He unpacked the tote.
Salads first, the light containers atop the others.
“But she’s in
charge of things.” Jay tilted his head. He started to roll his shoulders before
stopping himself.
Warm foil
container deposited on the table, Henry paused in his work to study his
submissive with more care. “Yes, she handles some functions at the club.” The
neat half-Windsor had to be Emma’s doing. “She also submits to her husband.”
Likewise, the white rose boutonniere pinned with Jay’s red ribbon, the symbol
of his ownership. The younger man’s purity and innocence bound under his protection
and control.
Pinned. Of course.
“Tell me, how many
pins did it take until Emma was satisfied with the drape of your jacket?”
“I’m not sure,
Master Henry.” Jay half-smiled, his eyes shining. “She made me stand still for
a long time, though. Do you like it?”
With such an
enticing invitation, he smoothed the fabric from the lapel to the right
shoulder.
Jay caught his
breath and rocked his hips.
“Quite handsome,”
he murmured. Such promising responses his pupil gave, eager physicality
impossible to miss. “But you cannot relax, can you? Afraid you’ll disrupt her
handiwork if you so much as breathe too deeply.”
“I don’t mind,
Master Henry.” If you like it, he
didn’t say, though the worship in his gaze made the words unnecessary.
Humming, he traced
the edge of the lapel downward and unfastened the button holding the jacket
closed. “I mind.” Hanging the jacket on the chair back wouldn’t do any harm.
“Your comfort is my responsibility during our time together.”
He pushed the coat
from the boy’s shoulders. He’d remove his own to ensure his dinner partner felt
no awkwardness.
“No, no, please.”
Jay clutched at the fabric, fighting the motion, his voice rising. “Master
Henry, please.”
What the devil was
he—
“Please don’t take
my ribbon, I’m your good boy, I’m yours—”
Henry kissed him.
He knew the
instant their lips touched he ought not have done it.
Soft and pliant,
the younger man opened his mouth with a throaty little whimper.

 

Irresistible. A
possessive haze descended, snarling heat pushing out from his center. He ground
his cock against his submissive and claimed his mouth.

 

USA Today bestselling author M.Q. Barber likes to get lost in thought. She writes things down so she can find herself again.
Often found staring off into space or frantically scratching words on sticky notes, M.Q. lives with one very tolerant, easily amused husband and one very tolerant, easily amused puppy.
She has a soft spot for romances that explore the inner workings of the heart and mind alongside all that steamy physical exertion. She loves memorable characters, witty banter, and heartfelt emotion in any genre.
The former Midwestern gal is the author of the Neighborly Affection contemporary romance series. Pick a safeword, grab a partner or two, and jump in.
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