A Paul B Review: Not a Line of Bull (A Loving Nip #6) by Charlie Richards

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Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Not A Line of Bull coverCassium Jones is a vampire that has lived nearly 400 years. During his forced seclusion from society, he is tending to a small ranch owned by his coven. One day while he is riding checking the property, he notices that the fence line has been compromised and in need of repair. While repairing the fence, he notices blood around the area. He goes to check his herd of cattle to see if any of them have been hurt. When he reaches the heard, he notices an injured bull laying about the cows. When he checks on the injured bull, he discovers that not only is he a bull shifter but also his beloved.

Garth Omicron has been driven from his shifter herd. Having refused to mate with the mother of his second calf because he doesn’t love her and she is a terrible mother to his two children, Garth is beaten and gored by the inner circle of the herd. He wanders into a field some miles away from his herd territory and finds an Angus cattle farm. When the owner confronts him as to why he is vampire territory, he thinks things have gone from bad to worse. However, contrary to how he had been taught, this vampire seems to want to help him for some unknown reason.

While Cassium suspects that they might be mates, Garth has no concept of the idea. In his herd, people of paired together based on bloodlines to prevent inbreeding among the herd. Outsiders are rarely brought into the group, which for the most part live a self-sufficient life. The only people allowed to have contact with the outside world are the inner circle. When Cassium hears of the treatment of most of the shifters, he promises to help them out, especially Garth and his two children. The big question is whether or not Garth will accept Cassium as his mate despite all that his herd has been taught and accept the proffered help.

This sixth book in the Loving Nip series is another satisfying read in the author’s paranormal universe. Garth is an interesting character as he is a bull shifter but is not one of the dominant shifters in his herd. Having a somewhat submissive bull plays against stereotypes. I was somewhat surprised that the resolution to the herd’s mess occurred mostly off the pages of the book with one major exception. However, the resolution did provide a hint at one of Ms. Richard’s upcoming books in her universe.

The cover art by Carmen Waters shows Cassium as a well-built farmer in an open plaid shirt in front of a valley vista during sunset. It is another well done cover in the series.

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

Book details

Ebook, 89 pages
Edition: English
Published: September 15, 2015 by Extasy Books
ISBN: 978-1-4874-0477-2
Series: A Loving Nip
A Nip of Good Cheer (A Loving Nip #1)
A Rose for Paul’s Protector (A Loving Nip #2)
An Unforgettable Bite (A Loving Nip #3)
More than Patient (A Loving Nip #4)
Sharing a Demon’s Blood (A Loving Nip #5)
Not a Line of Bull (A Loving Nip #6)

A Mika Review: Unbreak Broken (Coming About #3) by J.K. Hogan

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Rating:  4 out of 5 stars

Unbreak Broken coverRory Donovan’s life is a hot mess. His marriage is failing and he’s in intensive psychotherapy, working through the unfortunate side effects of memories from a childhood trauma. The only thing good in his life right now is his job—teaching photography to gifted high school students.

Harbor Patrol officer Bennett Foster is co-parenting his teenage daughter with his high school best friend Jessie. When he meets Addison’s teacher and realizes they’ve met before, he can’t get the sexy stranger out of his head.

Striking up a sexual-tension-filled friendship, together they must help an angsty teenager deal with a dying friend. Bennett must keep his little family from falling apart while Rory struggles to come to terms with his new reality. Somewhere along the way, most unexpectedly…love happens.

 

I really like  J.K. Hogan’s writing. I like the realness to it, I like the difficulties she brings, I like the tragedy surrounding her characters, and I like that someone out there in the world is going through this or went through it. I knew she was working on a book three for the series, but there was next to nothing clue wise on whose book it will me.

Goodness she gave us sweet Rory from book one. You know Rory, the one whose wedding to Maia brought the entire crew together. Yeah him, who introduced Justice & Nic and Rich & Paddy. Straight Rory, well folks he isn’t so straight. He’s definitely on his No labels kick this book. This book was way heavier then the other two. It dealt with some soul-wrenching discussions about some of the characters past. I think Rory’s situation is the first I read about in m/m books, and I loved the way the author went about it. 

I felt like her information on his past was spot on. It was nicely done, as well as the clinical aspect was done well. I loved Rory’s relationship with his therapist. I know each person is different, but I think he was finally able to be himself with the understanding and help from his doctor.

We saw some familiar faces, and I’m really happy Rory was able to have that support he needed. Bennett was great; I liked him as a character. I wish we would have gotten some of his back-story. While his issues weren’t heavily dictated, I felt like he was closed off majority of the story. I don’t know if he wasn’t opening up because of a past relationship or because that’s who he was.



Why not 5 star rating then? Well certain story lines I did not particularly care far. The whole triangle with Rory, Maia and her crazy brother. I did not really find that believable. I mean it could happen, and here is where I’m at. It was a point made in the story about Rory and perceptions. He’s written as this solid big guy 6’3 or 6’4, and he allows someone to get the jump on him. I’m having a hard time believing that he couldn’t take action or stand up for himself. I guess because book 1 Rory was totally different. While he wasn’t a main character his presence was very big. So I’m having a hard time as seeing him as a victim. That’s not the author’s fault, and that’s totally my own issue. 

I can’t wait to see if we get some continuation on the series. So many people have been introduced, and I’d like to see John Michael get his story. Can’t wait for more from this author.

Cover Art by J.K.Hogan, did a great job with the cover. Like the cameras as an added bonus, its something that Rory is very passionate about.

Sales Links:  Wilde City Press |  Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 357 pages
Published September 16th 2015 by Wilde City Press
ISBN139781925313505
edition language English

 

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Fit to be Tied (Marshals #2) by Mary Calmes

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Fit To Be Tied coverAnother amazing installment in the Marshal’s series by Mary Calmes. Miro Jones and Ian Doyle are two sexy, muscular alpha males— Deputy US Marshals who happen to report to Chief Deputy US Marshal Sam Kage of A Matter of Time fame. Miro and Ian first came together in all their rugged masculinity in All Tied Down and this story opens shortly after that one ended.

<spoiler>The men are now living together, and they love each other deeply, so when Miro pops the question, he’s shocked when Ian says no. Ian’s all about independence and his identity as a marshal and as an officer in the Special Forces reserves. He doesn’t want that identity jeopardized, and after all, being married is just about having a piece of paper, isn’t it? And Miro knows he loves him, doesn’t he? </spoiler>

To be honest, I was pretty surprised when this little tiff occurred at the beginning of the story, but I was happy to find out the argument didn’t end there; it became a recurring theme throughout the book, so I don’t feel that I’m throwing out a spoiler by stating that up front, though I did put in the tags. We have love, romance, sex, compatibility issues, and bickering over marriage as ongoing themes throughout the story, with an overlay of excitement, danger, intrigue, and an ongoing battle between Miro and Ian about Miro’s personal safety as he has a tendency to “leap before looking” during fugitive chases. There’s also a healthy dose of stark terror in this story as Miro and Ian not only ward off the usual crazies in their efforts to find and detain fugitives from justice, they also face a monstrous threat from Miro’s past which has far-reaching effects on their future.

As the two men discover, while facing multiple missions and dangers throughout the story, there’s more to trust than lip service, and there’s more to love than saying a simple “I do.”

As I said in my review of All Kinds of Tied Down: if you love M/M romance and you like law enforcement and action adventure mixed in with your visit with sweet and sexy alpha men, this is the book (and series) for you. However, a word of caution on this one: there is graphic violence in this story, so it is not for someone who can’t tolerate explicit details of violence and torture.

I love Mary Calmes’s stories, and this one is no exception. These two characters have moved to the top of my favorite couples list, alongside many of her others like Dreo and Nate, Rand and Stephan, and Jin and Logan, but what I love best about this one is that they are both big, strong, sexy alpha males with soft, gooey centers, and she shares their hopes and fears, both individually and as a couple, thereby endearing them to me further as I now know them intimately. If you are also a fan, by all means join me in hoping for a long and happy future for Miro and Ian. If you haven’t read a book by Mary Calmes before, I won’t ask where you’ve been— I’ll highly recommend this two-book series as a great place to start.

~~~~~

Cover Art by Reese Dante depicts the “tools of the trade” of the Deputy US Marshals: gun, badge, and cuffs on a background of what appears to be a dark gray bulletproof vest. One additional item— a surgeon’s scalpel represents Miro’s nemesis who comes back to terrorize him in this story. Very cleverly done cover.

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

Book Details:

ebook, 228 pages
Expected publication: September 18th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
original title Fit to be Tied
ISBN13 9781634764889
edition language English
series Marshals #2

Love Heats Up with ‘Lost In The Fire’ by Draven St. James (excerpt and giveaway)

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DSJ_lost in the fire

Lost In The Fire by Draven St. James
Release Date: September 22, 2015

Goodreads Link
Publisher: Loose ID
Cover Artist: Dar Albert

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Buy the book: Loose Id

Blurb

Aaron Evans embodies every complication Wren Tucker knows he doesn’t need. The tempting go-go dancer refuses to leave him alone and his attempts to get into Wren’s bunker pants don’t stop at the club, even the walls of the Firehouse aren’t safe. Wren’s control is only so strong, and his desire for Aaron is turning into a clawing need that’s digging through the many reasons keeping Aaron at bay.

Aaron is two cold showers away from hypothermia if the hot fireman of his dreams won’t give in to the lust Aaron sees blazing in Wren’s eyes. The only issue is, Wren is a forever man, and Aaron doesn’t have that in him to give, not with so many secrets locked behind the glitter and gold of his beautiful world.

As Wren begins to cave to Aaron’s delicious demands, he gets a deeper view of the tarnished landscape Aaron exists in. A murky pit of drug addiction that’s slowly dragging Aaron under, and Wren is going to have to fight like hell to save Aaron from it, to even have a chance at a new beginning with the man who has brought him out of the shadows.

Pages or Words: 56,000 words
Categories: Contemporary, Erotica, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance

Excerpt

“One of these days, Wren Tucker…” Aaron turned to his side, pillowing his head with his bent arm. His eyes slid closed, and he murmured, “I’m going to get to you.”

You already do. Wren crouched beside the bed. The first time Wren had seen him, Aaron had been dancing. The light from the club had touched on every toned dip and groove of Aaron’s body as it swiveled on the raised stage, his tight ass shaking with the beat of the music. All of that had been amazing, but it had been Aaron’s face that had captivated him—the free expression, like he was in another world. His full lips mouthing the lyrics, his head thrown back, and the locks of his black hair waving around his flushed face.

In that moment of abandon, Aaron had met Wren’s gaze, a smile tugging at the corner of his sensual mouth. Aaron had continued the dance, but he hadn’t stopped focusing on Wren.

About The Author

Meet Draven St. James:
Draven St. James is a born and raised Oregonian. She has traveled extensively in search of mischief and mayhem to fill her books. Her ventures have been quite successful in inspiring a wealth of stories. Of course at the end of the day, coffee within reach, laptop at the ready is where she finds her peace.

Where to find Draven St. James:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/draven.stjames
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/dravenSJ
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DravenStJames
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/dravenstjames/

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Tour Dates & Stops:
Parker Williams, Havan Fellows, Bike Book Reviews, Full Moon Dreaming, Carly’s Book Reviews. Kimi-Chan, Bayou Book Junkie, Molly Lolly, Vampires, Werewolves, and Fairies, Oh My, Nephylim, Jessie G. Books, Rainbow Gold Reviews, 3 Chicks After Dark, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Happily Ever Chapter, My Fiction Nook, Up All Night, Read All Day, Because Two Men Are Better Than One, Bookaholic Confessions, BFD Book Blog, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, Divine Magazine, Three Books Over The Rainbow, MM Good Book Reviews, Foxylutely Book Reviews, Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents, Dawn’s Reading Nook, Amanda C. Stone, Inked Rainbow Reads, Ogitchida Book Blog, Mikky’s World of Books, Velvet Panic

 

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Giveaway

Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: Book from Draven’s backlist.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Link and prizes provided by the author and Pride Promotions.

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A Special YA Fiction Spotlight: Cheryl Headford’s Hostage (Character(s) Interview, Excerpt and Giveaway)

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Character Interview 

Characters Rowan and Astrin from ‘Hostage’ are here today and agreed to a joint interview.  Greetings, Rowan and Astrin.  Thanks for stopping by.

  • What or who is the greatest love of your life?

A: Rowan, of course. I have to say that, don’t I?

R: *Rowan swats his head affectionately* Please don’t feel constrained by me.

A: *Astrin laughs* Of course it’s you. It’s always been you. We’ve been through a lot, haven’t we? It was a great adventure, but I don’t think I’d have got through it without you.

R: *Rowan melts and hugs Astrin* You can get through anything, with or without me. You’re amazing.

*Astrin ducks his head and blushes*

  • Okay, on to the next question.  What’s your favorite journey?

A: Oh, I don’t know. We’ve had a few. I can tell you which one wasn’t my favorite. Do you remember when we had to ride camels? *Astrin shudders* I don’t ever want to see a camel again, let alone ride it. I wasn’t too fond of the train either, but that was my fault.

As for my favorite…hmm. I think that was the one I took down the aisle of the cathedral. My whole world was waiting for me at the end.

  • What is your most marked characteristic?

A: Oh. I don’t know. What do you think?

R: *Rowan shrugs” You know what I think.

A: *Astrin chuckles and rolls his eyes* Rowan things I’m stubborn. *He gives Rowan a sideways glance* Okay, Maybe I am a little stubborn. Okay, a lot stubborn.

  • What is your greatest fear?

A: That I let down the people I love. I take my roles very seriously. One day, I will be king of House Raphael and when I am I will give myself to my country absolutely. Rowan knows well that my commitment to my people comes first, but I worry that one day my commitment to them will conflict with my commitment to him, and I fear terribly what would happen if it did.

R: *Rowan cuddles him* I know the score. If you weren’t such a good prince and a good person, I wouldn’t love you as much. I know I have to come second to your people, and I’m good with that.

A: Yeah, until the situation arises. So many people have found themselves unable to accept a reality they thought they had peace with.

R: Well, it won’t be me. I promise.

A: *Astrin gazes up at Rowan and gives him a sad smile* I pray you’re right, but I fear you’re wrong. We shall see.

  • What is your greatest regret?

A: I have no regrets. If I had to live my life over there is little I would change. Perhaps I would have accepted my feelings for Rowan a little sooner. Perhaps I would have trusted our families a little more. Perhaps I would have been a lot more careful in the castle of Strebo Michael and not got myself into a situation that could easily have been my last.

  • Which talent would you most like to have?

A: I’m happy with the talents I have. House Raphael has a long association with water and I have strong abilities with healing, manipulating water, and influencing emotions. They’ve always worked well for me. Although. *he glances at Rowan* I would love to have Rowan’s abilities to manipulate stone, so I could make him beautiful things like he makes me.

*Astrin reaches into his pocket and takes out a tiny stone head* Rowan made this the first night we spent together in the South. It was his first try and it doesn’t really look much like me but it’s kind of a memento. I’d love to have been able to make something like that for him.

R: *Rowan shrugs* I have plenty. Besides, without your healing talent I wouldn’t have been there to make the head in the first place. And I wouldn’t have survived the prison.

A: *Astrin shivers* We had an adventure, and looking back, a lot of it was fun, but we need to remember that it was deadly serious and we both almost didn’t come out of it alive.

*Rowan turns solemn and chews on his lip*

  • What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

A: Being completely alone. That’s one of the things that made it so hard for me to cope when I was Rowan’s prisoner. I felt so alone. Usually, I’m never alone. Even if there is no one physically with me, they’re only a thought away. It’s not always a good thing, especially when my mother tries to start a conversation when I’m…er…busy, but I know there’s always someone there. When I was a prisoner I didn’t even have myself.

  • What is the quality you most like in a man?

R: *Astrin glances at Rowan* Impulsiveness, and proclivity for temper tantrums

*Rowan cuffs him lightly and they both grin*

A: No, seriously, I like spontaneity. Many of the men I grew up with hold important positions and have to abide by rigid rules of conduct. Rowan was like a breath of fresh air. He doesn’t care about protocol and tradition. He just does things because they feel right, and he makes sure that sometimes I do things just because they feel right, too.

  • What is the quality you most like in a woman?

A: Knowing when not to drop into someone’s head unannounced. Hear that, Mom? *Astrin grins* No, seriously, I’d say it was having a great sense of humour. Things are getting better but it’s still harder for a woman to get on, especially in House Gabriel. Melissa is doing a great job, as Queen and I know my mother is helping, and being helped, a great deal. Both of them are very level headed and sensible, but they have a wicked sense of humour, and that makes a huge difference, I think.

  • What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

A: I’m weak. I would like to be stronger, like Rowan.

R: *Rowan’s eyes widen* Weak? Are you crazy? You’re the strongest person I know.

A: Yeah right. How many times did I almost die? How many times you have to save me?

R: About the same number of times as you saved me.

A: Yeah, but those were accidents.

R: And you…. *Rowan makes a huge effort and chews his lips* I not ‘going off on one’ as you keep saying. Let’s just say I totally disagree, and move on.

  • What is the trait you most deplore in others?

A: Cruelty. Everyone hurts people sometimes, mostly without intending to. Even when you don’t care it’s not deliberate. But when someone hurts another living being just because they can, because they enjoy it or get some twisted kick out of I just don’t understand that.

*Rowan keeps chewing on his lip, his eyes firmly on the ground. Astrin squeezes his arm* I know you didn’t really mean to be cruel to me. You’re not a cruel person. You were blinded by your anger, and I’ve forgiven you a hundred times.

R: I don’t want your forgiveness. I don’t deserve it.

A: Okay…moving on. This is an argument I can’t win.

  • What do you most value in your friends?

A: Honesty.

  • Which living person do you most admire?

.A: My father. He’s had to fight hard for me, and he’s done it without thought for himself. He is the strongest, wisest and most admirable person I know. He’s a true king.

  • What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

A: I don’t think any virtue can be overrated. I try to be the best person I can be, and I don’t consciously try to be virtuous, but I think that if you constantly strive to be the best version of yourself you can be, you’ll always be virtuous, without being sanctimonious.

*Astrin gives a wicked grin* Although Rowan’s working at loosening my virtue and I have a feeling he might try to steal it.

  • On what occasions do you lie?

A: Never if I can help it. Sometimes I have to give slightly different versions of the truth, but I try very hard to be truthful whenever I can.

  • If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be?

A: Definitely not a camel. Um…something soft and cuddly I think. I like being cuddled.

R: I’m very glad about that, because I like cuddling you.

A: So what would you be?

R: A camel.

A: What? Why? Why would you be a camel?

R: *Rowan whistles and rolls his eyes” I thought I might be able to teach you to ride me properly.

A *Astrin coughs* Moving on.

  • What is your motto?

.A: Never give up.

 

 

Title: Hostage

Author: Cheryl Headford

Publisher: Harmony Ink Press

Cover Artist: Garrett Leigh

 
Length: 328 Pages
Release Date: September 17, 2015
 
Blurb:

Astrin Raphael wakes up in a strange place, frightened and confused. He is told to trust someone who seems to hate him, and he tries—he really tries. However, things change rapidly when he discovers his friend is actually his archenemy, Rowan Gabriel, whose abusive behavior stems from a deeply ingrained, if unwarranted, hatred over something that happened many years before, and simply wasn’t Astrin’s fault.

When Rowan’s uncle and Astrin’s father are kidnapped by Strebo Michael, the two crown princes are catapulted into an adventure that forces them to work together, and along the way their feelings for each other grow. Rowan is quick to let his hate go, but Astrin can’t release his inhibitions. It takes Astrin almost dying from a poisoned dagger before he finally accepts Rowan’s love.

When they return home, their problems continue as their Houses try to negotiate a way for the young men to be together. It soon becomes clear at least one of them will need to relinquish his throne.

 
 

ROWAN WASN’T smiling. He was simmering gently and muttering to himself under his breath. He’d understood and fully appreciated everything his uncle said to him, but it changed nothing. He hated Astrin Raphael, hated him with a vengeance—vengeance for his parents, to be exact. When Astrin’s father had given the order to attack the armored convoy carrying Rowan’s parents back to the capital, he had shattered Rowan’s world. At four years old, the young prince had hardly known his parents, but he could remember the soft touch of his mother’s lips on his hair, the strong arms of his father cradling him and making him feel safer than he ever had since.

That was all gone now, wiped out in one round of intensive fire and a couple of old-fashioned rocket grenades. Gritting his teeth, Rowan pressed his thumb against a panel that checked his DNA. As Crown Prince, there was no security level for which he was not cleared, and almost instantly the panel changed from red to green, letting out a soft hiss as the seal around the door released.

Quite apart from his feelings for Astrin, Rowan hated coming to the infirmary wing. It was thankfully small, as it catered only for those who lived and worked in the Palace Complex. The door opened into a central lobby from which other doors led in three different directions. One led to the administrative center, another to the main body of the hospital, which was more often accessed through the main entrance at the other side of the building, and the third to the private royal apartment. This was used and accessed only by members of the royal family, their personal physicians, and retainers.

As usual a senior administrator sat behind the desk, working before a bank of computers. Because of the unusual circumstances, soldiers stood on either side of the door into the royal suite. They were elite bodyguards, eternally alert and ready to act in a heartbeat should the need arise.

Nodding to the soldiers but ignoring the administrator, Rowan again pressed his thumb against a panel and was admitted to a dimly lit corridor.

At the end of the corridor was an administration chamber similar to the one he’d just left. This was manned predominantly by nurses, as it dealt with only a fraction of the information handled by the mainframe.

Today there were three nurses at the station. One was working hard on a keyboard in front of the monitor screens, apparently updating paperwork.

The other two nurses were lounging. They snapped to attention as Rowan entered. He ignored them.

Crossing the floor, he activated another thumb pad and pushed the door open when it hissed.

His first thoughts when he passed through the door were of utter contempt and disgust. If he hadn’t retained some sense of honor and decency, he would have spat on the sleeping prince. Fortunately, despite his complaints to his uncle, he realized it was necessary to treat the other prince with a degree of respect. It was vital the negotiations with his father were a success. Rowan therefore swallowed his feelings and went to work.

The boy was unconscious and completely helpless. As a Class One Prisoner, it was too dangerous to allow him any kind of freedom, even the freedom of consciousness.

For normal Class One Prisoners the overcrowded prisons had, over the years, developed containment chambers. Here, many men and women could be economically housed in pods, kept in a comatose state for however long their sentence might be, constantly played audio messages designed to precipitate rehabilitation. They were roused from their coma only during the last months of their sentence, when they had regular consultations with clinical therapists who assessed whether their minds had developed sufficient conscience to allow them to be released back into society.

Some prisoners had committed crimes so severe it was unlikely they would ever be roused. Their pods occupied a room all of their own, which was entered only to install a new pod or to remove that of a prisoner who had died.

However, no one was going to put Astrin, Crown Prince of House Raphael and The Western Kingdoms, in a stasis pod. Although he was a prisoner, he was still a member of the royal family of a major ruling House, and therefore deserving of special treatment.

Instead of a pod, he was reclining on a state-of-the-art bed, his head and shoulders propped up on white pillows. Although it was not possible to see from casual examination, his body was suspended from the shoulders down within an electrically generated field. No part of it was touching either the bed or the covering sheets, thereby preventing bed sores. In addition the field provided constant deep stimulation to his muscles, preventing atrophy and circulation issues.

Tubes inserted into the veins in his arms fed him a regular mixture of drugs, which maintained his perpetual coma, and another tube inserted into his stomach through his abdomen was used to feed him daily with a concentrated, thick liquid that contained all the nutrients needed to keep him alive.

It was Rowan’s duty to feed the sleeping prince, then disengage the force field and wash his body, making sure he stayed clean and there was no infection or irritation of the skin. Rowan hated it. He hated Astrin, and touching him repulsed him. Also the mixture of sedative drugs and the soupy liquid diet produced an absolutely foul waste that made him ponder at times whether it was deliberately engineered by his uncle as a rather basic lesson in humility.

It never occurred to Rowan that, if he found the whole thing demeaning and sickening, had Astrin been conscious enough to be aware of what was happening to his body, he would, no doubt, have found it even more so.

 

It never occurred to Rowan that, if he found the whole
thing demeaning and sickening, had Astrin been conscious enough to be aware of
what was happening to his body, he would, no doubt, have found it even more so.

 

 

 

 
Cheryl Headford was born into a poor mining family in the
South Wales Valleys. Until she was sixteen, the toilet was at the bottom of the
garden and the bath hung on the wall. Her refrigerator was a stone slab in the
pantry, and there was a black lead fireplace in the kitchen. They look lovely
in a museum but aren’t so much fun to clean.
 
Cheryl has always been a storyteller. As a child, she’d
make up stories for her nieces, nephews, and cousin, and they’d explore the
imaginary worlds she created, in play.
 
Later in life, Cheryl became the storyteller for a
reenactment group who traveled widely, giving a taste of life in the Iron Age.
As well as having an opportunity to run around hitting people with a sword, she
had an opportunity to tell stories of all kinds, sometimes of her own making,
to all kinds of people. The criticism was sometimes harsh, especially from the
children, but the reward enormous.
 
It was there she began to appreciate the power of stories
and the primal need to hear them. In ancient times, the wandering bard was the
only source of news and the storyteller the heart of the village, keeping the
lore and the magic alive. Although much of the magic has been lost, the stories
still provide a link to the part of us that wants to believe that it’s still
there, somewhere.
 
In present times, Cheryl lives in a terraced house in the
Valleys with her son, dog, hamster, and two cats. Her daughter has deserted her
for the big city, but they’re still close. She’s never been happier since she
was made redundant and is able to devote herself entirely to her twin loves of
writing and art.
 
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Winner’s Prize: Signed Paperback of Hostage.

Runners Up Prize: 2 E-copies of Hostage.

Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.